In November 2016, the Agriculture Minister, Godwin Hulse expressed optimism for the shrimp industry in Belize. When we spoke to him then, he had just finished a tour of the Rainforest Seafood Belize Processing Plant in southern Belize. For context, we bring you Hulse’s remarks on that occasion.
“I also had an opportunity to look at some of the shrimp farms, that is bouncing back and after the opening I had a meeting with all the shrimp growers and it’s very exciting to know that they are pretty much past what was called this early death syndrome that they had and they have done this by reducing the size of their ponds, lining it and draining it on a daily basis so it’s a pretty large investment but a significant investment because the farms we visited prior to this were doing about 1200 pounds per acre but they are projected to do about 20,000 pounds per acre so even though the ponds are smaller it is intensive and the shrimp look really good. They are poised to export again, in fact the Henderson’s farm should begin export back into Mexico next week, they are going to have the first trial export and so this is exciting news for the industry. That industry is poised to rebound and they’ve learned a lot of lessons and they have worked together to overcome this disease and find solutions. Bal** is also quite on the way with their production as well so the Shrimp Industry is poised to rebound and government will give them the maximum help. We have to give kudos to BAHA who has worked closely with them to try to overcome this disease.”
That was almost six months ago; tonight, however, we can tell you that the Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS) is still a probelem for the ASC as they recently suspended four local shrimp farms that will now have to undergo the cetrification process once more. Those suspended are the Bel-Euro Aquaculture Farm, Paradise Shrimp Farm, Tex Mar Farm and Tropical Aquaculture Investment Farm. The reason for suspension of all four farms on May 4, 2017 is due to the, quote, “adverse pathological events related to EMS”.