Mekong Delta’s shrimp hit by worst disease outbreak ever

The worst outbreak of disease ever reported in the Mekong Delta’s shrimp farms has incurred USD 47.6 million in losses for farmers. Stocks have been decimated by an unidentified liver disease.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development‘s (MARD) Animal Health Department informed that the outbreak has affected more than 53,000 ha of shrimp farms in seven of the Delta’s provinces: Soc Trang, Bac Lieu, Ca Mau, Tien Giang, Ben Tre, Tra Vinh and Kien Giang. The deaths account for 98 per cent of all of Vietnam’s related losses.

MARD cautioned that losses could far exceed what was reported. The shrimp that died were 20-30 days old.

Soc Trang Province has been the most affected: more than 19,000 of 25,000 ha of its shrimp farms were hit by the outbreak. Bac Lieu saw 8,600 ha and Tra Vinh 6,600 ha struck by disease, reports VNS.

MARD’s Cao Duc Phat recently visited the afflicted provinces and met with local authorities to discuss how to alleviate losses.
The outbreak began last July and the source of the disease could be water-borne, said Nguyen Van Hao of MARD.

Cao Duc Phat said the ministry’s Science Department should strengthen its inspections and demanded that provincial governments devise a map marking the areas in need of help, as recent measures taken to lessen the epidemic were insufficient and required deeper coordination.

The government will soon implement plans to help farmers get back to work.

Experts will collaborate with the Pasteur Institute to identify the causes of the outbreak. They said samples will be shipped to Arizona in the US for testing.

Dr Phan Thu Oanh, deputy director of Bac Lieu Province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said funds must be raised to help farmers resume working while scientists find ways to prevent future outbreaks.

Meanwhile, some giant tiger prawn processors have been working at half-capacity due to a shortage of raw crustaceans and resulting high prices.

The dearth of the prawns came following disease outbreaks which killed large portions of the stock in southern provinces, according to Ut Xi Seafood Processing Joint Stock Company general director Nguyen Tuan Anh.

Nguyen Van Kich, general director of Southern Hau Giang Province Cafatex Corporation, said prawn export processors had not faced such a serious lack of raw material in a decade.

The severe lack of raw prawns would continue till August, said Vietnam Association Seafood Exporters and Processors (VASEP) General Secretary Truong Dinh Hoe.

Taken from FIS

Photo © Loni Hensler