May 18, 2007
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Durwood Dugger on Spiny Lobster Farming
On February 1, 2007, I interviewed Durwood Dugger, a shrimp farming consultant and one of the pioneers of shrimp farming in the Western Hemisphere. Durwood, 60, has worked on more than 50 shrimp farming projects in the Western Hemisphere and has recently taken a very serious look at the economics of lobster farming.
Shrimp News: What are your plans for lobster farming?
Durwood Dugger: We've been looking at warmwater spiny lobster farming for several years now.
We looked at what I call the Shrimp Farming Development Model and saw that the first real technical leap that we had in shrimp farming was selecting the most naturally adapted species (Penaeus vannamei) for aquaculture production. This critical task has not been accomplished with spiny lobster. Spiny lobster farming is where shrimp farming was in 1965. There are no broadly demonstrated superior species, no commercial hatchery technology and no commercial feed formulations.
One of our clients (one of the largest seafood companies in the world) looked at coldwater and warmwater lobster farming. It discarded the coldwater homarid species after a careful and detailed examination of the production economics and became interested in coldwater spiny rock lobsters and warmwater spiny lobsters. When I agreed to look at the economic feasibility of commercializing spiny lobster farming, I admit to having started out with a strong negative bias. I thought it just could not be done because of their long larval rearing times.
Shrimp News: What type of culture system do you envision for lobster?
Durwood Dugger: Controlled environment, closed/recirculating seawater systems seem to be the best choice. I think we're at an economic and environmental dead end with flow-through ponds in the United States. Warmwater spiny lobsters are not nearly as cannibalistic as the American lobster (Homarus americanus). Only the postlarval stages are cannibalistic. Once they reach the juvenile stage when they start seeking shelter under rocks and in crevices, they're very docile and actually begin to seek each other out using chemical cues and live communally. Warmwater spiny lobsters can reach market size in less than a year, while coldwater spiny/rock lobsters and homarids require three years, or more, to reach market size.
In our feasibility studies, we looked at using wild juveniles for seedstock and quickly discovered that wild juveniles would not work at a large-scale lobster farm. It's not like shrimp where you can go back to the same estuary every year and harvest wild postlarvae. Areas where wild seed are available change from year to year because wild spiny lobster larvae are planktonic drifters for extended periods. Their settling points depend on the vagaries of oceanic currents, the winds and tides. They're here one year, there the next year, and some years, they can't be found anywhere. The number of people required to collect wild seed, the number of collecting devices to harvest, the support equipment, the logistics, and the highly unpredictable amount of seed, make it economically unfeasible and unsustainable on the large-scale required for a spiny lobster culture industry. The use of wild seedstock also presents a host of international boundary, legal, environmental and fishery issues.
Shrimp News: I don't know much about spiny lobsters. What can you tell me about them?
Durwood Dugger: Tropical spiny lobsters are being overfished everywhere in the world, especially Southeast Asia. Florida and the Bahamas have some of the best spiny lobster fishery management programs, but even those aren't going to be sustainable because they can't manage the spiny lobster breeding and larval source areas further down in the Caribbean, which are under the control of other nations.
We think demand and market prices are attractive enough to offset the risks of developing closed system lobster farms. Compared to both historic and current shrimp prices, spiny lobster prices offer a substantially greater financial resource and potentially much higher margins on which to develop the necessary aquaculture production technology. I'll be the first to admit that the technology required is considerably more difficult and sophisticated than that for shrimp production. On the other hand, that higher level of sophistication offers greater opportunity for protectable intellectual properties, which will help ensure that spiny lobster doesn't become a commodity product like shrimp. Spiny lobster aquaculture research over the past 30 years has lacked focus and suffered from a lack of commercial and economic development priorities. Consequently, the information that is available on the various species of spiny lobster is very spotty and often unreliable. Much of the information written about spiny lobster is not accurate, particularly regarding the larval development phases. While some progress has been made in improving spiny lobster larval culture techniques in recent years, the larval technology is still not commercially reliable or economically feasible at this point. Optimum species selection should be the first priority, followed by the development of economically feasible larval rearing technology and commercial feed development for that species. This is precisely the approach we are taking.
Shrimp News: Where is warmwater lobster farming being done around the world?
Durwood Dugger: India, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines. One report I read said there were 35,000 family-based cage operations in Vietnam. All of these operations are dependent on wild seed because there are no warmwater lobster hatcheries anywhere in the world. Presumably, some of these small farms are profitable at a cottage/family farming industry level, but they experience frequent die-offs because they're feeding fishery wastes. The associated pollution and diseases cause additional problems.
