CHENNAI: After a year’s golden run, shrimp industry is going through tough times with the outbreak of Enterocytozoon Hepatopenaei (EHP), a microsporidian parasite that hampers the growth of farmed shrimp. The Coastal Aquaculture Authority (CAA) fears there would be a production loss of 20% this fiscal year ending March 31, 2016. Not just the new disease, the recent unprecedented rain has also taken a heavy toll with several shrimp ponds across Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh recording total damage.
A senior official in CAA told Deccan Chronicle that rough estimates confirm there would be at least a 20 per cent production loss. From 2008-09, there has been a steady increase in shrimp production and exports in India. Last fiscal year, India exported an incredible 3,57,505 tonnes netting Rs 22468.12 crore, thereby emerging as the leading exporter in the world. However, things would drastically change, if proper measures are not initiated to mitigate the disease spread.
Scientists at the Central Institute of Brackish Aquaculture (CIBA), who have analysed various samples from different sources, have already issued advisories to the farmers. The fungus does not appear to be directly fatal, but it does severely slow growth by infecting the hepatopancreas (digestive glands) tubules, limiting the amount of nutrition the infected individual receives from feed. Exactly how the disease spreads is still an area of ongoing research, the experts said and added the disease had also been reported in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam. There is no medication for the disease.
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