May 5, 2006
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Will Bio-flocs Work with Freshwater Prawns?
Dr. Louis D'Abramo Thinks They Will
Dr. Louis D'Abramo, an aquaculture researcher at Mississippi State University, has been working on the development of freshwater prawn farming (Macrobrachium rosenbergii) for 20 years. D'Abramo thinks bio-floc aquaculture techniques can be applied to low-density prawn farming. He thinks the benefits to be gained from increasing pond productivity and minimizing adverse water quality problems will lead to larger harvests and lower costs. He plans to run trials this spring to determine whether he is right.
On March 14, 2006, I called Dr. D'Abramo and asked him about those trials:
Shrimp News: When are you going to begin your trials with prawns and flocs?
Dr. Louis D'Abramo: This spring, we're going to conduct them in twenty-five ponds (600 square meters each), with five treatments and five replicates per treatment.
We think the ponds will produce the equivalent of 900 to 1,200 pounds of prawns per acre, which is about 25% more than we're currently getting from our low-density pond trials.
We think we can produce a seven to eight count whole animal at a relatively low cost, right here in the United States. In fact, in our size/quality range, we should be competitive with imports!
When organic certification comes, there's no way that this product will not be certified as organic. It already fits all the criteria being discussed--low stocking densities, organic feeds, organic fertilization, no cages, free-range, no effluent impact, no fish meal-based diets.
Shrimp News: In marine shrimp farming, farmers switch to flocs to increase stocking densities. Since you're only going to increase densities by a small amount, what's the advantage of switching to flocs?
Dr. Louis D'Abramo: We think the flocs will increase the amount of natural food that's available to the prawns and make a major contribution to minimizing water quality problems. The intent is to develop a heterotrophic bacterial community to assimilate the ammonium and produce edible protein for the prawns. I want to create microbial flocs, not only as a source of food for the prawns, but also to sustain good water quality in the pond. We're trying to move from an autotrophic system that's dominated by algae to a heterotrophic system dominated by bacteria. We spend a lot of time and energy trying to maintain good water quality in our algae-based ponds and think it will be less expensive and easier to manage bacteria-based ponds.
We use substrates in our ponds to take advantage of the entire water column and to reduce encounters among the prawns, so they spend less time fighting and more time eating. That substrate becomes a living filter that removes toxins from the water and provides additional food for the shrimp. We hope to develop flocs on the substrate and in the water column.
Shrimp News: Do you anticipate any problems developing bacterial flocs in fresh water?
Dr. Louis D'Abramo: No, the flocs will appear, but they will be composed of different flora and fauna from what occurs in marine shrimp ponds. We'll get freshwater organisms, instead of marine and estuarine organisms.
Shrimp News: How do you know the prawns will consume the flocs?
Dr. Louis D'Abramo: We don't. But we know the floc is loaded with the things that prawns like to eat, and we see them grazing on the periphyton that grows on our current substrate, which is probably not all that much different from floc.
Shrimp News: What do you plan to use as a carbon source?
Dr. Louis D'Abramo: I will try to create a carbon to nitrogen ratio of about 20 to 1 in the tank trials. Currently, we're using two sources of organic fertilization in our prawn ponds. They're readily available, inexpensive and good sources of carbon. One is range pellets, commonly used for beef cattle; the other, corn gluten pellets, again used as supplementary food for cattle. The carbon to nitrogen ratio in the range pellets and the corn gluten pellets is about 13 or 14 to 1, so I'm going to use additional carbon sources, like tapioca powder, wheat flour or molasses, to bring the ratio up to 20 to 1.
Shrimp News: You work with animals at very low densities, around three per square meter. Do you expect to increase your stocking densities if the floc stuff works out?
Dr. Louis D'Abramo: Yes, but nothing like what you're seeing in marine shrimp ponds. We think the flocs will recycle many nutrients back to the prawns. We'll be creating a richer natural system. More natural protein will be available to the prawns. We'll still be working at very low densities, fewer than five animals per square meter.
Shrimp News: What about aeration?
Dr. Louis D'Abramo: We will follow our normal methodology of managing dissolved oxygen, ensuring that levels do not fall below 4 ppm. As part of our experimental design we are going to evaluate the effect of water circulation in addition to aeration.
