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Processor could hurt shrimp supplies

Processor could hurt shrimp supplies

A NEW shrimp processing plant slated to begin operations early next year has raised concerns that local shrimp stocks won't be adequate to supply the facility, Sam Peou, president and CEO of Nautisco Seafood Manufacturing, told the Post.

The Canada-based firm broke ground on the US$4 million Sihanoukville plant, capable of processing 30 tonnes of shrimp daily, in January and expects construction to finish in January 2009, Sam Peou said.

"We are very concerned about the availability of shrimp in Cambodia," he said Sunday. "We can't fish 30 tonnes of shrimp per day from local waters, so I expect to buy farmed shrimp from neighbouring countries."

He said the plant expects to get only 20-25 percent of its supply from local sources and the rest will be imported from Vietnam, Thailand and China, depending on quality and price.

Sam Peou said he hopes local aquaculture farmers can also help supply the plant. "We want the government to encourage farmers to raise more shrimp," he said.

But one government official said an increase in local production was unlikely.

"We have no plans to promote shrimp farming," Nao Thuok, director general of the Cambodian Fisheries Department, told the Post Sunday. "If we tried, then people would cut down the mangrove forests and devastate the environment."

Nautisco plans to export between 300 and 500 tonnes of shrimp monthly in its first year of operations to markets in Japan, Canada, the US, Russia and Eastern Europe.

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