Disease takes a heavy toll on Thai shrimp yields hinh anh 1Illustrative image. (Photo: globalseafood.org)

Bangkok (VNA) – Thai shrimps have been affected by early mortality syndrome (EMS), which has severely dented yields since 2012, leading to dependence on imports, according to Thai Shrimp Association (TSA).

Thailand used to produce more than 630,000 tonnes of shrimp, but now produces only 280,000 tons worth 43 billion baht (about 1.33 billion USD). The output was not enough to meet the needs of factories so shrimp has to be imported before it is processed for export, Ekapoj Yodpinit, TSA’s president, was quoted by local media as saying.

The reduction of output has led to a loss of exports, worth more than 500 billion baht, or an average loss of 100 billion baht per year for the past decade, he said.

Thailand was the No. 1 shrimp exporter but has now slid to sixth place. Ecuador, India and Vietnam have become major exporters. However, Ekapot said the global shrimp market still acknowledges and has faith in the quality of Thai shrimp.

The TSA and partners in the shrimp industry have proposed to the country’s Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives to formulate guidelines for the development of the aquaculture industry to ensure sustainability for the country.

The association wants the Department of Fisheries (DoF) to urgently research and find cures for three major diseases – EMS, white faeces, and red and white spots – which are destroying shrimp farms. It is necessary for the DoF to research to produce disease-resistant young shrimp, an effective diet, and organise an appropriate raising system.

The association expects a suitable output of 400,000 tons per year, Ekapoj said.

If the plans succeed, the shrimp output will be sufficient to meet the demands of Thai processing plants within two years, thereby, freeing the country from the need to import shrimp and farmers would be able to sell at a satisfactory price, he said./.