Information: Louis R. D'Abramo, Ph.D., W.L. Giles Distinguished Professor, Associate Director, Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Mississippi State University, Box 9690, Mississippi State, MS 39762 USA (phone 662-325-7492, fax 662-325-8726).
Source: Dr. Louis D'Abramo, telephone interview by Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International. March 14, 2006.
In response to an item on the Shrimp List, Michel Autrand, a shrimp farming consultant in France, posted:
To the best of my knowledge, the only existing and working shrimp farm in West Africa is West Africa Aquaculture in Gambia. This project started in 1988 with a company called Scan Gambia from Norway (?). It introduced Penaeus monodon from Asia (I think from Sri Lanka and/or Malaysia). During the same period, a Unilever project also worked with P. monodon in the Ivory Coast.
At the beginning of 1980, a small pilot project managed by the Senegal Government with technical support from France Aquaculture/IFREMER introduced several foreign species including monodon for trials in Casamance, in southern Senegal.
More recently, a project in Guinea (Koba) started to produce P. vannamei, but it collapsed after two years. It didn't import monodon, but did collect some monodon breeders from the mangrove around Conakry.
Although not native to the area, monodon is now well established with a substantial population. The two main native shrimp species in West Africa, P. notialis and P. kerathurus, have been exploited by commercial fishermen for decades, and stocks have been decreasing sharply. I've heard about other shrimp farming projects in Nigeria, Ghana and Gabon, but I don't know if they really exist or if they are just paper projects.
In response to the same item, Hervé Lucien-Brun, another shrimp farming consultant in France, posted to the Shrimp List:
In 1989, SAKOBA, a company in Guinea, West Africa, imported 100,000 Penaeus monodon postlarvae from Hawaii. The PLs spent a week in France and then were shipped to Guinea, where they were farmed with an estimated survival of 89%. In mid-1995, SAKOBA staff discovered that local fishermen were frequently catching monodon, which they called "red shrimp". Considering the good survivals and relatively small numbers of the original batch, it's doubtful that this batch was large enough to establish a local population. Most people think the stocks of wild monodon in West Africa escaped from a farm in Gambia. Information: Hervé Lucien-Brun, General Manager, Aqua Techna BP, 10 Les Landes de Bauche 44220, Couëron, France (email email@example.com, webpage http://www.aquatechna.com).
Sources: 1. The Shrimp List (a mailing list for shrimp farmers, "firstname.lastname@example.org"). Subject: Re: [shrimp] Re: Monodon in the Caribbean. From: email@example.com. April 25, 2006. 2. The Shrimp List (a mailing list for shrimp farmers, "firstname.lastname@example.org"). Subject: Re: [shrimp] Re: Monodon in the Caribbean. From: email@example.com. April 28, 2006.
Run, Itamar, Run
In June 2006, Itamar Rocha, the president of the Brazilian Association of Shrimp Farmers (ABCC), is expected to declare himself as a candidate for congressional elections in Rio Grande do Norte, a state at the very heart of the shrimp farming industry in Brazil. Rocha, driven by a desire to fight for shrimp farming at the state level, said, "Our main fight is against the government," which he thinks makes Brazilian shrimp less competitive in international markets.
Source: Fish Farming International (http://www.fishfarming.co.uk). Editor, Kenny McCaffrey (firstname.lastname@example.org). Brazilian May Seek Election. Volume 33, Number 4, Page 1, April 2006.
Shrimp Feeds from China Are Headed Your Way!
Established in 1997, the Guangdong Haid Industrial Group now has aquatic feed mills in Hubei, Fuzhou, Iiangsu, Sichuan and Guangdong provinces, plus a research center and staff of 1,500. In the last seven years, it has grown from a small factory to one of the top ten feed producers in China. One of its factories in Guangdong produces 60,000 metric tons a year of aquatic feeds, including Penaeus vannamei feeds for inland and coastal farms (average selling price, $700 a metric ton).
In the next 2-3 years, Haid Industrial will go international and seek global markets for its shrimp feeds. Long-term, it hopes to build an integrated aquaculture company with feed mills, hatcheries, farms, processing plants and international marketing.
