HANOI: Vietnam is on alert for a deadly new virus that could decimate its shrimp industry.
In view of this, its Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry (MARD) has called for more stringent checks and border control measures on seafood movement.
The ministry has asked the National Steering Committee Against Smuggling, Trade Fraud and Counterfeiting Goods and some northern provinces to intensify the control of shrimp and aquaculture feed from China to prevent the spread of the virus to Vietnam.
According to Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien, the virus known as Decapod iridescent virus 1 (DIV1 virus) has caused massive losses to China's shrimp farms in recent years.
The Vietnam Express said the DIV1 virus was first detected in 2014 in samples of red claw crayfish in China's Fujian province, white-legged shrimp in Zhejian province and giant freshwater prawns in other parts of China.
The virus re-emerged in February this year in the Guangdong province, infecting up to a quarter of shrimp farms.
The ministry said the DIV1 virus infected shrimps at all stages of growth and had been found to cause disease in salt water, brackish and freshwater shrimps.
At present, there is no information on DIV1 virus infection in Vietnam.
However, to prevent the virus from entering the country, the ministry has requested the National Steering Committee at border provinces to prevent the smuggling of baby shrimps, prawns and aquaculture feed.
Northern provinces, which share the border with China, were told to work with relevant security and agriculture agencies in tightly controlling the transportation of the products.