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March 16, 2014


EMS Test Kits, Production Statistics and Processors


In an effort to reduce the impact of early mortality syndrome (EMS), Thai shrimp farmers are proceeding with caution this year.  In Surat Thani Province, in southern Thailand, however, farmers are stocking heavily and starting the year in “high gear”.


One Thai executive said the new polymerase chain reaction (PCR) kits are being widely used in Thailand.  Farmers can run PCR tests on postlarvae, sediments, sludge and feed.  If postlarvae arrive from the hatchery with EMS, farmers can reject them if the PCR test is positive for EMS.  If they find a positive reading on sediment or sludge in their ponds, they can clean up the ponds before they stock.


Thailand expects to produce 350,000 metric tons of farmed shrimp in 2014, after producing only 200,000–240,000 tons in 2013.


Thai Union, one of the country’s largest processors, is ramping up imports of raw material to keep its shrimp processing plants working, citing India as its primary supplier.  As a result, its shrimp division returned to profitability in the fourth quarter of 2014.  Charoen Pokphand Foods is still struggling with its shrimp business and is also importing from other countries.  Kingfisher Holdings, the canned tuna and shrimp processor owned by Japanese seafood giant Maruha Nichiro, is trying a different method to deal with the situation, switching to processing more salmon and whitefish.


Other processors that are not as diversified as CP Foods, Thai Union and Kingfisher have been hit hard by the EMS shortage.  Seafresh, which produces around 20,000 metric tons of shrimp at its plant in Chumphon, ended 2013 with a loss of $10.2 million, compared to a profit of $15.6 million in 2013.  It attributed the loss to the spread of EMS and had to purchase shrimp at very high prices to fill existing orders.


Given the low production at this time of year, a number of shrimp processors are either temporarily closed or working on reduced schedules.


Source: (an online, subscription-based, fisheries news service).  Editor and Publisher, John Sackton (phone 1-781-861-1441, email  Thai Shrimp Farmers Proceeding with Caution, but Production of 350,000 Tons Expected This Year.  March 14, 2014.

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