January 30, 2014
For the first time in a decade, the fisheries ministry of Bangladesh plans to allow imports of pathogen-free (SPF) mother shrimps and post-larvae for farming, a move that has drawn mixed reactions from hatchery operators.
Some hatchery owners said there was no need to import mother shrimps as the country has enough local supply, while others said imports would increase production and make the farms disease-free.
The move would boost production of disease-free shrimps and boost exports, according to the officials at the Department of Fisheries (DoF).
On a pilot basis, the department is set to allow one hatchery operator to import mother shrimps of black tiger variety to produce fries. Later, import permission will be given to other hatcheries, DoF Director General Syed Arif Azad said.
But Moshiur Rahman, president of Shrimp Hatchery Owners' Association of Bangladesh, said: "We have had bad experiences in the past. The import of shrimp fries had led to the spread of viruses in local farms, causing losses to many farmers."
He said the government also did not consult the hatchery owners before taking the decision.
On the other hand, Main Uddin Ahmad, a past president of the association, alleged that 80% of the mother shrimps, including the post larvae, collected from the Bay of Bengal are infected with diseases. He added that this is a trial project to introduce the black tiger shrimps in a controlled environment.
Ahmad said 14 hatcheries had earlier issued statements in favour of allowing imports of pathogen-free broods of mother shrimps.