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Farming vannamei species of shrimp

Govt to start pilot project amid falling frozen fish exports

Arafat Ara | December 06, 2018 00:00:00

Amid falling exports of frozen fish, the government has decided to start a pilot project of farming vannamei species of shrimp in the isolated areas in Khulna and Cox's Bazar regions, official sources said.

Under the government supervision, the private entrepreneurs will run the one-year project, according to the decision taken at a recent meeting the Department of Fisheries (DoF) in the city.

Presided over by Golzar Hossain, recently retired director general of the DoF, officials, experts and shrimp exporters were present at the meeting.

Primarily, four to five hatcheries will be permitted to produce Post Larvae (PL) from imported Specific Pathogen Free (SPF) mother of vannamei shrimp or Pre-Post Larvae (PPL).

Subject to positive results, the authorities concerned will permit to more hatcheries to produce SPF PL, according to a document obtained by the FE.

The export earnings from the frozen fish sector declined significantly during the last four to five years mainly due to a setback in shrimp production.

The production of local varieties of shrimp did not increase in the last one decade while the demand for vannamei shrimp is very high in the global market at present. As a result, the local exporters lost competitiveness in the international market, industry insiders have said.

Before piloting the project, a team of experts will visit major vannamei producing countries like India, Thailand and Vietnam to gather experience, and will prepare a report analysing the possibility and future of this variety in Bangladesh, according to the meeting.

The meeting also suggested forming a full protocol regarding quarantine and disease surveillance, bio-security, hatchery management, SPF PL, PPL and brood shrimp (mother shrimp) import, supply and production.

Other suggestions included strengthening the capability of DoF on quarantine and disease surveillance issues. Infrastructure development, skilled manpower, development of fish feed factories and distribution system are also needed for the sector.

Local varieties such as Horina and Chaka Chingri should be promoted along with local black tiger (bagda) shrimp.

A Bangladesh Marine Food Products Promotion and Development Authority should be established to accelerate shrimp farming and development of this sector, participants of the meeting recommended.

Talking to the FE, Kazi Belayet Hossain, senior vice president of Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association (BFFEA), said that they have long been urging the government to allow vannamei farming.

The authorities concerned should permit it as soon as possible to protect the interests of the exporters, he said.

Currently, vannamei is a leading item in the world shrimp market. Because of cheaper price, consumers prefer this item in Europe and USA, the key markets of frozen shrimp. "So it is very difficult to stay in competition without supply of this variety," he added

Shrimp contributes 91 per cent of the country's total frozen fish exports while other varieties 9.0 per cent. The country earned Tk 421 million from the shrimp export in the fiscal year 2017-18. About 3.5 million people are involved in this sector.

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