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Export market regs and increased disease cuts shrimp output

INDIA - Increased regulation and antibiotic residues are being blamed for a fall in productivity in one of India's key shrimp producing regions.

Farmers in Andhra Pradesh harvested about 99,469.60 tonnes of tiger prawn and scampi worth Rs 2,790 crore in 2006-07, down seven per cent on the 1.07 lakh tonnes (Rs 2,500 crore) produced in 2005-06.

A significant number of farmers have left the industry because of increasingly stringent export regulations, antibiotic residue issues and persisting disease in the aquaculture sector.

The annual production for the region included 62,601 tonnes of brackish water shrimp (Rs 1,721.53 crore), 12,812 tonnes of fresh water shrimp (Rs 352.33 crore) and 24,056 tonnes of scampi (Rs 721.68 crore).

Producers managed to export most of the harvest, and received an average price of Rs 270-280 per kg for shrimp and Rs 300 per kg for scampi, although the cost of production escalated to over Rs 220 per kg and has made viability questionable for some farms.

Farmers harvested two crops of shrimp and scampi during the year, netting 42,785 tonnes of brackish water shrimp and 7,686 tonnes of fresh water shrimp (total 50,471 tonnes) in the first crop, followed by 19,816 tonnes of brackish water shrimp and 5,126 tonnes of fresh water shrimp in the second.

Krishna, Nellore and Prakasam districts continue to rank as the top three brackish water shrimp production areas. However, West Godavari, East Godavari and Nellore districts produce the highest number of fresh water shrimp. Nellore continnues to lead the sector for scampi production.