Shrimp News: What are your plans with tropical spiny lobsters?
We have a company and a business plan to obtain funding to develop spiny lobster farming. The "We" includes:
Jim Wood--a former VP of Marketing for Park Davis Pharmaceuticals who has taken an interest in what we have been doing and has agreed to help us with project financing.
Dr. Darryl Jory--international shrimp project technical auditor, production operations manager, researcher, aquaculture data mining specialist, seafood and aquaculture industry insider, and an early spiny lobster researcher.
Dr. Ferdinand Wirth--one of the few professional aquaculture economists, an aquaculture marketing specialist and my colleague on several recent consulting projects--including our warm water spiny lobster farming economic analysis.
Dr. Sabine Alshuth--my wife, a larval culture researcher (including spiny lobster), who has been the chief scientist on over 40 European oceanic expeditions.
We have also been developing spiny lobster culture technical resources in Asian countries and contacts to supply specimen stocks for our species evaluation work here. We have already made some breakthroughs on species selection.
Information: Durwood Dugger, President, BioCepts International, Inc., 947 Sandpiper Lane, Vero Beach, FL 32963 USA (phone 772-332-1046, fax 772-234-8966, email firstname.lastname@example.org, webpage http://www.biocepts.com).
Source: Durwood Dugger, telephone interview by Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International. February 1, 2007.
Power Shortages at Shrimp Processing Plants
Work at 39 shrimp processing plants in southwest Bangladesh, the center of the country's shrimp farming industry (Bagerhat, Khulna and Satkhira districts) is being seriously hampered by a shortage of power.
Source: The Financial Express. Shrimp industries of S region hit by shortage of power (http://www.financialexpress-bd.com/index3.asp?cnd=5/7/2007§ion_id=3&newsid=60424&spcl=no). May 7, 2007.
Government Relaxes Ban on PL Fishing
On April 30, 2007, the government relaxed the ban on the collection of shrimp postlarvae from the country's southwestern region for a month because a broodstock shortage has limited the production of postlarvae at hatcheries.
Source: Financial Express. Govt relaxes ban on shrimp fry collection in SW region for a month (http://www.financialexpress-bd.com/index3.asp?cnd=5/1/2007§ion_id=7&newsid=59851&spcl=no). May 1, 2007.
CP and Dipasena
PT Central Proteinaprima (CP Prima, the Indonesian shrimp farming unit of Thailand's Charoen Pokphand Group, which has shrimp feed mills, hatcheries, farms and processing plants across Indonesia) is going to bid for PT Dipasena Citra Darmaja, Asia's largest shrimp farm with 186,000 hectares of shrimp ponds run collaboratively with some 11,000 local farmers.
On May 8, 2007, Mahar Sembiring, a CP Prima director, said if CP wins the bid, it would improve Dipasena's production infrastructure. CP Prima has appointed publicly listed construction firm PT Truba Alam Manunggal and state-owned firm PT Wijaya Karya to assess the condition of Dipasena's production infrastructure and determine whether any upgrading is needed, Mahar added.
CP Prima will be competing with other bidders, including the Laranda Consortium, a global shrimp producer with operations in the Philippines and the Middle East, and PT Kemila International Holding, reported to have received financial backing from the Fund Asia group.
All bidders for Dipasena are expected to have experience in the aquaculture business and be willing to invest a minimum of $188 million to refurbish Dipasena's shrimp farms.
Source: The Jakarta Post.com. CP Prima stepping up efforts to clinch control of Dipasena (http://www.thejakartapost.com). May 9, 2007.
Japan Rejects Shrimp from Sulawesi
Japan, the biggest importer of Indonesian shrimp, has rejected 15 tons of shrimp exported from South Sulawesi because it was contaminated with an antibiotic.
Source: Antara News. Economic and Business/Japan rejects shrimp exported from S Sulawesi (http://www.antara.co.id/en/arc/2007/5/2/japan-rejects-shrimp-exported-from-s-sulawesi/). May 2, 2007.
Shrimp Rejected in EU
In the year ending March 2007, more than 976 tons of Iranian shrimp were rejected by foreign states because of delays and discrepancies in export documents. On April 30, 2007, the new head of Iran's State Veterinary Organization warned that because of the discrepancies, Iran will probably not be able to export shrimp to the European market until March 2009. Actually, it could be years before Iran will be able to export shrimp to the European Union again. Consequently, Iranian shrimp farmers are demanding payments from the government to sustain the shrimp farming industry until shrimp exports are resumed.
