White spot hits China’s croaker crop


Catherine Zhang, SeafoodSource.com contributing editor reporting from London, England

Published on
July 9, 2009

The white spot virus is to blame for killing 4,000 metric tons of farmed yellow croaker worth USD 100 million (EUR 72 million) in China’s aquaculture-rich Fujian province, according to the Chinese Fishery Association (CFA).

Lack of water flow, high temperatures and overstocking were among the causes of the outbreak. Fresh and frozen yellow croaker is a major Chinese seafood export.

White spot can cause bacterial infections and respiratory problems in fish and can spread quickly in poor growing conditions, such as insufficient water flow.

The disease is considered to be one of the most virulent among aquatic viruses and can be spread during any stage of farming, according to the CFA. Outbreaks in Chinese shrimp farms were common in the 1990s but have since been pacified with heightened awareness of proper farming methods.

The croaker farm where the outbreak originated has been contained and will be shut down until further notice, according to the CFA. Investigators believe the outbreak was caused by low-level breeding methods with disregard for water flow, water temperature changes, stocking density and sanitation.

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