Shrimp harvesting. (Photo: MARD/www.agroviet.gov.vn)
Shrimp farms experience myterious mass die-offs
Friday, August 10, 2012, 02:50 (GMT + 9)
Farmers have been seeing mysterious mass mortalities of their white-leg shrimp in 200 ha of shrimp farms in central Phu Yen Province's Tuy An District over the past week. These die-offs have brought local shrimp farmers a financial loss of USD 5.7 million.
Almost all communes in the district have been affected, according to Pham Thi Thuy Le, vice chairwoman of the district People's Committee.
Up to 98 per cent of the total shrimp crops are dead in An Hoa Commune, she said.
When local shrimp farmers saw their crustaceans turn red, start to float and die overnight, they suspected a virus was killing them. They believe the cause might be hepatopancreatic parvovirus (HPV), VNS reports.
The provincial Agriculture and Rural Development Department had already made a recommendation to local shrimp farmers about the virus -- but the local health animal department still lacks a treatment plan for the virus, she said.
The district People's Committee has told relevant and authorised agencies to spray chemicals to control the spread of the virus in the short-term and thereby minimise losses for local farmers.
Meanwhile, brackish shrimp prices in the Mekong Delta have plummeted but allegedly remain too expensive for domestic seafood processors, VietNamNet Bridge reports.
According to the Cultivation Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the southern coastal provinces have continually suffered big losses over brackish shrimp crops. Just last year, provinces in the Mekong Delta reported losses worth VND 5 trillion (USD 237.4 million) in 80,000 ha of shrimp hatchery areas.
Soc Trang had the biggest loss with 26,000 ha of fields worth of shrimp hit by the epidemics.
Nguyen Van Khoi, Deputy Director of the Soc Trang provincial Department for Agriculture and Rural Development, said MARD sent its staff to the site to carry out a survey and in addition leading world experts visited and investigated -- but there has been no specific remedy prescribed for the disease.
“The experts just advised us to keep shrimp in a clean environment,” he said.
Black tiger shrimp and white leg shrimp prices have been falling dramatically: a kg of black tiger shrimp (20 shrimp per kg) is now going for VND 190,000 (USD 9.02), while smaller shrimp (30 or 40 shrimp per kg) are selling at VND 107,000 (USD 5.08)- VND 115,000 (USD 5.46) per kg. This represents a 30 per cent drop from early 2012 and a 40 per cent skid from the peak price level.
In the meantime, input costs, including shrimp feed and chemicals to treat water, have risen by 30 per cent over 2011.
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By Natalia Real