Philippines stops buying live shrimp from Vietnam on disease fears

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Shrimp farmers in Cau Ngang town in the Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh prepare shrimp to sell to export firms

The Philippines has banned the import of live shrimp from Vietnam due to fear of an animal disease, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers.

Truong Dinh Hoe, VASEP chairman, said the decision was made by the country's Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, which feared that Vietnamese shrimp could carry early mortality syndrome (EMS) and infect native shrimp, news website thesaigontimes.vn reported May 4.

But the ban applies only to live shrimp, Hoe said, and Philippine importers are still allowed to buy frozen processed shrimp from Vietnam.

In the first quarter the Philippines was the third largest importer of shrimp from Vietnam among ASEAN member countries, according to VASEP.

Shrimp exports to the Philippines fetched Vietnam nearly US$1.3 million in the period.

In mid-April Mexico decided to stop import of shrimp in any form from Vietnam, also due to fear of EMS, which was first observed in Vietnam in 2010 and has severely hit shrimp farming in the country, especially the Mekong Delta.

But Hoe was not concerned about the ban, saying it is "not something to worry about too much."

Reports from some provinces in the delta show that the area affected by the disease shrank in the first quarter.

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Mexico stops buying shrimp from Vietnam on disease fears
As of mid-April 522 hectares out of 5,175 ha of shrimp farms in Soc Trang Province were affected, or just 38.1 percent of the area affected a year earlier.

Vietnam exported shrimp to 92 countries last year for $2.25 billion, a fall of 6.3 percent from 2011.

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