Lawmaker warns of virus that affects crustaceans

A  lawmaker has called on the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to investigate and eradicate a deadly virus that has infected shrimps and other crustaceans in fishponds in various parts of the country.

Zamboanga City Rep. Lilia Macrohon-Nuno said the White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV) has become a serious threat to the fishpond industry and has affected the livelihood of thousands of Filipinos.

“Its presence is practically all over the Philippines as represented by the geographical location of the provinces that were attacked by said virus in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao,” Macrohon-Nuno said.

WSSV was discovered in 2010 in fishponds in Cebu, Bulacan and Zamboanga del Sur. It attacks only crustaceans such as crabs, shrimps and prawns.

The virus attacked the barangays of Vitali, Tictapul and Mangusu in Zamboanga City recently. It can wipe out all shrimps in a farm in two or three days and the infection can eventually cripple the country’s shrimp industry.

Macrohon-Nuno, in her resolution, said the presence of the virus has been detected in various parts of the country and it could affect the status of the Philippines as the world’s third largest export of shimps.

“It has been reported that 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 on the fishpond industry,” she said.

Outbreaks of the disease was reported in Taiwan in 1992 and China in 1993, where it caused the collapse of the shrimp farming industry. Outbreaks were also reported in Japan, Korea, Thailand, India and Malaysia in 1994 and 1996, which severely affected supplies in East Asia and South Asia.

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