The attempt by a senior civil servant to wave off criticism of a major Thai shrimp farming company may have created more problems than it solved.
Highly credible press reports show that a division of the country's giant Charoen Pokphand (CP) conglomerate is using very questionable methods to produce fish meal to feed and raise its shrimp. CP has disputed this, and the government has come to CP's defence, in unseemly haste.
The brevity of the timeline is embarrassing. Last week the Sunday Times of London carried the provocative article: "Our taste for prawns is killing the sea." The Times reported that CP Foods, a major subsidiary of CP, produces food for its shrimp stock by using raw materials caught with fine-mesh nets. The nets scoop up virtually everything swimming in the vicinity of the fishing boat. Then, the so-called "trash fish" are turned into fish meal that is fed to the shrimp.