Breakthrough in Fighting EMS Helps Shrimp Production

23 July 2014, at 1:00am

JAPAN - The Japan International Cooperation Agency and the Japan Science and Technology Agency have announced a breakthrough in the fight against Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS), a cause of mass deaths of shrimps afflicting Thailand and the ASEAN region.

On June 25, the two agencies announced they have determined EMS is due to shrimp being infected with a type of Vibrio parahaemolyticus that causes digestive organ disfunction, and they have come up with a diagnostic method that can detect the presence or absence of the bacterium with 100 per cent accuracy.

To fight EMS, which is said to have a mortality rate of 100 per cent, it is necessary to diagnose it early and shut down or disinfect fish ponds. However, because past diagnostic methods yielded positives even in the case of avirulent Vibrio parahaemolyticus, fish ponds were shut down even when the disease had not actually broken out.

The new diagnostic method, however, can distinguish the virulent strain from the avirulent one with 100 per cent accuracy, so it is expected to greatly contribute to efficient quarantining of EMS and improve production.

The breakthrough was part of the project “JST/JICA Project: Development of Aquaculture Technology for Food Security and Food Safety in the Next Generation.”

The project is being carried out by Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences and National Research Institute of Aquaculture in Japan, and in Thailand, the Department of Fisheries, Kasetsart University, Chulalongkorn University and Walailak University.