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Dennis Zensen

Inspired the Development of Shrimp Farming
in the Western Hemisphere


On December 12, 2007, I interviewed Dennis Zensen, the man charged with building and recruiting personnel for Ralston Purina’s Crystal River, Florida, shrimp research facility in 1968.  Zensen’s management style led to many shrimp farming discoveries in maturation, breeding, larval rearing and growout.  The Crystal River facility and the personnel trained there went on to make a major contribution to the development of shrimp farming in the Western Hemisphere.


Shrimp News: Tell me a little about your education.


Dennis Zensen: I was in the seminary for six years, planning to become a priest, when my parents ran into some problems, and I had to quit school.  I went to work for the Van Camp Seafood Company, the people that do “Chicken of the Sea Tuna”, worked my way up the ladder and wound up with a pretty good job.  Then Ralston Purina acquired Van Camp, and I went to work for Purina, but didn’t like my first job there.  Hal Dean, the CEO of Purina, heard that I was thinking about quitting and summoned me to Purina’s headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri, for a little talk.  Hal had set up a new entity within the company called New Venture Management.  I chatted with him and the man that was going to head up the new venture project and they offered me a job that I just could not refuse.  I was hired to start new businesses for Purina.


Shrimp News: How did you get involved in shrimp farming?


Dennis Zensen: Since Purina was in the feed business, we were getting a lot of inquires from around the world from people who wanted to know what and how to feed shrimp.  So I talked to some of Ralston Purina’s people who knew a whole lot about making trout and catfish feeds and they thought we could make shrimp feeds.  Originally, we just wanted to make feeds that we could sell to others, but then we decided to get into shrimp farming.  When we started the new shrimp project, I recruited Purina’s Dr. William MacGrath to develop shrimp feeds.  Many years later, Bill left Purina and managed a huge shrimp farm in Honduras.


Shrimp News: Who started the Ralston Purina project in Crystal River, Florida?


Dennis Zensen: That was my baby.  Environmentalists in Florida were jumping all over Florida Power for discharging warm water into the ocean.  I had some long talks with the CEO of Florida Power about using the warm water effluent to grow shrimp, telling him that the water would cool down in the shrimp ponds and could then be released into the ocean at ambient temperatures, which would dispatch all his environmental problems.  He bought that concept, and we signed a joint venture contract to study shrimp farming in thermal effluent.  We built a research facility on their land and some huge ponds, but never were able to produce enough seedstock for full-scale production.


Shrimp News: How much money did you spend on the Crystal River shrimp research facility?


Dennis Zensen: I don’t remember the exact numbers, maybe around two or three million dollars.


Shrimp News: Whom did you hire to run the shrimp facility?


Dennis Zensen: Bill More, and Yoshi Hirono to design and construct a shrimp hatchery that would take advantage of Florida Power’s thermal effluent.  That hatchery went on to become Purina’s famed Crystal River Research Center, an incubator for some of the first shrimp farmers in the Western Hemisphere.  We started doing experiments to see if we could get shrimp to reproduce in captivity, hoping to produce larvae and postlarvae for stocking the warm water ponds.  We chartered shrimp trawlers to capture wild broodstock, the local white shrimp (Penaeus setiferus).  We also had a lot of shrimp nauplii shipped up from Brazil, and we imported some tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) from Asia.


Hiring big trawlers to go out and catch gravid shrimp cost us a fortune.  On some trips, we only got ten or twenty gravid females, which cost us about a thousand dollars an animal.  We really needed to find a way to get them to breed in captivity.  We had divers go out at night with lights to see if they could observe their breeding behavior, a good idea, but it didn’t work.  We tried anything and everything to get them to breed, including a multitude of feeds and different water temperatures and salinities, but nothing seemed to turn them on.  Then one morning, one of the technicians noticed that some of the females had mated.  What happened?  We didn’t feed them any differently.  We didn’t change the water.  We didn’t know what happened, but, by accident, we discovered that the lights had been turned on or off in a particular sequence.  When we repeated the sequence, I don’t remember what it was, we got them to breed again.  And it worked every time after that, so we were no longer dependent on gravid females captured at sea.


Shrimp News: I’ve interviewed several of Crystal River’s first employees.  They say you gave them the time, tools and money to answer the basic question of how to breed and raise shrimp.  Is that right?


