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Australia eases shrimp imports

Update: February, 08/2017 - 10:27
The Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has loosened its temporary suspension of the import of uncooked prawns and related products. — Photo plo.vn

HÀ NỘI — The Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has loosened its temporary suspension of the import of uncooked prawns and related products.

According to a notice issued Monday, the department’s Director of Biosecurity has agreed to exempt certain goods from the suspension order that went into effect on Jan. 9, including dried prawns and shelf-stable prawn-based food products; irradiated bait for aquatic use; pet fish food and aquaculture feed; and uncooked prawns sourced from Australia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Australian-caught prawns are not exempt if they have been exported to another country for processing, said the notice.

The notice states that this exemption is a result of the department’s ongoing work to resume the safe trade in uncooked prawns and prawn products as soon as possible. This work includes an assessment of the bio-security risk presented by white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) on uncooked prawns and uncooked prawn products.

The Director of Bio-security agreed with the conclusion of the assessment that these goods pose a very low risk of introducing prawn diseases into Australia, including WSSV.

According to the Vietnamese Trade Office in Australia, the Australian Government suspended the import of prawn after an outbreak of white spot disease was detected in five aquaculture sites on Logan River, southeast Queensland, as well as in live shrimp in the river, in December last year.

Shrimp farm owners suspected viruses entering Australia from imported products from infected areas abroad, but the cause of the outbreak has not been verified.

All batches of imported shrimp were suspended as of January 9.

The office said a number of Vietnamese seafood exporters were facing difficulties as a result, especially two businesses in southernmost Cà Mau Province.

The names of the two businesses were not disclosed but it’s estimated that they may suffer a total loss of millions of dollars.

The two businesses export about 100-150 tonnes of shrimp to Australia monthly. The suspension has impacted their operations. Batches that were sent back to Việt Nam resulted in losses of about $1.6-1.8 million for each firm. — VNS

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