Sources: 1. Iran Mania. Iran shrimp trade prospects not bright (http://www.iranmania.com/News/ArticleView/Default.asp?NewsCode=51324&NewsKind=Current%20Affairs). May 2, 2007. 2. The Fish Site. Shrimp Farmers in Quandary (http://www.thefishsite.com/fishnews/4246/shrimp-farmers-in-quandary). May 9, 2007.
At "Aquaculture America 2007" (San Antonio, Texas, USA, February/March 2007), Dragon Feeds (Wales) and Alicorp (Peru) signed a major agreement that could lead to polychaetes (rag worms) replacing all the fish meal in shrimp feeds. The new partners think in five or ten years, they will be able to produce enough rag worms to replace all the fish meal produced worldwide.
Alicorp, a major Peruvian company that manufacturers products for mass consumption, like ice cream, produces Nicovita Camarón de Mar feed for shrimp. Alicorp's CEO, Leslie Pierce, sees the agreement as leading to aquaculture being less dependent on fish meal and industrial fishing. "Polychaete farming can free us and the industry of this dependency," he said.
Tony Smith, managing director of Dragon Feeds, says that it takes seven months to grow a worm from egg to harvest. Survival rates have jumped from 3% to 80% and production from 1 kilogram a square meter to 5 kilograms a square meter. "What's great about polychaetes is that they're detrital feeders," says Smith. "They feed on whatever settles to the ocean floor." Smith is working on a deal with a chicken processing plant to use its processing wastes (viscera, heads and necks) to feed his worms. The chicken processor will pay Smith to cart the stuff away! "...Processing plants pay a fortune for waste removal; these worms will eat it all," says Smith
Despite numerous skeptics that say it will be impossible to farm enough worms to equal the world's production of fish meal, Alicorp and Dragon Feeds are confident that it can be done.
Information: Tony Smith, Managing Director, Dragon Feeds, Ltd., Unit 43 & 44, Endeavour Close, Industrial Estate, Purcell Avenue, Port Talbot, SA12 7PT, United Kingdom (phone 44-1639-896777, fax 44-1639-883173, email email@example.com).
Information: Dagoberto Sánchez, Alicorp SAA, Nicovita Feeds, Av. Argentina No. 4793, Callao 03, Peru (phone 51-1-3150800, fax 51-1-3150837, email firstname.lastname@example.org, webpage www.nicovita.com.pe).
Source: Fish Farming International (http://www.fishfarminginternational.com). Editor, Kenny McCaffrey (email@example.com). Peruvians sign up for Welsh worms. Volume 34, Number 4, Page 15, April 2007.
Chemoattractants in Shrimp Feeds
This study was conducted to develop standard operating procedures for conducting chemoattraction studies under commercial conditions and to evaluate attractants and stimulants in commercial shrimp feeds. The study was conducted with Penaeus vannamei at the La Fragata shrimp farm in Tumbes, Peru.
Shrimp (12 to 23 grams) were stocked at a density of 80 postlarvae per square meter. Experiments were carried out in a one-hectare, intensive, rectangular, outdoor, lined pond equipped with 16 paddlewheels (20 HP each) and completely covered with a plastic roof. Pond water depth ranged from 1.5 to 2.0 meters. Three 15-day trials were conducted. Each trial evaluated nine tray stations in the pond. Each tray station had two feed trays, one with a control (low attractant) feed and the other with a treatment feed (attractant). Observations of trays were made in the morning and evening with a one hour evaluation period after the addition of feed. Two kilos of control or experimental feed were placed in each feed tray.
A 1% squid muscle meal, a 3% proprietary attractant and a 4% proprietary attractant were provided by a commercial source. Both control and experimental feeds were commercially formulated and pelletized.
Results showed no significant differences among diets in all trials.
Information: John Cooksey, World Aquaculture Conference Management, P.O. Box 2302, Valley Center, CA 92082 USA (phone 760-751-5005, fax 760-751-5003, email firstname.lastname@example.org, webpage www.was.org).
Source: World Aquaculture Society. The CD of the Aqua 2007 Abstracts (San Antonio, Texas, USA, February/March 2007). Development of Field Methodology for Evaluating Chemoattractants and Feed Stimulants in Commercial Feeds for the Pacific White Shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei). Rodrigo V. Almeida (email@example.com), Addison L. Lawrence, Joe M. Fox, Dagoberto R. Sánchez and other authors (Texas Agricultural Experimental Station, Texas A&M University, Port Aransas, TX 78373 USA).
Abstract: In commercial shrimp hatcheries, concentrators are used to harvest and rinse Artemia nauplii, a prized feed for postlarval shrimp. Traditional concentration devices, like plankton screen bags and the welded-wedge screen concentrator, all have clogging problems that limit the flow rate and increase the risk of damage to the nauplii. Now, a novel, self-cleaning, rotating drum, nauplii concentrator has been developed. The rotation of the drum creates a continuous water flow across the filtering screen that washes the nauplii off the screen without harming them--and cleans the screen in the process.
