Thailand suspends imports of Indian shrimp

Published on
December 12, 2017

Thailand has announced a complete ban on shrimp imports from India over concerns about the spread of a highly contagious disease affecting vannamei shrimp, the Business Standard of India reported.

Thailand’s fishing ministry said the three-month ban was put in place to prevent the spreading of infectious Myonecrosis (IMNV). Thailand’s suspension of import licenses covers five categories of shrimp – Penaeus esculentus, Fenneropenaeus, Penoeus vannamei, Pernaeus monodon, and Penaeus stylirostris – the Business Standard reported.

Thailand accounts for 13 percent of Indian shrimp exports, worth USD 1.7 billion (EUR 1.4 billion) of the 30 percent share Indian shrimp exports have in Southeast Asia.

The ban will hurt India’s chances of achieving USD 6 billion (EUR 5.1 billion) from seafood exports in 2017, according to Rajen Padhi, a seafood consultant and the director general of the Utkal Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“It is a setback for the seafood industry as Thailand has huge potential for mutual collaborations in the food processing sector,” Padhi said.

In addition, on 29 November 2017, the Hindu reported that Kuwait announced that it has imposed a ban on imports of fresh, chilled, frozen, and processed shrimp from India, citing suspected cases of diseases. 

Indian shrimp exporter Mukesh Tandel told SeafoodSource blamed the Thai ban on the country’s overreliance on vannamei, which represents 65 percent to 70 percent of Indian shrimp exports due to high demand for it in the U.S. and Southeast Asian markets.

"We cannot depend on only one product and need to diversify our export basket portfolio, as currently, [the] majority of [our] shrimp are vannamei,” Tandel said. "There is always a risk of crop loss in such a situation.”

Further trouble may lie ahead for India, as the European Union is also considering a ban on Indian shrimp following testing of Indian shrimp consignments that found routinely high use of antibiotics in Indian shrimp.

During 2016-17, India's seafood exports reached 1.13 million tons worth more than USD 5.7 billion (EUR 4.8 billion).

Reporting from Mumbai, India

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