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April 15, 2013


United States—Arizona/Missouri

EMS Transmitted by Live and Fresh Shrimp


Steven Hedlund, Communications Manager at the Global Aquaculture Alliance, reports: “Attached is a statement from the Global Aquaculture Alliance clarifying recent claims regarding early mortality syndrome in shrimp.  Specifically, Dr. Donald Lightner clarifies his recommendations at a recent aquaculture meeting in Ecuador that were misinterpreted in subsequent reports.”


“The Global Aquaculture Alliance is committed to science-based responses that guide the aquaculture industry toward a sustainable future.”



GAA Clarifies Recent Statements Regarding EMS


“The outbreak of early mortality syndrome (EMS), also known as acute hepatopancreatic necrosis syndrome (AHPNS), in Asian shrimp has led to questions about whether trade in certain products represents a biosecurity risk to producers in the Western Hemisphere.  While there is an urgent need to prevent EMS from spreading, it would be counterproductive to block trade in items that present low risk.”


“To clarify this issue, the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) turned to Dr. Donald Lightner, a leading shrimp pathologist who led a Responsible Aquaculture Foundation/World Bank mission on EMS to Vietnam last July and whose laboratory in Arizona, USA, recently confirmed that EMS is caused by a pathogen.”


“Lightner clarified that his recommendations at a recent aquaculture meeting in Ecuador were somewhat exaggerated in subsequent reports. According to Lightner, ‘I did recommend that no live [emphasis by Shrimp News] shrimp from Southeast Asian countries be imported for any purpose to any site in Latin America until there is a suitable test (e.g. PCR) to distinguish those that carry EMS from those that do not.  For frozen products, all I can say is that my lab tried unsuccessfully for one year to induce EMS, results that suggest that the agent of EMS does not survive freezing and thawing.  We used live and/or fresh material in Vietnam to successfully transmit the disease [emphasis by Shrimp News].’”


“Regarding feeds, Lightner said, ‘...Artemia, feeds and feed ingredients are at the bottom of the list of risks as these products pose virtually no risk to the importing country.’”


Information: Steven Hedlund, Communications Manager Global Aquaculture Alliance (phone +1 207.517.2191, mobile +1 207.831.0196, Skype: steven.hedlund1, twitter @gaa_aquaculture. email, website


Sources: 1. Email to Shrimp News International from Steven Hedlund.  Subject: GAA Clarifies Statements Regarding EMS.  April 15, 2013.  2. News Release.  Global Aquaculture Alliance.  GAA Clarifies Recent Statements Regarding EMS.  April 15, 2013.


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