Source: Aqua Culture Asia Pacific (Editor/Publisher, Zuridah Merican, email email@example.com, webpage www.aquaasiapac.com). Reaching New Heights in China. Zuridah Merican. Volume 2, Number 2, Page 16, March/April 2006.
Industry Moves South
Bushehr Province, on the northeast side of the Persian Gulf, led the country in the production of farm-raised shrimp until 2005 when the whitespot virus decimated the industry. Now, the industry appears to moving south to Sistan-Baluchestan and Hormozgan provinces. Because of a warm climate and the potential for two crops, Sistan-Baluchestan Province may produce 3,000 metric tons of whole shrimp from 1,300 hectares of ponds in 2006.
Shrimp hatcheries in Hormozgan Province, which also has a warmer climate than Bushehr Province, will supply some 440 million postlarvae in 2006. Every year, over 2,500 tons of shrimp are produced in the province, which borders the Persian Gulf and Oman Sea.
Sources: 1. MehrNews.com. Chabahar shrimp production projected to hit 3000 tons annually (http://www.mehrnews.ir/en/NewsDetail.aspx?NewsID=315504). April 22, 2006. 2. MehrNews.com. Hormozgan shrimp hatchery output projected to hit 440m (http://www.mehrnews.ir/en/NewsDetail.aspx?NewsID=318333). April 29, 2006.
GP Ocean Food, Bhd., the largest integrated fisheries company in Malaysia, owns fishing vessels, fish farms, processing plants and distribution centers, and in April 2005, it got involved in shrimp farming with 175 shrimp ponds in a mangrove swamp. It imports shrimp feeds, and claims to make a 60% profit on its shrimp farming operations. It does not have to pay taxes on its aquaculture investments because of government tax incentives that encourage the development of aquaculture.
Source: The Star Online. The world is the oyster of GP Ocean (http://biz.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2006/4/24/business/14009429&sec=business). C.S. Tan. April 24, 2006.
Shrimp Production Expected to Drop
Somsak Paneetatyasai, President of Thai Shrimp Association, said shrimp production was "worrisome" and shrimp exports would be below expectation in 2006. High fuel prices have forced commercial shrimp fishermen to remain in port, thus the volume of sea-caught shrimp, which was mainly for domestic consumption, was cut by more than 50% compared to the same period last year.
Because of problems with the whitespot virus at tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) hatcheries and farms, many farms have switched to producing white shrimp (P. vannamei) for the domestic market, so less is available for export.
Source: Press Release from the Thai Shrimp Association. TSA Expects Drop in Shrimp Production. Somsak Paneetatyasai (firstname.lastname@example.org). April 26, 2006.
CPF Chickens Out
In the third quarter of 2006, according to Adirek Sripratak, president of Charoen Pokphand Foods, the company is preparing to open a $50 million hatchery and shrimp farming complex in Trat Province. Mr. Adirek said it would be a world-class, integrated, bio-secure facility. With this expansion, revenue from shrimp could exceed revenue from chicken within three years, he added!
The shrimp complex is not far from an existing CPF processing plant in Rayong, so it will be able to offer fresher products and save on transportation and other costs.
In 2005, CPF's sales rose to over $3 billion from $2.5 billion in 2004. It projects 10% growth in sales in 2006.
Source: Bangkok Post. CPF poised to open B2bn shrimp complex (http://www.bangkokpost.com/Business/29Apr2006_biz40.php). Woranuj Maneerungsee. April 29, 2006.
Thaksin Chemchom owns a Penaeus vannamei shrimp hatchery in Phuket, 200 shrimp ponds and a Thai Union Feedmill dealership. In 2004 and 2005, his hatchery produced 480 million postlarvae (PL-12). His broodstock originated in Hawaii as certified TSV (Taura Syndrome Virus) resistant and free of the whitespot (WSSV), infectious hypodermal and hematopoietic necrosis (IHHNV) and yellowhead (YHV) viruses. Imported broodstock is checked for diseases and quarantined for 15 days.
