Coronavirus : TSV in prawn – the start of viral shrimp politics…

Taura Syndrome Virus (TSV) – lifted partially from FAO

Despite original work suggesting Taura syndrome (TS) was caused by a toxic pesticide (yes banana spraying Benlate made by Dupont) the decision to name it a virus was an interesting move.

Even now the mechanism of spread of TSV is still uncertain. (So much for science)

At the time US EPA also visited Ecuador to explore issue. Prawnmaster hosted them at Marine Harvest International processing facility where he was processing plant manager.

Of course it is now known (or was established) that a single or perhaps several very closely related strains (mutations) of the Taura syndrome virus (TSV) are responsible for the TS pandemic in the Americas (Brock et al., 1997; OIE Web site)……and no-one is allowed to say different. UN OIE is USA fiefdom…

We all did have a laugh when a speck of dirt on the presentation at WAS in San Diego was mistaken for a TS viral inclusion body….

Taura Syndrome Virus was first identified from farms around the Taura river in Ecuador in 1992 and subsequently spread rapidly to the whole of Latin and North America within three years.

Taura syndrome caused serious losses in revenue throughout Latin America in the 1990s. It has been suggested that TSV caused direct losses (due to shrimp mortality) of US$1–1.3 thousand million in the first three years in Latin America. However, indirect losses due to loss of sales, increased seed cost and restrictions on regional trade were probably much higher (Brock et al., 1997; Hernández-Rodríguez et al., 2001).

Lightner (1996a) estimated that a 30 percent reduction in production (to 70 000 tonnes) in subsequent years represented a loss of up to US$400 million per year from Ecuador alone.

BUT – hold on. Precisely at that time there was a move to export smaller heads-on shrimp to Europe and value addition of shrimp was bought back upstream from the US to Ecuador. Peeling shrimp accounts for 15% of the export drop and selling smaller shrimp to Europe another 5%.

…and there was quite a lot of dredging going on around the time (fine sediment in suspension block shrimp gills).

While export volumes dropped from 90,000MT to 70,000MT export values actually increased though…

Working in the processing export side of the industry at the time after already a decade in the production side Prawnmaster had a clear vision of what was being peddled.