New Australian inspections threaten Thai shrimp exports

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
7 April 2007, at 1:00am

THAILAND - The National Food Institute of Thailand reported the country would face export losses of Bt2 billion if Australia implemented its stringent import restrictions - the so-called Import Risk Analysis (IRA) - on prawns and prawn products in the near future.

An institute survey showed the measure would affect Thailand's shrimp exports. So far, Thai shrimp exporters have fought against such import restrictions, saying they were drawn up to protect Australian shrimp producers rather than to inspect for contaminants and diseases.

Australia ranks as Thailand's sixth-largest shrimp export market. Last year's volume totalled 17,840 tonnes, accounting for 5.1 per cent of the Kingdom's total shrimp export volume, while value increased 2.6 per cent to Bt2.39 billion.

Thailand's largest export market for shrimp is the US, followed by the EU, Japan, Canada and South Korea.

Yuthasak Supasorn, executive director of the institute, said rising exports of shrimp products had prompted Thai farmers to shift from black-tiger shrimp farming to vannamai shrimp or white shrimp, which give a higher yield. So far, vannamai shrimp accounts for 90 per cent of the country's total shrimp farms.

However, white shrimp has a lower export price than black-tiger shrimp, which will directly affect the country's total export value even though export volume has increased.

The IRA's risk evaluation will focus on considering the disease level that will harm human beings. This data will be used to impose an "Acceptable Level of Protection" (ALOP).

Source: The Nation