The state Department of Agriculture on Monday placed an emergency quarantine prohibiting the movement of shrimp from Limaloa Farm on Kaua‘i’s Westside.
Officials issued the order after tests confirmed White Spot Syndrome Virus, a highly contagious and fatal disease for shrimp and other crustaceans.
The same disease hit the facility four years ago, prompting a nearly two-year quarantine and causing the previous owners to file for bankruptcy.
WSSV poses no threat to humans, even if affected shrimp are consumed. As the name suggests, shrimp with the disease may exhibit white spots and rapid death usually follows, a Department of Agriculture news release states.
Limaloa Farms told state officials they noticed a problem in one of four ponds on Thursday.
Shrimp tissue samples on Friday were sent for testing to the Aquaculture Pathology Laboratory at the University of Arizona in Tucson, which confirmed the disease on Monday.
Hawai‘i Board of Agriculture Chair Sandra Lee Kunimoto subsequently issued a quarantine order prohibiting the company from moving any shrimp off the Kekaha farm without the authorization of the state veterinarian.
But the farm told the state that, since Thursday, when the symptoms were first noticed, it had voluntarily halted any shrimp shipments.
This is the second time WSSV has been detected at the facility. It was discovered in April 2004 when it was Cea-tech shrimp farm. Ceatech subsequently filed for bankruptcy.
The farm, under new ownership, was released from quarantine on Jan. 25, 2006, after shrimp grown in the ponds tested negative for WSSV.
Further monitoring will continue and the quarantine order will stay in effect until tests confirm the facility is disease-free, the news release states.
WSSV outbreaks have been reported in Japan, China, Thailand, Korea, the Philippines and in Central and South America.
Fresh Island Fish president Mike Lee did not return a call seeking comment by press time. The company manages Limaloa Farm.