Dennis Zensen: Yes, that’s how I worked it.  When I arrived at Purina, I was really lucky because I got to spend a lot of time with Hal Dean, Purina’s chairman and chief executive officer.  He gave me a lot of advice on how to succeed in business.  I’ll never forget one thing that he said: “The secret is to coach, guide and counsel good people.”  That’s what I did with the crew at Crystal River.  I told them want we wanted to achieve, built them a research facility and let them figure it out, without bullying them or telling them how or what to do.  The coach, guide and counsel philosophy worked, and they worked like demons to answer the basic questions about shrimp farming—and succeeded!


Shrimp News: Were you successful in growing shrimp in the warm water effluent at the power plant?


Dennis Zensen: Not really.  We were never able to produce enough postlarvae to fill the growout ponds.  We were probably a year away from having enough seedstock when Florida Power began to lose interest in the project.  The pressure from the environmentalists lessened, and they were not as interested in having a Purina project on their land.  So we started looking for sites in South America, specifically Panama.  We became very friendly with the president of Panama, Demetrio Lakas Bahas, who had graduated from Texas Tech University in 1963.  He cleared the way for us so that we could get whatever we wanted, and what we wanted was several thousand acres of land on the border of Panama and Colombia, on the Atlantic side.  Our contact in the Panamanian Government was none other than the infamous Colonel Manuel Noriega.  I got to know Noriega, who spoke English, because he flew me around in his plane when we were looking for sites.


Shrimp News: Did you think Noriega would eventually become the military dictator of the country?


Dennis Zensen: No, there was no sign of that, but President Lakas was very nervous about him and was very careful about what he said about him.  They didn’t like each other.  I never guessed that Noriega would become the dictator of the country.  He just didn’t seem like that kind of a person.


We did get a few thousand acres near the Colombian border, and it was ours to use at almost no expense, in perpetuity, as long as the project was successful and the government got its royalty on what came out of the ponds, but we never developed it.  It was ideal for what we wanted to do.  It had access to the Gulf of Mexico and would have been very inexpensive to develop into a big shrimp farm.  The Colombian government was also very interested in helping us develop the site.  Then, Purina went through a big shakeout.  My boss was terminated; I was terminated and other people in the new venture wing were terminated—and all the projects that were under way just stopped, including the shrimp project.  Later, new management came in and rescued some of the projects, including the shrimp project.


Shrimp News: What did you do after you left Ralston Purina?


Dennis Zensen: I started Quincy Farms, a mushroom farm just north of Tallahassee, Florida.  The farm made a lot of money and eventually went public.  We became one of the largest mushroom growers in the United States, but then I decided not to expand into mushroom farming and took the company into the business of selling the mushroom spawn, or seed.  I had a lot of good contacts in the insurance industry, and on Wall Street and was able to raise about 20 million dollars to get a company, Sylvan, Inc., started.  Its shares were traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange for a while, but later, after a new round of financing and an ownership change, the company returned to private ownership.  Today, we have ten spawn plants scattered around the world.  I’m retired now, but still on the board of directors and the largest single stockholder.  I’m also on the boards of all the Sylvan companies around the world.


Information: Dennis Zensen (phone 850-894-5719, email denzen@sylvaninc.com, webpage http://www.sylvaninc.com).


Source: Dennis Zensen.  Telephone Interview by Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International.  December 12, 2007.


Country Reports



Shrimp Prices Increase as Result of Import Restrictions


Shrimp importers say the rejection of Asian shrimp under tough new disease testing rules will cause the price of both Australian and imported shrimp to rise.


Since October 2007, Australia has rejected 300 tons (22 containers) of Asian shrimp.  From the time the new rules were instigated through November 2007, only seven containers of shrimp have been allowed into the country.


Already, one seafood distributor has raised wholesale prices for imported medium shrimp by 30-40 percent, from $18.90 a kilogram to $25.90 a kilogram.  Consequently, some restaurants have begun buying smaller shrimp sizes.


The tough new rules have angered the restaurant industry, seafood importers and distributors, who fear the financial cost in the next year will top $400 million.


Chairman of the Australian Seafood Importers Association Harry Peters says budget and mid-level restaurants will have to charge more for seafood dishes.  “The only alternative will be higher-priced Australian shrimp,” Peters said.  “Your five-star...restaurants will be okay because they can pay the high prices, and the people who eat there are happy to pay.”


The tough new quarantine rules on raw imported shrimp were introduced by Biosecurity Australia and the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service to guard against the introduction of four deadly viruses prevalent on Asian shrimp farms that might attack Australia’s farmed and fished shrimp.


The seafood importers association and hospitality industry will campaign to have the new import regulations changed, arguing that they are excessive and that the science behind them is questionable.


