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« เมื่อ: ธันวาคม 28, 2006, 09:30:22 PM »

Source: Malaya News  World News    23/12/2006 14:56:24
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Reinir C. Padua

A coalition of fisherfolk organizations yesterday criticized the plan of the Department of Agriculture to lift the ban on the importation and culture of Pacific white shrimp (Peneaus vannamei) on or before Wednesday.

 

The NGOs for Fisheries Reform (NFR) said the lifting of the ban could place the local shrimp industry in danger of imported diseases and in becoming dependent on foreign sources for shrimps.

 

The NFR said government is attempting to railroad its decision and skirt socio-environmental safeguards and the issues raised by community stakeholders against the foreign shrimp species.

 

Arsenio Tanchuling, executive director of Tambuyog Development Center which is a member of the NFR, said the government is "hell-bent on rushing" to amend Fisheries Administrative Order 207 (FAO 207) to exempt the Pacific white shrimp from the import ban on foreign shrimp species.

 

"But the problem is that the draft amendments do not include any socio-environmental safeguards or protocols that will prevent socio-environmental costs and the spread of shrimp diseases that can affect coastal communities," Tanchuling said.

 

The National Agriculture and Fishery Council (NAFC) announced in its meeting last Dec. 6 that Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap is set to approve on or before Dec. 20 the amendments to FAO 207 that will exempt the Pacific white shrimp from the importation ban.

 

The DA issued FAO 207 in 2001 prohibiting the importation and culture of imported live shrimps, except for educational and scientific purposes, after viral diseases suspected to have come from the P. vannamei destroyed shrimp farms in Negros.

 

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, however, made use of the exception in FAO 207 to issue a special permit to import P. vannamei for testing in 2004 reportedly because of the shrimp’s economic viability.

 

Tanchuling said fisherfolks are clueless on the results of the BFAR tests. "Even the conduct of the experiment on Pacific white shrimp by the BFAR lacked transparency and its results are shrouded in secrecy. We are not aware of the basis in lifting the ban on this exotic species," he said.

 

Emmanuel dela Cruz, chair of Kilusang Mangingisda said his group wants a total ban on Pacific white shrimp because of the socio-environmental costs involved in the introduction and culture of this exotic species, such as the entry of shrimp diseases and damage to mangrove and coastal ecosystems caused by irresponsible aquaculture practices.

 

Tanchuling also warned that the local shrimp industry risks being dependent on the importation of Pacific white shrimp broodstocks that are specific pathogen free (SPF). He said SPF broodstocks are produced only by a few hatcheries based in the United States. "The danger of becoming import-dependent is that we could be defenseless against severe market fluctuations on the price or supply of Pacific white shrimp broodstocks," he said.

Source or related URL: http://www.malaya.com.ph
 
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