• Deadly virus threatens fishpond industry


    The White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV), which has been infecting crustaceans, is threatening the country’s fishpond industry urging a lawmaker to ask the government to probe and stop it from spreading.

    The Philippines is currently the third largest exporter of shrimps in the world.

    “Its presence is practically all over the Philippines as represented by the geographical location of the provinces that were attacked by said virus which are situated in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao,” said Rep. Lilia Macrohon-Nuño of Zamboanga City’s second district.

    Recently, the virus which attacks only prawns, shrimps and crabs was again detected in Zamboanga City villages Vitali, Tictapul and Mangusu.

    It was first detected in 2010 in Cebu, Bulacan and Zamboanga del Sur.

    “The normal harvest of 1 to 1.5 ton per hectare per fishpond has been down to 200 kilos or less because of the prevalence of the virus, thereby affecting the livelihood of the families dependent upon the fishpond industry,” Nuño said.

    This prompted her, who is also a vice-chairperson of the Agriculture and Food Committee, to seek measures from the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to stop the spread of the virus.

    Nestor Domenden, BFAR regional director of Dagupan, had earlier warned that the said can eventually cripple the shrimp industry as it is capable of wiping out all shrimps in just two to three days.

    While holding meetings with stakeholders and experts to prevent further infection of fishing farms, BFAR also urged farms to register so that the government can regulate their sanitation as the virus is believed to have originated from unregistered farms in Pangasinan or Zambales.

    The WSSV is the sole member of the virus family Nimaviridae. White spots on the exoskeleton can be found on an infected shrimp. REINA TOLENTINO


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