Source: The Advertiser.  Prawn prices go up as 300 tons sent back (http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,23014962-5006301,00.html).  Tony Love.  January 6, 2008.



Dams for Shrimp Farms Flood Row Crops


Since 2001, some villagers in the Satkhira District of southwest Bangladesh have been unable to grow crops because 2,000 acres of their traditional cropland have been flooded, or because the soil is so wet that nothing will grow in it.  What happen?  Shrimp farmers dammed the canals that normally drain the land.  Local people have demanded demolition of the dams and re-excavation of the canals to restore normal water flow.  Local officials say the dams will be demolished.


Source: The Daily Star.  Woes created by man-made flood (http://www.thedailystar.net/story.php?nid=17835).  January 5, 2008.


Sir Barry Bowen


Barry Bowen, owner of Belize Aquaculture, perhaps the most advanced shrimp farm in the world, has been designated for knighthood by Queen Elizabeth, part of her New Year’s honors that were announced in the London Gazette (United Kingdom) on December 28, 2007.  His knighthood was conferred as direct recognition of his contribution to industry and commerce in Belize.


Bowen’s name will go down in the history of shrimp farming as a great visionary who put his own money on the line to build, in 1997, the first commercial-scale, bio-floc shrimp farm.


Sources: 1. 7newsBelize.com.  Barry Bowen Knighted (http://www.7newsbelize.com/archive/12310705.html).  December 31, 2007.  2. Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International, January 15, 2008.



Where in the World is Juan Ramiro Villegas?


Russ Allen (shrimpone@aol.com): Can someone in Colombia help me locate Juan Ramiro Villegas?  He worked in shrimp farming in Ecuador in the late 1970s and early 1980s, then a bit in Colombia.


Source: The Shrimp List (a mailing list for shrimp farmers, “shrimp-subscribe@yahoogroups.com”).  Subject: [shrimp] ?????.  January 5, 2008.


Shrimp Exports Reach Almost $600 Million in 2007


Aquaculture, mostly tilapia and shrimp farming, has become one of the most dynamic sectors of the Ecuadorian economy.  In 2007, aquaculture export sales will be close to $700 million.


Since 2002, shrimp exports have increased from $252 million to almost $600 million, according to Ecuador’s Central Bank and shrimp farmers.  The United States imports forty-five percent of Ecuador’s shrimp production.


Rodrigo Laniado, president of Galapagos National Society (SONGA, shrimp farms and processing plants), says that shrimp exports have been growing at the rate of three percent a year, but he doesn’t think that growth rate will continue because production costs have increased by 10 to 15 percent while shrimp prices have remained stable.  He also says that many farmers prefer to sell their product in the European Union because prices there are about five percent higher than in the USA.


Source: Seafood.com (an online, subscription-based, fisheries news service).  Ecuador records banner shrimp year/Dollar weakness leading to turn away from US in 2008 (Translated by Angel Rubio Canas).  Editor and Publisher, John Sackton (phone 781-861-1441, email jsackton@seafood.com).  January 2, 2008.


Promarisco Renews Sustaining Membership in GAA


Promarisco, S.A., a Global Aquaculture Alliance founding member, has renewed its sustaining membership in GAA.  Promarisco is an integrated supplier of quality, value-added shrimp products.  The company supports mangrove conservation and formed the Jambeli Foundation to protect biodiversity.


Information: Dr. George Chamberlain, Global Aquaculture Alliance, 5661 Telegraph Road, Suite 3A, Saint Louis, MO 63129 USA (phone 314-293-5500, fax 314-293-5525, email georgec@integra.prserv.net, webpage http://www.gaalliance.org).


Source: The Global Aquaculture Advocate (http://www.gaalliance.org).  Editor, Darryl Jory (dejry2525@aol.com).  GAA Membership News/Additional Businesses Become Corporate Members.  Volume 10, Issue 6, Page 85, November/December 2007.



CPF to Build Third Feed Mill


Charoen Pokphand Foods, the huge Thailand-based shrimp farming company (feeds, hatcheries, farms and processing plants), has decided to build a third feed mill in India at a cost of $10 million.  It will be built on the west coast of India in 2008 and start operating in early 2009, with a capacity of 80,000 tons of shrimp feed a year, putting total annual feed output from CP in India at 250,000 tons!


