Infected shrimp batch destroyed
It had a virus that affects crustaceans but not humans
A batch of imported live baby shrimp being held in quarantine in Hawaii tested positive for a deadly shrimp virus.
The virus, highly contagious to shrimp and other crustaceans, was safely contained, state officials said yesterday. The shrimp were destroyed, and the effluent was chlorinated to kill any virus.
Even if infected shrimp are eaten, the white-spot syndrome virus does not pose a threat to humans, according to the Department of Health.
Hawaii Kuruma Shrimp imported the immature Japanese tiger shrimp, highly prized by sushi chefs and fetching up to $30 a pound, said Janelle Saneishi, spokeswoman for the state Department of Agriculture.
The shrimp is said to be sweet and can be eaten raw, and has been sold locally for $1.50 apiece, according to a Honolulu sushi chef.
The virus was discovered while 10,000 shrimp were being held for a 120-day quarantine in a single tank at the aquaculture complex at Windward Community College.
The shrimp had been imported from Mie prefecture in Japan.
Infected shrimp and other crustaceans can develop white spots and quickly die, according to the Department of Health.
The same virus occurred at Ceatech on Kauai in April 2004 in an unrelated case, Saneishi said.
"The potential for Hawaii aquaculture is tremendous, and the health of the industry relies on prompt reporting and management of any disease problem," said John Corbin, manager of the Aquaculture Development Program.
State officials said the incident illustrates the need for Hawaii's animal quarantine system.