September 9, 2008
The shrimp production target in Satkhira, Bangladesh, for the current fiscal year may be jeopardised due to widespread virus infection in shrimp enclosures.
Local shrimp farmers said shrimp enclosures were affected due to the nurturing of virus-infected fry. Worse, the farmers have expressed a decline of interest in shrimp production as they are facing a huge loss.
District Fisheries Department sources said shrimps were cultivated on about 70,000 hectares of land this year, with a production target of 18,000 tonnes of shrimp valued at BDT 900 crore.
Biswajit Sadhu, a shrimp farmer of Patkelghata area, said the virus infection this year is worse than before, with 85-90 out of 100 fries dying, causing farmers to incur heavy losses.
Shrimp farmers said the sector will be at risk if supplies of virus-free fry could not be ensured.
A PCR machine was installed more than a year ago to detect virus in shrimp fries, but the Fisheries Department had failed to make it operative. Local shrimp farmers said the PCR lab was not made operative due to secret understanding between fisheries officials and hatchery owners. Fisheries official Hasanuzzaman Chowdhury, however, said the lab is not made operative as the government has not yet determined how much fee the farmers would be charged for testing in the lab.