Pinij Kungvankij, senior vice-president for foreign aquaculture business development with CPF, said that the CP Group started surveying India’s shrimp industry in 1992 after India opened its doors to foreign investment.  It first tested the market by exporting shrimp feed from Thailand for three years before establishing the first feed mill, CP Aquaculture India (Private) Limited, in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, in 1995 (72% owned by CPF and 28% by the CP Group).  In past years, it has produced up to 90,000 tons of shrimp feed a year.  A second feed mill, Charoen Pokphand (India) Private Limited, was founded in 2004 in Vishakapatanam, Andhra Pradesh.  It added another 80,000 tons of feed to the group’s production capacity and brought the total CP investment in the country to $17 million.


Pong Visedpaitoon, chief operating officer of CPF, said that the new mill in India is part of the group’s $169 million overseas investment budget for 2008, which also includes new projects in Russia, Malaysia and the Philippines for livestock and aquatic feeds.


Pong said CPF was also upbeat about the aquaculture business in the Philippines, where it built a feed mill in 2003 that sells about 5,000 tons of shrimp feed a year.  In 2008, production at that plant is expected to rise to 10,000 tons.  According to Pong, CPF will also build a $10 million, shrimp feed plant on the Philippine island of Cebu in 2008.


Source: Bangkok Post.  Agribusiness/New Investment, Commodities and Export Markets.  CPF to build a third feed mill in India/Projects planned in Russia and Malaysia.  Walailak Keeratipipatpong.  January 9, 2008.


Isamu Kuroiwa Arrested in Ponzi Scheme


On December 21, 2007, police arrested Isamu Kuroiwa, 58, chairman of World Ocean Farm.  Kuroiwa heads a Tokyo-based investment company suspected of fraud in connection with a shrimp farming Ponzi scheme in the Philippines.


Source: Breitbart.com.  Investment firm chief involved in shrimp-farming scandal held (http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D8TUTJK00&show_article=1).  January 4, 2008.



Shrimp Markets


Imports of large white shrimp (Penaeus vannamei) are causing prices for the giant tiger shrimp (P. monodon), the dominant species in Japanese markets, to drop.


Japan has to compete with countries in North America and Europe, as well as the newly emerging economies in Russia and Eastern Europe, for its seafood imports.  It is being outbid in those markets and Japanese seafood imports are dropping.


Although it has improved slightly in recent months, the Japanese currency has been on a protracted weakening trend, so importers now get less for their money than they used to.


Source: Seafood.com (an online, subscription-based, fisheries news service).  Outlook for 2008 prices for major seafood commodities from Japan.  Editor and Publisher, John Sackton (phone 781-861-1441, email jsackton@seafood.com).  January 8, 2008.


Middle East/Africa

Job—Shrimp Farm Manager


Global Aqua Biotech (GAB)—“Sustainable Eco-Friendly Shrimp Farming”— has a position open for a shrimp farm manager in the Middle East and Africa.


Salary: Commensurate with international standards and based on experience.


Closing Date: Tuesday, February 5, 2008.


Qualifications: Graduate in Aquaculture (any nationality).  Minimum of five years of field experience in shrimp farm management and operation.  Minimum of two to three years of managerial experience with Penaeus monodon or P. indicus.  Fluent in English, with knowledge of Arabic an advantage.  Computer skills required.


Information: Secretary, Global Aqua Biotech (emails gabiotech@gmail.com and gabiotech@yahoo.com).


Source: AquaNic (The Aquaculture Network Information Center, a gateway to the world’s electronic aquaculture resources, http://aquanic.org/index.htm).  Jobs Directory (http://www.aquanic.org/Text/job_serv.htm) In cooperation with the WAS Employment Service.  Search jobs (http://aquanic.org/jobs/search.asp).  Shrimp Farm Manager (http://aquanic.org/jobs/jobinfo.asp?jobid=2685).  Posted, January 4, 2008.



Fishery Center Opens Doors to Investors


The aquaculture department of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) in Iloilo Province has opened its doors to businessmen who want to invest in aquaculture by offering them a number of packages that help them get started.


SEAFDEC said private investors could choose among eight hatchery/nursery packages and eight growout packages.  In general, the investments range from as little as $740 for a catfish growout operation to $49,000 for a freshwater prawn hatchery, with returns estimated at 50-300 percent a year.


Packages are available for the following species: abalone, mud crab, grouper, milkfish, sea bass, snapper, tiger shrimp, freshwater prawns, catfish, tilapia and bighead carp.


SEAFDEC said aquaculture investors only need to do the business planning and marketing.  SEAFDEC will provide help with site selection, technical support and project evaluation.


