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Shrimp farming sector looks for consensus on ways to battle trans-continental disease

FAO reports before Seafood Expo in Hong Kong . Easyfresh will be there !

Governments, scientists and producers have expressed the need for a consensus on ways to fight a deadly disease that continues to seriously threaten the world's shrimp farming sector.

Outbreaks of acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease (AHPND), commonly known as "early mortality syndrome" (EMS), caught the entire shrimp industry, scientists and governments by surprise as early as 2009 and continues to plague the sector.

It is considered to be the most serious non-viral disease of cultured shrimp. A number of Asian and Latin American countries are affected by AHPND and it is strongly suspected that the disease is present, but largely unreported, in other countries in both regions.

Convened by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), participants from 16 member states, along with specialists and producers from the shrimp farming sector, have gathered at a special international seminar in the Thai capital Bangkok to discuss the disease's evolution and consider a way forward in combatting it. 

AHPND is characterized by mass mortality in shrimp farms during the first 35 days of culture where affected shrimp show massive sloughing of hepatopancreatic epithelial cells followed by death. This emerging disease is unlike most other diseases affecting farmed shrimp, and the pathogen can be present both in the cultured shrimp and in the water, sediments and associated organisms of the ponds where the shrimp are farmed.

The current trend for shrimp-related diseases is increasing, with a global spread of serious shrimp pathogens facilitated by the careless and occasionally illegal movement of live shrimp between continents.

"It is essential to maintain a healthy global aquaculture industry. Therefore aquaculture health is a shared responsibility of all of us to achieve that," said Vili A. Fuavao, FAO Deputy Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific, at the beginning of the seminar. 

Fuavao further pointed out that a health threat to any one country can rapidly become a threat to all countries culturing similar aquatic crustaceans, fish or shellfish. 

Aquaculture is critical to meeting nutritional and food security needs

The aquafarming of crustaceans, including various shrimp species, has an important role to play in achieving global food security. Shrimp are an important source of aquatic food protein, and their production and trade are extremely important for developing countries, providing both economic development and empowerment in terms of contribution to GDP, consumption, employment, catch value and exports, particularly for the Asia-Pacific region which produces 90 percent of the world's aquaculture products. 

The world has seen a growing trend in dietary changes, particularly in middle income countries, toward higher protein foods including seafood. It is expected that the demand for shellfish will continue to increase in the years to come.


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