Shrimpers cry foul over new Australia ban

Bangkok Post | 7 December 2006

Shrimpers cry foul over new Australia ban

PHUSADEE ARUNMAS

Thai shrimpers yesterday submitted a letter to protest against Australia’s ban on shrimp imports even before its import risk analysis is completed.

Biosecurity Australia, a government agency, is in the process of drafting the import risk analysis for prawns, which would propose measures, including a ban, to be taken on shipments that could be hazardous to Australian consumers. Comments on the draft can be submitted until February before the analysis is approved and takes effect.

Yet Canberra banned all prawn and shrimp imports on Monday at the request of the state of Queensland after detecting white spot syndrome virus in a number of shipments from Thailand, according to Apiradi Tantraporn, the director-general of the Foreign Trade Department.

Viewing the move as unfair, Thai officials will also discuss the issue at a forum on the Thailand-Australia free trade agreement next week.

’’The ban should take effect only where the disease is found, not from the entire country,’’ she said.

Ekapoj Yodpinij, president of the Shrimp Farmers Club of Surat Thani, which represents Thai shrimpers, noted that the Australian government had announced a blanket ban on shrimp not only from Thailand but also from all countries.

’’This shows insincerity in its part and is unfair to other countries. Australia has tried to protect its own shrimp industry which is located mostly in Queensland,’’ Mr Ekapoj said.

He said the ban would definitely affect shrimp farmers in Thailand and other countries.

The Thai shrimp farmers’ clubs yesterday submitted their complaint to the Australian government through its embassy in Bangkok.

Thailand exported 10,421 tonnes of shrimp worth 2,401 million baht in 2005 and 8,604 tonnes worth 2,075 million baht in 2004.

The country has shipped 16,223 tonnes of shrimp worth 1.88 billion baht for 10 months until October this year, which increased 95.93% but decreased in value about 1.2% comparing with the same period as last year, exported 8,285 tonnes at 1,906 million bath worth.

source: Bangkok Post