SEAFDEC is a regional treaty organization established in 1967 to promote fisheries development in the Philippines, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.


The aquaculture department was established in 1973 to conduct research, develop technologies, disseminate information and train people in the sustainable farming of fishes, crustaceans, mollusks and seaweeds.


Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer.  Fisheries center opens door to investors (http://business.inquirer.net/money/breakingnews/view/20080104-110294/Fisheries_center_opens_door_to_investors).  January 4, 2008.


Saudi Arabia

National Prawn Company Becomes GAA Governing Member


National Prawn Company, the world’s largest fully integrated desert coastal shrimp farm, is a new governing member of the Global Aquaculture Alliance.  National Prawn began shrimp farming research two decades ago and has now proven the viability of farming shrimp on the Red Sea.  In 2006, phase one of its farm was completed with the construction of 2,800 hectares of shrimp ponds.


Information: Dr. George Chamberlain, Global Aquaculture Alliance, 5661 Telegraph Road, Suite 3A, Saint Louis, MO 63129 USA (phone 314-293-5500, fax 314-293-5525, email georgec@integra.prserv.net, webpage http://www.gaalliance.org).


Source: The Global Aquaculture Advocate (http://www.gaalliance.org).  Editor, Darryl Jory (dejry2525@aol.com).  GAA Membership News/Additional Businesses Become Corporate Members.  Volume 10, Issue 6, Page 85, November/December 2007.



Big Head Syndrome


Bio Solutions International, a supplier of probiotics and neutraceuticals, publishes an online newsletter, Bio News, in PDF format that reports on its products and services and aquaculture developments in Southeast Asia.  The current issue discusses a new shrimp disease in Thailand called “water sac syndrome”, or “big head syndrome”, which, in some cases, causes the width of a shrimp’s head to nearly double.


First seen in mid-2006, water sac syndrome (left, normal shrimp on the right) showed up on 30% of Thai shrimp farms by mid-2007.  Deformities on shrimp appear during the second month of growout and just before harvest.  The effect on growth varies.  Some shrimp grow normally with “water sacs” on their heads, while others stop growing and die.  More than 70% of the affected shrimp can’t be sold, or sell at a very low price.


The most probable cause of this syndrome is chronic toxicity from melamine, which is prohibited in Thai shrimp feeds.  The melamine, added to feeds to make the protein content appear higher than it actually is, may have come into Thailand with feed ingredients from China.


Even though there are no official reports or research on the toxicity of melamine to shrimp, ingredient suppliers and shrimp feed companies in Thailand must now certify that there is no melamine in their products.


Information: Amir Khalil, Bio Solutions International Co., Ltd., 134/4 Moo 5, Bangkadi Industrial Park, Tiwanon Road, T. Bangkadi, A. Muang, Pathumthani, Thailand (phone 66-2501-2045, fax 66-2501-2047, email amir@biohero.com, webpage http://www.biohero.com/index.php?fname=m_index.html&pname=general).


Source: Bio News/The International Aquaculture News.  Bio News Unit.  Bio Solution International Co.  Water Sac Syndrome “Big head” shrimp—the experience and lesson.  Volume 2, Issue 1, January 2008.

United States

Arizona—Desert Sweet Shrimp


The Desert Sweet Shrimp Farm near Gila Bend harvests nearly 300,000 pounds of shrimp a year and offers a wide variety of products.  Easy-peel shrimp at $8 a pound is its most popular product.


Information: Desert Sweet Shrimp are available at www.desertsweetshrimp.com.  The farm also accepts phone orders at 623-393-0136.


Source: The Arizona Republic.  Eat, drink and buy local (http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/food/articles/0102Azgrown0102.html).  Susan Felt and Karen Fernau.  January 2, 2008.


United States

Florida—Shrimp Farming Sessions at the WAS Meeting in Orlando, Florida

Scheduled for February 10-12, 2008, "Aquaculture 2008" in Orlando will have three days of shrimp farming sessions.  For the complete shrimp program and registration information, click the above link.

Source: Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International, January 15, 2008.


United States

Florida—Shrimp Fishermen Struggle to Survive


The commercial shrimp fishing industry was born in Fernandina Beach, Florida, more than 100 years ago.  Today, that industry is slowly fading away.  According to Kevin McCarthy, owner of Amelia River Cruises and Charters, there are only about a dozen shrimp boats left, and the shrimpers’ unique lifestyle is becoming more difficult to sustain by the day.  New downtown development plans are also squeezing out commercial shrimp docks.


