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Smart shrimp a bone of contention

INDIA - The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) of India is all set to produce next generation smart shrimps or Specific Pathogen Free (SPF) shrimps in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

"We wanted a highly bio-secure area for our project for which we had requested the Ministry of Commerce and Industries as well as the territory's administration to declare the islands as bio-secure zone," MPEDA chairman G Mohan Kumar told UNI.

Mr Kumar said there has been no significant growth in the production of Tiger shrimp (Peneaus monodon) in the country since past few years, while attributing the reason to White Spot Virus (WSV) disease outbreak in 1995.

MPEDA, in its study, had earlier found that Tiger shrimp in Andaman and Nicobar Islands is 100 per cent WSV disease free. The infection rate in Andhra Pradesh is 91 per cent.

In India quality of brood stock has deteriorated, Mr Mohan said.

The remote archipelago, despite its isolated geographic location, has achieved a unique status in the culture of Pathogen-free wild shrimps.

The MPEDA is demanding total ban in shrimp culture in Andaman and Nicobar Islands as this could infect the wild shrimps of these islands, for farmers may bring infected seeds from mainland.

During his last visits in October 2006, the Union Minister of state for Commerce Jairam Ramesh had directed the Andaman and Nicobar Administration to appoint an expert consultancy firm which would submit a report in three months. The final steps would be taken after that.

MPEDA claims that once the brooders are developed they would then be sold to hatchery owners who will have the assurance that they are getting pathogen free brooders. The hatchery owners in turn could culture it on a large scale and even sell brooder stock to their clients. This would also boost the shrimp export business in India.

"Biosecurity is important for future shrimp industry in India and this project must be supported by the Andaman and Nicobar administration," the MPEDA chairman said.

the Fish Site Editor

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