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Shrimp farming sector looks for consensus on ways to battle trans-continental disease

Acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease (AHPND), commonly known as \"early mortality syndrome\" (EMS), is considered to be the most serious non-viral disease of cultured shrimp. A number of Asian and Latin American countries are affected by AHPND and it is strongly suspected that the disease is present, but largely unreported, in other countries in both regions. Convened by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), participants from 16 member states, along with specialists and producers from the shrimp farming sector, recently gathered at a special international seminar in the Thai capital Bangkok to discuss the disease’s evolution and consider a way forward in combating it.

July 13, 2016

Governments, scientists and producers have expressed the need for a consensus on ways to fight a deadly disease that continues to seriously threaten the world’s shrimp farming sector.

Outbreaks of acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease (AHPND), commonly known as \\\"early mortality syndrome\\\" (EMS), caught the entire shrimp industry, scientists and governments by surprise as early as 2009 and continues to plague the sector.

It is considered to be the most serious non-viral disease of cultured shrimp. A number of Asian and Latin American countries are affected by AHPND and it is strongly suspected that the disease is present, but largely unreported, in other countries in both regions.

Convened by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), participants from 16 member states, along with specialists and producers from the shrimp farming sector, have gathered at a special international seminar in the Thai capital Bangkok to discuss the disease’s evolution and consider a way forward in combating it. 

AHPND is characterized by mass mortality in shrimp farms during the first 35 days of culture where affected shrimp show massive sloughing of hepatopancreatic epithelial cells followed by death. This emerging disease is unlike most other diseases affecting farmed shrimp, and the pathogen can be present both in the cultured shrimp and in the water, sediments and associated organisms of the ponds where the shrimp are farmed.

The current trend for shrimp-related diseases is increasing, with a global spread of serious shrimp pathogens facilitated by the careless and occasionally illegal movement of live shrimp between continents.

“It is essential to maintain a healthy global aquaculture industry. Therefore aquaculture health is a shared responsibility of all of us to achieve that,” said Vili A. Fuavao, FAO Deputy Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific, at the beginning of the seminar. 

Fuavao further pointed out that a health threat to any one country can rapidly become a threat to all countries culturing similar aquatic crustaceans, fish or shellfish. 

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