June 11, 2013, 11:57 pm
Shrimp farmers in Southeast Asia gained a new tool for fighting early mortality syndrome (EMS), the disease that has wracked their farms this year, on Tuesday.
New research shows the disease repeatedly manifests in ponds with pH levels of 8.5 to 8.8, reports the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA).
Agrobest Sdn. Bhd made the discovery with assistance from Kinki University and the National Research Institute of Aquaculture in Japan, and researchers are preparing the full results for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
The Global Aquaculture Advocate, GAA’s bimonthly magazine, will also feature the research in its July-August edition.
EMS, more technically known as Acute Hepatopancreatic Necrosis Syndrome (AHPNS), has affected farms throughout Southeast Asia and is widely understood to be the main reason why Thailand’s shrimp production is less than half what it was last year.
“The research results are encouraging because they provide shrimp farmers with a tool to improve management of the disease in ponds,” the GAA said.
The impact of EMS has been dramatic.Thailand is now expected to produce barely more than 200,000 metric tons in finished products this year, said Jim Gulkin, CEO and co-founder of the South East Asian exporter, Siam Canadian.
Gulkin had previously said the industry is expecting Thailand to produce between 350,000-375,000t in finished products, and “possibly below 350,000t”, this year. That compares to 425,000-475,000t in 2012.
However, this has now been revised even further down, to 200,000t “to a max of 300,000t”, Gulkin now told Undercurrent News on June 12. “Most likely 220,00-250,000t,” he said.
The impact of EMS is likely to be felt for a long time, a European-based industry player told Undercurrent on Tuesday.
“Depending on the production models in different countries and areas, the effects will be very, very long lasting,” said this source. “We’re probably going to see lower volumes at best.”