At a rotation speed of 40 rpm, the concentrator processed 200 liters of nauplii liquid from an initial concentration of 200 nauplii per milliliter to a final concentration of 13,500 nauplii per milliliter in less than 9 minutes with a survival rate of more than 99%.
The filtration rate per unit screen area of the rotating drum concentrator is more than twice that of the welded-wedge screen concentrator and about eight times that of the plankton screen bag. Compared with those devices, the rotating drum concentrator has the advantages of a faster and more stable filtration rate, higher final nauplii concentration, no detectable leakage, and fully automatic operations that could be programmed to suit varying hatchery requirements. The rotating drum concentrator saves time and labor, ensures the safety of the nauplii, and provides the flexibility of unmanned operations and precision control for the automatic production of Artemia nauplii in hatcheries.
Source: Electronical Larviculture Newsletter. Development of a Self-Cleaning Rotating Drum Artemia Nauplii Concentrator. Yuan-Nan Chu (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Yu-Heng Wu (Department of Bio-Industrial Mechatronics Engineering, National Taiwan University, No. 1, Section 4, Roosevelt Road, Taipei 10660, Taiwan, ROC). Issue Number 252, October 15, 2006.
First Organic Shrimp Farm
Thai seafood products made a big impression at the recent "European Seafood Exposition 2007" in Belgium (April 2007). Fifteen Thai firms showcased products ranging from raw seafood to semifinished and processed products. Exhibition organizer Mary Larkin pointed out that "sustainability, convenience and healthiness" were the current trends in the European seafood market. A number of Thai exporters have invested in research and development aimed at satisfying the three trends. One is Surerath Farms, the first organic shrimp farm in Thailand, which supplies Yuu'n Mee Fine Foods Vertriebs in Austria.
Professor Patrick Sorgeloos, the dean of bioscience engineering at Belgium's University of Ghent, said he was very much impressed with the standard of Thai seafood, making it possible for the country to promote its products in the international markets with pride.
Source: The Nation. SPECIAL/Europeans savour Thai seafood at Brussels exhibition (http://nationmultimedia.com/2007/05/07/business/business_30033544.php). Paveena Sutthisripok. May 5, 2007.
Louisiana--Finds Whitespot in Freshwater Crawfish Pond
On May 11, 2007, Bob Odom, Louisiana's Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry, announced that the whitespot virus has been confirmed in a crawfish pond in St. Martin Parish by the USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.
The pond was quarantined in late April after Department of Agriculture and Forestry animal health officials and aquaculture specialists from the LSU AgCenter suspected that whitespot was causing crawfish in the pond to die.
Odom said, "We are quarantining the pond to prevent the spread of the disease to other ponds and wild crustacean populations. ...We will be working in the coming days to find out how the disease got here and testing neighboring ponds for infection," Odom said.
This first confirmed case of whitespot was detected when a crawfish producer in Arnaudville noticed a die off in his pond and notified an AgCenter aquaculture specialist who took samples from the pond. The samples were tested by LSU and also Texas A&M University. The USDA's lab confirmed the samples were positive for whitespot. Similar occurrences were noticed in some Vermilion Parish ponds and additional samples have been sent to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory for testing.
Source: Seafood.com (an online, subscription-based, fisheries news service). White Spot disease confirmed in Louisiana crawfish pond. Editor and Publisher, John Sackton (phone 781-861-1441, email email@example.com). May 11, 2007.
Louisiana--Bans Chinese Shrimp
On May 4, 2007, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry halted sales of all Chinese seafood. The state now requires that all seafood products be tested for fluoroquinolones, a group of antibiotics that the Food and Drug Administration prohibited for use in food animals in 1997.
Louisiana has a zero-tolerance policy for fluoroquinolones, meaning any amount found in food is deemed illegal.
Louisiana is the third state in the past two weeks to ban sales of Chinese seafood. Alabama and Mississippi halted sales of Chinese catfish after detecting traces of fluoroquinolones, ranging from 0.32 parts per billion to more than 10 ppb, in fish samples they collected from warehouses and retail outlets.
Sources: 1. Seafood Currents (an online newsletter from Seafood Business, www.seafoodbusiness.com). Louisiana halts Chinese seafood sales (http://divcom-seafood.informz.net/admin31/content/template.asp?sid=2506&ptid=133&brandid=3138&uid=752859429&mi=131851). May 7, 2007.
