Aquaculture for all

Disease Sets to Hit Shrimp Exports Hard

Crustaceans Health Economics +3 more

THAILAND - The epidemic of early mortality syndrome (EMS) that has hit Asia's booming shrimp industry will cost Thailand an estimated 50 billion baht in reduced exports and opportunity loss this year, says the Thai Shrimp Association (TSA).

The Bangkok Post reports that President Somsak Paneetatyasai on Wednesday (18 December) pegged shrimp exports for 2013 at 200,000 tonnes worth 60-70 billion baht.

For the first 10 months of this year, 175,713 tonnes of shrimp were exported, a sharp drop of 38.4 per cent.

Export value during the period fell by 28.9 per cent to 56.3 billion baht.

The decline was due mainly to a heavy drop in shrimp production, to between 250,000 and 300,000 tonnes this year from 540,000 tonnes last year due to EMS.

Peak production was 640,000 tonnes in 2010.

Last year, Thailand shipped 350,000 tonnes of shrimp worth 110 billion baht.

"Despite the sharp export drop, Thailand remains the world's leading shrimp exporter this year," said Mr Somsak.

"The US market remains our key export market, although we've now lost the No.1 shrimp exporter title in that market to India."

The TSA said the sharp reduction in output has also resulted in a surge in shrimp prices, with local prices having doubled to 270 baht for a size of 70 shrimp per kilogramme.

Mr Somsak said with production estimated to recover to as much as 320,000 tonnes next year, exports are also expected to see an increase of 20 per cent in both volume and value based on an exchange rate of 32 baht to the US dollar.

"We expect improving prospects for exports next year thanks to higher production and rising demand from a global economic recovery," he said.

"More importantly, Thailand will likely have its tax privileges under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) extended for another year."

Shrimp agencies in July submitted a letter to the local EU delegation calling on the grouping to extend its GSP tax privileges too, citing the huge industry losses stemming from EMS.

The agencies were the Thai Marine Shrimp Farmers Association, the Thai Eastern Shrimp Association and shrimp farming clubs in Surat Thani, Chanthaburi, Pattani, Krabi and Trang provinces.

Thai processed shrimp is scheduled to lose its EU GSP privileges on 1 January, which will see the import tariff increase to 12 per cent from 7 per cent.

Further Reading

Find out more information on Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS) by clicking here.

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