The ASEAN Shrimp Alliance (ASA) is working to set up a regional certification body to oversee the quality and standards of shrimp produced for export in member countries.

The move is expected to help mitigate pressure from importing countries with strict standards on shrimp and other seafood from members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Some importing countries have imposed restrictive standards not only to protect consumers but also for economic purposes, according to Somying Piumsombun, director-general of the Thai Fisheries Department.

However, the Thai official admitted that the establishment of the ASEAN certification body may not happen any time soon. Results from this week’s ASA meeting in Bangkok would provide clearer guidelines for further work.

Formed in 2007, ASA is made up of ASEAN members, especially major shrimp producing and exporting countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. The organisation aims to help improve shrimp farming among member countries and overcome export obstacles.

These countries have played a significant role in Asia and helped transform the region into the world's ‘shrimp basket’, accounting for between 80 and 85 percent of global production. Major markets for ASA shrimp products are the United States, the European Union, and Japan./.