At a University of Maryland laboratory amid the tourist attractions of Baltimore's Inner Harbor, two Israeli-born scientists are unlocking the mysteries of the Chesapeake Bay blue crab.
Over the past five years, Yonathan Zohar and Odi Zmora have spent most of their waking hours poring over tanks filled with crabs and their tiny offspring. They feed the larval crabs algae tailored to each life stage. They control the water temperature, light and salinity and document the crabs' every move as they shed their shells, mate and reproduce.
Once the young crabs are strong enough, the scientists pack them on boats and release them in secluded coves near the Chesapeake Bay.
Raising blue crabs in a hatchery is difficult because they pass through nine larval stages in three weeks, and each stage requires a precise temperature and food. And crabs are cannibalistic. The crabs with hard shells eat the newly molted crabs with soft shells.
The research has shown that crabs grow from larvae to mature adults in about five months, far faster than previously thought. It also revealed that though crabs mate only once, females store the sperm and produce multiple batches of fertile eggs.
The Japanese have been raising the swimming crab for decades. But that species has only four larval stages. The Japanese have been largely interested in developing a put-and-take fishery, not in doing research.
Source: Seafood.com (an online, subscription-based, fisheries news service). Maryland crab hatchery doing breakthrough research (Rona Kobell, the Baltimore Sun). Ken Coons (phone 781-861-1441, email firstname.lastname@example.org). Editor and Publisher, John Sackton (phone 781-861-1441, email email@example.com). May 8, 2007.
Aqua Bounty Technologies, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on enhancing productivity in the aquaculture market, says its "Shrimp IMS", an immunostimulant that protects shrimp from disease, has received FDA-issued Certificates of Exportability for IMS, which is already approved for commercial use in Mexico and Ecuador. In addition, fifteen field trials are underway and nearing completion in five countries to demonstrate the efficacy and favorable cost-benefit performance of IMS under local conditions. The product is designed to increase the immune response in shrimp by stimulating production of hemocytes that resist infection.
Source: Seafood.com (an online, subscription-based, fisheries news service). Aqua Bounty appoints two new executives. Ken Coons (phone 781-861-1441, email firstname.lastname@example.org). Editor and Publisher, John Sackton (phone 781-861-1441, email email@example.com). May 4, 2007.
Massachusetts--Replikins Predict Taura Outbreaks
FluForecast, a software program developed by Replikins, Ltd., provides advanced warnings of influenza outbreaks and measures quantitatively the concentration of a new class of virus peptides called replikins, shown to be related to rapid replication and epidemics. FluForecast has been used to identify, or isolate "in silico", the area of the virus genome which contains the highest concentration of replikins, an area called the Replikin Peak Gene.
The hypothesis that host mortality rate can be predicted by replikin counts has now been tested and confirmed in the laboratory. For each of four strains of Taura syndrome virus of shrimp, the Replikin Count was determined and compared by FluForecast. Separately, the laboratory determined blind, that is without knowledge of the order of virulence predicted by replikin analysis, the comparative actual mortality rates in shrimp achieved by each of the four virus strains. In the laboratory, these four strains were found to have increasing mortality rates in the following order: Venezuela, Hawaii, Thailand and Belize. Point-to-point linear statistically significant correlation was found between the replikin count and the mortality rate of each of the four strains.
Information: John McKenney, Replikins, LLC., 38 the Fenway, Boston, MA 02215 USA (phone 617-536-0220, fax 617-536-0657, email firstname.lastname@example.org, webpage http://www.Replikins.com).
Source: PR Newswire. FluForecast(R) Trial in 2006 Predicted High Human H5N1 Mortality (http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/05-09-2007/0004584450&EDATE=). May 9, 2007.
Washington, D.C., Organic Standards for Farmed Shrimp--When?
What is the approximate timing for the issuance of organic standards for farmed shrimp in the USA? During the first round of public comment on the standards, various industry, consumer, scientific and environmental groups submitted information and testimony to the National Organic Standards Board. The most important of these groups was the National Fisheries Institute's (a leading trade association for the seafood industry) Organic Seafood Committee. The best estimate is that provisional standards will go out for a second round of public comment in 2008 and that the final standards will be ready by the end of 2008--and go into effect in 2009!
But--the second round of public comment could change everything, and the final standards may be issued in piecemeal fashion, species-by-species, which could mean a delay for some species.
Source: Fish Farming International (http://www.fishfarminginternational.com). Editor, Kenny McCaffrey (email@example.com). US programme under way for organic farmed aquatic foods. Charles F. Woodhouse (www.woodhouselaw.com). Volume 34, Number 4, Page 9, April 2007.
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