Why Thailand shrimp farming imploded….

Everyone says it was disease but actually…….

The Thai government took away the guaranteed minimum price support to shrimp farmers – they had already got into trouble with rice – which featured heavily in Thai politics. This included the Thai government cold-store backstop shrimp strategy.

The Thai government took away the rebate on every reefer container exported. Initially this was to promote exports and investments into shrimp industry.

Shrimp farmers held back on stocking. Shrimp processors and exporters (whom didn’t really get involved in farming), with forward contracts to fill, started looking at importing and/or offshoring into other countries (SE Asia).

In country shrimp experts played the disease card – with vibrio convenient.

It was highlighted earlier on in 2010 to the Thai export industry in GOAL Kuala Lumpur, that Thai shrimp farmers had gained market share by playing a strategy of using unsustainable and non-certified local fishmeal. Things got worse later when news media delved in further and found slave trade involved. Then the chemicals and mangroves….

So since then economics seems to have hampered the Thai regrowth of shrimp farming –

BUT hope is that new technology has helped basically to reformat the strategy with RAS (albeit still exclusion rather than containment) systems being used.

Prawn disease syndrome (PDS)…….an inconvenient truth.

Shrimp diseases are not a problem for the global shrimp industry. For shrimp farmers diseases are a worry though – one on a list of many.

How so? Well shrimp prices are at all time lows, indicative of good supply. If disease were a problem and affecting all geographical locations where commodity vannamei shrimp are grown then prices would start rising.

Commodity farmed vannamei shrimp has a global farming spread, a 3-5 month grow out cycle with a complete generational life cycle every 12 months. This together with the possibility to cold store frozen harvested stocks for up to 24 months gives the industry flexibility and rapid responsiveness to any potential disease outbreaks.

Of course if there is a global disease breakout prices will rise to such a degree that people will turn to eating chicken.

Prawn disease syndrome (PDS) is a objective view that promotes the rhetoric from many that the biggest problem for the industry is diseases. Not so! The biggest problem in the future is growing the market and concern that prices are so low for shrimp farmers.

These low prices turn people away from shrimp farming or, in a worst case scenario, be used to lower quality and hence costs in husbandry, be it feed, seed or management, which in turn could make shrimp more susceptible to local diseases.

Those in shrimp farming and reporting on shrimp farming should look to talk up shrimp farming and not catch a dose of PDS.

Intrafish – sorry poor mainstream seafood headline news – journo’s lack of business nous…

A win for seafood does not come off the back of the missfortunes of others.

The shrimp aquaculture industry does not support statements made like this one in Intrafish yesterday.


Reading the Rabobank report there is no mention at all of other proteins ‘winning’ out on this. They say clearly losses from ASF to lift “all protein boats”.

We, and the hundreds of thousands of shrimp farmers on the planet, would like to express our condolences and support to fellow farmers for what is currently happening with ASF.

Our shrimp industry has passed through three similar viral episodes over past three decades.

Intrafish journalists – please be a bit more professional on reporting sensitive issues and while we understand your close ties to a consolidated, concentrated (under investigation for price fixing) salmon fish sector, the seafood sector and farming sector has a far larger remit.