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#509115 - 11/14/15 04:56 AM Shrimp Situation Dire
Marty Online   happy
While the cane farmers are quibbling about prices - in the shrimp industry, they wish they had it that good. That industry has been ravaged by a virus, and it has forced all farm owners to take a drastic step of draining their ponds and starting over. CEO Alpuche outlined the massive losses to the shrimp farming industry:...

Jose Alpuche, CEO Agriculture
"All farms have got to dry out. Basically stop production to clean out and then restart. The industry is taking the hard way around it, but it's the best way around it. To restock with new genetic material and that's the wisest decision they could have taken. It's taking a little time. Originally they thought that they would be able to restock by early next year. But it appears that we will have a few months delay in that industry."

"In terms of jobs. I mean during these months people have had to be out of jobs and how many?"

Jose Alpuche, CEO Agriculture
"I don't know the exact numbers, but the farms have had to release in deed labors that would be when you have full production - because they are not in full production. But as far as I understand all the technical people, all the management have actually been kept on while they are in this process of restocking."

"Do you have any indication of losses? Because there must be significant losses."

Jose Alpuche, CEO Agriculture
"We have not done an update, but the initial estimate would have been somewhere in the region of about 22 million dollars. But we expect that that may go up."

Channel 7

Aquaculture Industry Loses Millions Due to Shrimp Disease

There is a huge development in the shrimp industry, and amazingly it’s gone completely under the radar. Because of a widespread viral infection, the industry has lost tens of millions in the past weeks, and all farms countrywide have had to take steps to start all over again from scratch. The infection was transmitted by birds that harbour around the shrimp farms.  That has resulted in extensive layoffs, though we’ve been unable to get exact figures at this time. Today, for the first time, C.E.O. in the Ministry of Agriculture Jose Alpuche spoke on the situation.

Jose Alpuche, C.E.O., Ministry of Agriculture

“There is a viral infection in the industry. It’s been affecting the industry for a few months now. All farms have had to dry out, basically stop production to clean out and then restart. The industry is taking a little bit of a difficult…let me say they’re taking the hard way around it but it’s the best way to restock with new genetic material, and that’s the wisest decision that they could have taken. It’s taking a little time. Originally they thought that they would be able to restock by early next year, but it appears that we will have a few months delay in that industry.”

Jose Alpuche


“But in terms of jobs…during these months people have had to be out of jobs. How many?”

Jose Alpuche

“I don’t know the exact numbers, but indeed the farms have had to release labourers that they would have when in full production because they’re not in full production. But as far as I understand all the technical people, all the management have actually been kept on while they’re in this process of restocking.”


“Can you give us a preliminary indication of losses, because there must be significant losses?”

Jose Alpuche

“We’re not done an update but the initial update would have been somewhere in the region of twenty-two million dollars, and we expect that figure to go up.”

We’ll have much more on this very significant situation next week.

Shrimp Industry Hit by Viral Infection

We’ve been following the crisis in the shrimp industry where losses to jobs and finances are massive. Six hundred persons have been let go so far and losses are in the range of thirty million dollars. It is all due to a bacteria that has infected more than fifty percent of the fifteen shrimp farms in the south, forcing them to shut down operations. While it has just come to light in the media, the President of the Shrimp Growers Association, Alvin Henderson says the infestation started months ago.

Alvin Henderson, President, Shrimp Growers Association
“We had a disease incident in the country which began in March of this year. I was contacted by somebody from Channel Five on Friday night and I was like what’s going on? They told me how come you guys have been able to keep this below the radar? I said I had no idea it was below the radar; I thought this was a matter that was in absolutely sunlight. So I was confused. But either ways, we had a deceased incident in March of this year, which is something that we didn’t have for fourteen years. In terms of impact on hard currency earnings, you will probably see a decline of about thirty percent. Last year, hard currency earnings were in the range of about ninety million Belize [dollars]; I think this year we are coming in around sixty million [dollars]. So it is going to be significant. In terms of employment, it has been material…it’s been about forty percent. So in terms of people impacted that are directly employed. But again these thing happen in agriculture.”

Channel 5

#509498 - 11/28/15 05:32 AM Re: Shrimp Situation Dire [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

More on the Shrimp Crisis in the Aquaculture Industry

It went mostly under the radar until very recently, but the shrimp industry has taken a major hit and it hasn’t recovered. We’re talking all shrimp farms in the country but one completely closed down…six hundred employees laid off and production down to almost zero, a loss of about thirty million dollars so far. Today Minister of Agriculture Gaspar Vega told News Five they’re doing everything possible to get the industry back on its feet.

Gaspar Vega, Minister of Agriculture

“We’re still doing some studies. They’re still doing some assessments on what we need to do. There are some people who are starting some new ponds. We have a study where the farmers want to try and have both the shrimp with the tilapia because the tilapia faeces create an antibody for the viruses that affect the shrimp. But we have not been able to see the result yet. It’s just the study and the preparation. But one thing I would like to say…like the challenge that we had with the bird influenza…everybody came together and they made hard decisions and the shrimp industry is doing the same. They shut down and everybody is together ensuring that whatever measures they make, all the farmers make it because that’s the only way we will be able to get out of this crisis that we’re in with the industry. I have all confidence that by the end of the year we will be able to start seeing some shrimp production in Belize.”


“Is there some concern that the markets which are currently available might not be available when we do get up and running?”

Gaspar Vega

“I don’t think so Mike. Because today, like we always say in our Ministry, you have to have quality, you have to be consistent and you have to be competitive, and once you can provide these three, we won’t have a problem.”

Channel 5


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