A new virus is decimating shrimp farms in China's Guangdong province, with Indian shrimp producers also being put on high alert.
The virus, known as Decapod iridescent virus 1, or DIV1, was first detected as early as 2014, but came back with a vengeance last spring and again in February, affecting about a quarter of the area under shrimp production, local farmers told South China Morning Post.
The spread of the disease, has left the shrimp industry in Guangdong concerned it will face mass deaths of a similar scale to the African swine fever crisis, which wiped out as much as 60 percent of China’s pig herd.
“The infection rate and lethalness of the virus are terrifying,” said Wu Jinhong, a shrimp farmer in Da’ao township in Jiangmen city.
“It only takes two or three days from detecting the first infection for all shrimp in the pond to be killed.”
The first signs of infection are typically when shrimp begin turning a reddish color, before their shells soften and they sink to the bottom of ponds, local farmers said.
Meanwhile India's Coast Aquaculture Authority (CAA) has distributed an alert to the country's shrimp producers.
To date, DIV1 has been detected in several farmed shrimp species, including vannamei and freshwater shrimp, said the CAA advisory.
All foreign exporters and Indian importers, including hatchery operators, have been advised by CAA to screen SPF broodstock and other live stocks, including artemia cysts used in hatchery feed, for the virus "for the safety of the shrimp aquaculture industry in India."
Guangdong province -- China's largest aquaculture producing region -- has been trying to incentivize trade since the coronavirus shut down China's foodservice industry, launching an incentive scheme in February to spur the purhcase and storage of shrimp in the region until markets re-open.