Shrimp exports to face difficulties Jul-Dec
Ban Mai and Trung Chanh
By Ban Mai and Trung Chanh - The Saigon Times Daily
HCMC/CANTHO – Although Vietnam’s shrimp exports are estimated to exceed US$1.03 billion in the year’s first half, up 1.5% year-on-year, they are forecast to encounter many difficulties in the second half of the year.
According to a report on Vietnam’s seafood production and exports in the year’s first five months which has just been released by the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (Vasep), the major reason for the expected difficulties is the recent preliminary decision of the U.S. Department of Commerce on anti-subsidy tax imposed on Vietnamese frozen shrimp. The tariff will result in U.S. shrimp importers reducing their import volumes.
Meanwhile, Ecuador and Indonesia, Vietnam’s two shrimp exporting competitors, will have a chance to boost exports to the U.S. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s decision, shrimp exporting firms of Ecuador and Indonesia do not receive any subsidies from their governments.
According to Vasep, Vietnam’s shrimp exports to Japan in the first five months rose only 3% year-on-year under the impact of the yen depreciation.
Shrimp exports to the EU, another major market of Vietnam, is also forecast to remain low in the third quarter as the economic situation in Europe has not recovered.
In related news, although some scientists have announced the cause of massive shrimp deaths in the Mekong Delta in recent times, the situation is still complex and thus farmers have decided to sell shrimp early to cut losses.
According to Nguyen Van Tuan, who transports shrimp for farmers in Tra Vinh Province, there have been many farmers in Cau Ngang and Duyen Hai districts harvesting shrimp early, which is still better than seeing them die.
Farmers Nguyen Van Doi in Cau Ngang District also harvested shrimp in his 0.5-hectare pond to avoid losses after detecting scattered shrimp deaths.
Shrimp harvested early cannot be exported due to small size (100-150 shrimps per kilogram) but are consumed domestically with a price of VND60,000-70,000 per kilogram, according to farmers.
Initial statistics of the Sub-department of Fisheries in Tra Vinh Province showed that among a total of 2,000 tons of shrimp material harvested in the first months of the year, there were around 60% of shrimp harvested early in fear of diseases.
A similar situation is reported in Tien Giang Province. Mai Thanh Loc, head of the provincial agricultural and aquatic extension center, said that shrimps farmed in the province also died after 30-40 days.
Early last month, scientists of the University of Arizona announced to identify the cause of early mortality syndrome (EMS), an emerging shrimp disease also known as acute hepatopancreatic necrosis syndrome (AHPNS).
According to a research team led by Professor Donald Lightner at the university, the agent causing AHPNS on shrimp in the Mekong Delta over the past years is Vibrio parahaemolyticus.
The Sub-department of Fisheries in Soc Trang Province is still testing Vibrio parahaemolyticus on shrimp, but there is no effective treatment as yet.
“Although the cause has been identified, no solutions have been worked out,” said Loc.
The Animal Health Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has only asked shrimp farmers to farm shrimp having clear origins and quarantine certificates of veterinary offices. Besides, farmers should ensure a healthy farming environment to increase their resistance, especially shrimp under one month old.