To prevent Vibrio infections, probiotics are used twice a week in the broodstock tanks. Feeds include squid, oysters, krill and polychaete worms from Satun Province. Although relatively expensive, Thaksin uses feeds from Cargill and INVE and says he will continue to use them as long as sales are good. He sells PLs for $3.12 a thousand.
Under an agreement with the Department of Fisheries (DoE), Thaksin must collect fast-growing shrimp from the farmers who stock his PLs. The fast-growers then become part of a local domestication program that all hatcheries are required to join. Thaksin's farm is regularly audited by teams from the DoF, which also provide training for the hatchery staff.
Source: Aqua Culture Asia Pacific (Editor/Publisher, Zuridah Merican, email email@example.com, webpage www.aquaasiapac.com). A Supporting Hatchery. Volume 2, Number 2, Page 20, March/April 2006.
Kentucky-SyAqua Withdraws from State Project
The Associated Press reports: Genus, PLC, the British cattle genetics company, bought Kentucky-based Sygen International in late 2005. Genus is now severing its ties with Kentucky and moving the surviving company, PIC North America (Pig Improvement Company), which owns SyAqua, to Tennessee.
SyAqua, a shrimp genetics company, owns shrimp hatcheries in Brazil, Mexico and Thailand.
A $2.8 million state grant given to PIC North America to work with Western Kentucky University and other state institutions to develop a shrimp research program will be returned to the state because Genus has decided not to pursue the project. About $80,000 of the grant has been spent, but it will be returned.
Source: CentreDaily.com. Genetic engineering company relocating to Tennessee (http://www.centredaily.com/mld/centredaily/business/14419149.htm). Associated Press. April 24, 2006.
Government to Finance Shrimp Genetic Center
The Venezuelan Government plans to set aside $2 million for the creation of a shrimp breeding center using French technology. The investment will be made through the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Zuliana Region Development Corporation (CORPOZULIA), and the Venezuelan Industrial Bank (BIV).
After shrimp farmers were hit hard by the Taura virus in 2005, the Western Association of Shrimp Producers (ASOPROCO) instigated the project, which will be located on the Paraguaná Peninsula, in Falcón State. Fernando Villamizar, president of ASOPROCO, pointed out that the new center will carry out pathologic and scientific studies on shrimp breeding, and added, "This will allow for having a species that is completely resistant to the virus...."
Surrounding Lake Maracaibo, in Zulia State, there are twenty-four shrimp farms, 8,500 hectares of ponds and five shrimp processing plants. The industry creates 5,000 direct jobs and 40,000 indirect jobs. It exports shrimp to Europe and the USA.
Source: Website of Panorama Acuicola Magazine (http://www.panoramaacuicola.com). Venezuelan Government to invest USD 2 million to set up shrimp genetic center (http://www.panoramaacuicola.com/noticia.php?art_clave=2532). April 18, 2006.
Drugs and Chemicals
Ta Quang Ngoc, Minister of Fisheries, has signed an order to establish a steering committee to monitor the purity of shrimp in twelve southern provinces. The steering committee will be headed by Nguyen Tu Cuong, Director of the National Fisheries Quality Assurance and Veterinary Directorate. All shrimp will be examined at delivery sites.
Source: Vietnam New Bridge. VN shrimp under microscope (http://english.vietnamnet.vn/biz/2006/04/563786/). Ha Yen. April 24, 2006.
Because of a shortage of farm-raised shrimp, shrimp prices are slowly increasing in Vietnam.
Heads-off, 6/8 count, tiger shrimp for export to Japan currently sell for $16.70 a kilogram, up by 2% over March 2006 prices. Boiled 21/25 count sushi shrimp sell at $12.20 a kilogram (also up 2%), and boiled 21/25 count peeled and deveined shrimp, exported to the USA, sell for $12.20 a kilogram, up by 3%.
In the domestic market, 20 count tiger shrimp sell for $10.04 a kilogram in Quang Ninh Province, while 15/20 count shrimp sell for $13.80 a kilogram, up 10% from March 2006.
Source: VietnamNet. Material shrimp forecast to increase (http://english.vietnamnet.vn/service/printversion.vnn?article_id=789940). TBKTVN. April 27, 2006.