THE Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Dagupan City is actively sending out its “Hipon Mobile Clinic” to look into possible contamination by the dreaded White Shrimp Syndrome Virus (WSSV) in shrimp farms in Pangasinan and neighboring provinces.
The mobile laboratory, manned by two veterinary medicine personnel who underwent rigorous competency training, was designed by the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center to help shrimp producers respond to a verified contamination.
The WSSV has already affected several farms in the Visayas and Mindanao and farmers say they suspect the virus may have come from Luzon where they source their fingerlings.
Dr. Westly Rosario, BFAR center chief here, said their Polymerase Chain Reaction laboratory (Deoxyribonucleic acid tool) can detect whether the post larvae that shrimp producers would buy are free of various diseases.
“It is a pro-active activity,” Rosario said.
So far, six hatcheries in Dagupan and three in Labrador town have been examined and none was detected to be afflicted of WSSV.
“It (WSSV) could wipe out the shrimp hatchery which means millions of losses to the producer,” Rosario said.
The virus affects both the vannamei and the tiger prawn species.
Once the WSSV is present in the post larvae, it could affect the entire farm population within two months.
One of the main symptoms of the virus is reddening of the shrimp shell.
Once detected, forced harvesting is recommended within three to five days.
“That’s why early detection is important and having them examined before growing out is advised,” Rosario said.
The service is not free but Rosario stressed that each sample laboratory test costs only P800, a minimal amount compared to the millions of investments that could be at risk.—Eva Visperas