McCarthy has extensive knowledge of the industry and gives talks on the subject.  He says Fernandina Beach shrimpers are “starving to death”.  He says, “They won’t be around much longer.  They won’t survive.”


Commercial shrimp fishermen face two major problems: rising imports of inexpensive, farmed-raised shrimp from around the world and the rising cost of fuel.  Pinched between these two factors, even old-fashioned shrimp boat captains have a hard time making ends meet.  McCarthy said many local shrimpers are surviving by carrying peddlers’ licenses so they can sell their product directly to the public rather than going through supermarkets or restaurants.


Source: News Leader.  Shrimpers struggle to survive—A way of life is passing (http://www.fbnewsleader.com/articles/2007/12/31/news/00newsshrimpers.txt).  Angela Daughtry (adaughtry@fbnewsleader.com).  December 31, 2007.


United States

Washington DC—Dumping Update


The first review of the dumping regulations on shrimp imported into the United States has resulted in lowered tariffs for many countries.


The new rates for Brazil ranges from 4.62 to 67.80%, for China from 0.44 to 112.81%, for India from 4.03 to 82.3%, for Thailand from 2.58 to 57.64%, and for Vietnam from 0 to 25.76%.


In some cases, the declines were dramatic.  Duties for Yelin Enterprises in China, for example, dropped from 82.27% to zero, for Allied Pacific from 80.19 to 53.68%, for Fish One from 4.57% to zero, for Grobest (a new shipper) from 25.76% to zero, and for Falcon Marine Exports, Ltd., from 10.17 to 4.39%.  As a result of these declines, the so-called “all others” rate also declined for exporters in Brazil, India and Thailand.


Two groups of exporters, however, did not benefit from the first review.  Those that failed to fully answer the Department of Commerce questions were punished with high “adverse facts available” tariffs that will likely shut them out of the U.S. market.  The other group was the more than 100 exporters that paid USA producers in 2006 not to be reviewed.  These exporters will continue to be subject to the duty levels announced in the original orders.


In the meantime, the second dumping review is proceeding.  By the time it concludes in September 2008, the Department of Commerce may abandon its controversial use of zeroing, a statistical procedure that exaggerates the dumping percentages.  The World Trade Organization has already condemned the use of zeroing in other review investigations, and governments are pressing legal challenges to encourage the United States to abandon the practice in all cases.  It’s possible, therefore, that USA shrimp tariffs will further decline when the results of the second review are published.


Source: The Global Aquaculture Advocate (http://www.gaalliance.org).  Editor, Darryl Jory (dejry2525@aol.com).  Antidumping/U.S. Antidumping Update/First Reviews Completed, Many Duties Fall.  Richard E. Gutting, Jr. (Redmon, Peyton and Braswell LLP, 510 King Street Alexandria, Virginia 22314 USA, email reguttingrpb-law.com).  Volume 10, Issue 6, Page 34, November/December 2007.


United States

Washington, DC—Drugs in Development for NHP


The Minor Use and Minor Species (MUMS) Animal Health Act, which became law in 2004, encourages the development of new drugs for fish, shrimp, sheep and goats.  Drugs in development under the MUMS designation target conditions like necrotizing hepatopancreatitis in shrimp.


In 2007, the Food and Drug Administration issued final rules describing procedures for designating a product as a MUMS drug.  Incentives for MUMS drugs include seven years of exclusive marketing rights, as well as eligibility for grants.


“MUMS changes the law for limited-use drugs in the hope that sponsors will be more willing and able to do the work needed to bring safe and effective drugs to the market,” said Dr. Bernadette Dunham, director of Minor Use and Minor Species Animal Drug Development at the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine.  “The MUMS legislation is just one more improvement in the drug availability picture called for by the Animal Drug Availability Act.”


Dr. Dunham said the Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act is another law that improved the availability of drugs for animals by allowing veterinarians to prescribe extra-label uses of animal and human drugs.  Nevertheless, Dr. Dunham said, “It is always better to have a drug approved for the species you are treating.”


Most MUMS drugs to date have targeted aquatic animals, partly because the aquaculture industry has a national coordinator for new animal drug applications.


In addition, the MUMS Act provides for Congress to appropriate funding for grants to companies that would defray the costs of safety and effectiveness testing for MUMS drugs; however, FDA cannot seek appropriations for these grants until fiscal year 2009.


Source: javmaNews.  More animal drugs for minor uses, minor species (http://www.avma.org/onlnews/javma/jan08/080115l.asp). Katie Burns.  January 15, 2008.


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