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February 29, 2016


Antibiotics and Expansion


An ingrained over-dependency on antibiotics has complicated efforts to rehabilitate shrimp farming sites in China.  Many local governments would like to try different species like mollusks or crabs and many would like to try organic production, but they are finding it very challenging to make the transition, said Liu Xin, a former fisheries researcher/teacher at Shanghai Fisheries College, who has become an aquaculture consultant and producer in China and the United States.  Over-use of antibiotics has left China’s water with high bacteria counts that require long remediation periods to correct, said Liu.


A proliferation of low-end and counterfeit antibiotics as well as feedstuff’s has exacerbated the situation in parts of Guangxi Province, one of the fastest-growing producers of shrimp.


There is a possibility that China will use its considerable shrimp farming expertise to increase production in other countries, like Myanmar, or in other regions, like Africa.  China already runs training programs for African fisheries officials through the United Nations and increasingly through its own agencies.


The internationalization of big-scale producers like Baiyang, Guolian and Tongwei (which already operate feed mills in Vietnam) may be one of the ways that China maintains its position in the $3.5 billion global shrimp market; however, its dependence on more than 500,000 metric tons of fishmeal per year from South America may hinder progress in this area.  Efforts to shift to alternatives like soy meal have yielded mixed results for shrimp farmers.  Much depends on the trajectory of soy prices.  Use of processing waste for feed is also on the rise.


Source: Fish Farming International.  China Looks to More Quality-Driven Aquaculture.  Quarter One.  Page 24.  2016.

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