And while the poultry industry in the west is now in the clear, another industry, this one in the south is still being monitored closely by BAHA. In April earlier this year, a vibrio type bacteria that causes a high death rate amongst juvenile shrimp was detected in at least 2 shrimp farms in the South. BAHA acted quickly to quarantine the shrimp ponds to prevent it from spreading, but there was little that could be done to contain the waterborne bacteria. Chief Veterinary officer of BAHA, Dr. Miguel Depaz, gave us an update on that situation.
Dr Miguel Depaz: A little history on Shrimp, cultured shrimp. Cultured shrimp all started in the Asian countries and they did suffer a problem with their young juvenile shrimp vibrosis problem. So Mexico also did suffered vibrosis problem with their juvenile shrimp. And it was at that time that when our industry, shrimp industry, was booming not being fully aware that this disease could probably come here or that we could get hit by a similar disease and in reality we did get hit by vibrosis problem. So it has really devastated the shrimp industry. But we are working with the industry in recovering. So we are in that recovery stage. We are implementing measures. Recently they have imported a broodstock which we believe is resistant to the vibrosis problem. They are implementing some better practices at the farm level and they are even trying to control this bacterial problem – implementing a biological control – in other words rearing the tilapia fish with the shrimp. So we are in that stage of recovering from a vibrosis problem that we have experience.
Out of the 15 shrimp farms in the South, only one maintained its foreign market and continues to export. The damage to the shrimp industry is estimated at some 30 to 35 percent reduction in hard currency earnings from an 80 million US dollar industry.