September 20, 2016
Thailand has become the face of the Asian shrimp tragedy caused by diseases. The early mortality syndrome (EMS), which is more appropriately called acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease (AHPND), has taken a toll on Thailand both in terms of reputation and export revenues. From No. 1, Thailand has fallen to just being the world's No. 4 shrimp exporter. Thai shrimp exports are in fact expected to decline in 2016 for the fifth year in a row.
Andy Shinn, Fish Vet Group Asia Ltd. senior scientist based in Thailand, said AHPND and other diseases have cost the Asian shrimp industry at least US$20 billion in losses over the last decade.
Speaking at the recent TARS (The Aquaculture Roundtable Series) 2016 in Phuket, Thailand, Shinn said, "Shrimp disease has resulted in huge national income losses--despite compensatory price rises in response to supply shortage--amounting to billions of dollars annually and at least US$20 billion globally over the last decade".
Shrimp productivity in Thailand dropped from 10.6 tonnes per hectare in 2010 to just 4.13 tonnes/ha in 2013 following the AHPND outbreak. According to a report by the Far Eastern Agriculture, AHPND contributed to a loss of $1.84 million for monodon (giant tiger prawn) and $8.92 million for vannamei (whiteleg shrimp) in the Mekong Delta in 2015, which are roughly shortfalls of $796 and $3,867 per hectare, respectively.
Asian farmed shrimp production last year declined to an estimated 2.2 million tonnes compared with the pre-AHPND production of 3.2 million tonnes in 2011.
White spot syndrome virus is another shrimp affliction that usually results in an 80-100% loss of stock. Infections in 3,907 ha of shrimp ponds in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam last year resulted in losses estimated at $8.02 million, Shinn said at the TARS 2016, which was held on Aug. 17-18.
Shinn also said that the fungal microsporidian enterocytozoon hepatopenaei (EHP) has affected shrimp growth. EHP spores are persistent and can be transmitted between shrimp. Shinn cited a survey of Thai 150 pre-stocked ponds that were found to have prevalence of 49%.
Shinn noted that with the consequential slowed growth and early harvest, production costs are not covered and losses are around $32,000/ha per culture cycle.