PH shrimp trade good, but laggard in Asia

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PH shrimp trade good, but laggard in Asia

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DAGUPAN CITY—The country’s shrimp industry is beginning to bounce back, although it is still way behind leading shrimp producers in Asia, aquaculture experts and scientists here said.

Leobert de la Peña, a crustacean pathologist of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center, said the local shrimp industry’s biggest problem is still the white spot syndrome virus (WSSV), which can wipe out a pond’s shrimp population in seven to 10 days.

De la Peña was here on Sunday to witness the graduation of the first batch of shrimp experts from the Shrimps.Ph, a shrimp farming school at the National Integrated Fisheries Technology Development Center here (NIFTDC).

He said WSSV has been the main problem in shrimp farms since it was detected in 2000. Despite this, the shrimp farming system had coped with the problem, he said.

This was the reason the shrimp production level of 40,000 to 50,000 metric tons in the last four years has been maintained, he said.

But Rodolfo Zamora Jr., chief executive officer of Biosolutions International Corp., manufacturer of aquaculture probiotics (organisms that are believed to improve health) products, said the country’s shrimp production is still below that of Thailand and Vietnam.

He said while WSSV had reduced the shrimp production levels of Thailand and Vietnam by 50 percent in the last three years, these countries still maintained the lead in production volume in the region.

“So there is a need for us to step up our production,” Zamora said.

His company had partnered with the NIFTDC to establish the shrimp school, which, he said, was intended to produce more shrimp farming technology experts in the country.

Westly Rosario, NIFTDC chief, said the first batch of graduates from the shrimp school will join experts in shrimp farming. Gabriel Cardinoza, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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