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Weekly Overview: India Looks to Antibiotic Free Shrimp Production to Improve Exports

Crustaceans Health Biosecurity +6 more

ANALYSIS - The use of antibiotics on some shrimp farms has been identified as one of the main issues holding back India's seafood exports.

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According to Indian newspaper, The Hindu, the country has the potential to exceed Rs.60,000 crore for seafood export turnover by 2020 but it will need to move to antibiotic free shrimp production if it is to achieve this figure.

Farmers therefore need to be educated on good aquaculture practices and shown that the usage of antibiotics in farming does not bring any benefit.

Ramakanth V Akula, CEO of The Waterbase, said: “It is the need of the hour and the collective responsibility of all the stakeholders to ensure that farmed shrimps are produced free of antibiotics. We, at Waterbase are committed to this compliance and would take a lead role in educating our farmers on the food safety requirements by adopting Good Management Practices (GMP).”

“The source and origin of this antibiotic into this food production chain needs to be eliminated to provide antibiotic free shrimps and thus allay the fears of the global consumers.”

In the US, the USDA released a final rule establishing an inspection program for catfish, both domestically-raised and imported, which will become effective in March 2016.

“The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service is committed to a smooth and gradual introduction to the new inspection program, which was mandated by the 2014 Farm Bill,” said Al Almanza, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety.

Commenting on the decision, the US National Fisheries Institute said there is a disappointing irony in the implementation of the program and that while the USDA’s mandate is to regulate and promote American farmers, this announcement puts them in the cross hairs of international trade retaliation.

In a fit of honesty, the USDA even admits in the same evaluation that it doubts USDA’s ability do a better job than the current work being done by FDA, questioning the “actual effectiveness of an FSIS catfish inspection program”, the NFI said.

Also this week, we looked at the work of the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS).

Writing for TheFishSite, Bonnie Waycott, explained that JIRCAS's main work in aquaculture is to develop technologies that produce aquatic products in a more sustainable and equitable way in tropical coastal areas.

Some of the current work includes the development of land-based recirculating systems and improvements in the shrimp sector.

Dr Marcy Wilder, a senior research scientist at JIRCAS, revealed that projects in the area of shrimp farming include the development and transfer of seed production technology, eye structure and function of the giant freshwater prawn (Macrobrachium rosenbergii), light perception capability of the whiteleg shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) and the reproductive mechanisms in Macrobrachium rosenbergii and Penaeus japonicus.