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November 25 2015


Mexico Helped by El Niño/Belize Recovers from EMS


In Mexico, El Niño is helping Mexican shrimp farmers grow larger shrimp.  According to Scott Horton, a shrimp farming expert in Sinaloa, pond water temperatures in Mexico have been as much as 3 to 4 degrees above normal in 2015 because of El Nino, which has extended the growout season.  Consequently, farmers are producing larger shrimp, up to 32 grams, instead of the normal 28-30 grams for the largest shrimp.  A 32-gram shrimp produces a U-10 or U-12 headless shrimp.


Mexican shrimp farmers will not complete their harvests until the end of November 2015, or even later in some areas.


Mexican shrimp farms have also recovered from EMS, with total production this year likely to grow to about 80 to 85 thousand tons, up from around 70,000 tons last year.  The main reason for the recovery is the use of a disease-resistant broodstock from Primo Broodstock in Texas.  This broodstock was bred for resistance to whitespot, but Mexican farmers found that it also has been highly resistant to EMS.  As a result of this “lucky break”', most farmers are using it, or other resistant strains, along with biosecurity measures.


In Belize, the expectation is that the country’s shrimp growers will recover from EMS, which caused most of them to empty their ponds very early in 2015.  EMS has spread along the Caribbean coast in both Central America and Mexico.


Belize Aquaculture, which has extremely tight biosecurity, has not been affected as much as other farms, with some reports saying that it only lost about 10% of its ponds.


Most other farmers in Belize were wiped out, but they have responded with an aggressive program to change culture methods.  The ponds have now been dry for several months, and the broodstock in the country has been totally replaced.  New disease-resistant broodstock has become available, and farmers have begun restocking, says Horton.


Farmers have also added tilapia to their reservoirs to reduce the bacteria that carry EMS.  Even though shrimp grow more slowly at this time of the year, farmers who have had dry ponds for several months are eager to restock.  The upshot is that there will likely be more shrimp from Belize next year.


Source: (an online, subscription-based, fisheries news service).  Editor and Publisher, John Sackton (phone 1-781-861-1441, email  Mexico Shrimp Farmers Helped by El Nino, Belize Recovering from EMS.  John Sackton.  November 24, 2015.

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