Sixteen crayfish and shrimp farms across the nation were found to have been infected with the Decapod iridescent virus 1 (DIV1), which was first found in China in 2014, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said yesterday, adding that there is no risk of human transmission.
A COA inspection of crayfish and shrimp farms nationwide from May 8 to May 21 found that 12 crayfish farms, three king prawn farms and one giant tiger prawn farm tested positive for the virus, COA Deputy Minister Huang Chin-cheng (黃金城) told a news conference in Taipei.
All crayfish, shrimp and prawns testing positive for DIV1 are to be disposed of, Huang said.
Photo courtesy of Pingtung County Government
Of the 16 farms, two king prawn farms are in New Taipei City, while the other king prawn farm and one giant tiger prawn farm are in Yilan County, Huang said.
Seven of the crayfish farms are in Pingtung County, and the rest are in New Taipei City and Kaohsiung, as well as Hsinchu, Nantou and Yunlin counties, he added.
The council had notified customs to also test imported shrimp and prawns for DIV1, Huang said.
Most imported shrimp and prawns come from Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia, he said, adding that while there have been reports of DIV1 infection in the three countries, the origin of the virus is unknown.
Taiwan is the second country to have confirmed cases of DIV1, he said.
The council has five more farms to collect samples from to meet its quota of 130 farms, he said.
It estimates that the crayfish, shrimp and prawn industry grosses more than NT$4 billion (US$134.9 million) per year.
The council will compensate farms for the crayfish, shrimp and prawns destroyed due to DIV1, while the Fisheries Institute and the Animal Health Research Institute will aid farmers in rehabilitating their ponds, Huang said.
Huang suggested that aquafarmers start the rehabilitation process by raising fish, or draining their ponds for six months to a year before raising crayfish, shrimp and prawns again.
The Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine on Wednesday said that there is no cure for DIV1 and that the virus also contaminates the water in ponds.
There is no risk of animal-to-
human transmission of DIV1, which does not affect food safety, the bureau said, adding that none of the contaminated ponds shipped mature crayfish, shrimp or prawns to the market.
The bureau said it was not ruling out the possibility that the ponds were infected by migratory birds, or that the shrimp fries imported from abroad were contaminated before they were purchased, the bureau said, adding that the council is doing everything to contain the spread of DIV1.
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