Triploid Tiger Shrimp
Australia Continues Work on Sterile, All-Female Penaeus monodon
Most organisms are normally diploid, meaning they have two sets of chromosomes, one set from each parent. Triploid shrimp have an extra set of maternal chromosomes, and they are all-female and sterile, traits that benefit the farmer and hatcheryman. Since female shrimp grow to a larger size than males, the farmer gets better production per hectare from all-female stocks. The hatcheryman benefits from the sterile stocks because they prevent genetic thieves from stealing his prize stock. Researchers have learned to induce triploidy in shrimp by treating their eggs with various regimes shortly after spawning.
Researchers in Australia have domesticated several strains of superior giant tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) and learned how to produce triploid postlarvae in the lab. Now they are attempting to commercialize the process of producing triploids so that they can protect their superior stocks from genetic poachers.
Producing sufficient quantities of triploid black tiger shrimp seedstock for stocking farms is one of the first challenges that needs to be overcome before the triploid process can be commercialized. Then, the growth and survival performance of triploids in commercial rearing systems will be compared with results from experimental rearing systems.
Experimental induction techniques are typically performed on subsets of spawns to allow comparisons to be made between different treatment and control protocols. As a result, embryo collection prior to induction through the application of a shock agent like hot seawater is typically done by siphoning and collecting small quantities of embryos on mesh screens. To produce sufficient numbers of triploids for commercial production, however, several spawns must be shocked into triploidy within a 24-hour time frame. To achieve this, a method must be developed to collect entire spawns for triploid induction.
Shrimp embryos are extremely fragile immediately after spawning and, if siphoned, handled or screened within the first six minutes after release, they are easily damaged. Triploidy induction requires that the shock agent be applied to the embryos approximately eight minutes after release. This leaves only a two-minute window to collect an entire spawn, typically from 40 liters or more of seawater.
Siphoning at rates greater than 20 liters a minute can damage shrimp embryos due to the water volume and pressure created, resulting in significant reductions in hatch rate and larval quality. Similarly, the addition of suitable volumes of heated seawater at a rate that results in the desired shock temperature also causes significant embryo damage and poor larval quality. Designing a system to apply the shock of hot water within a suitable time frame without causing embryonic damage is thus a key element of this challenge.
Once methods for inducing triploidy in an entire spawn are developed, confirming the vigor of triploid larvae throughout the larval-rearing phase will be the next research priority. Laboratory observations have shown that high-quality broodstock are essential for inducing healthy triploid larvae.
Once performance in commercial larval rearing and ponds is demonstrated, the development of a fully automated induction process will be the next major step toward the commercialization of triploid shrimp.
Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) has already developed an automated spawning detection device (ASDD) that will provide the first key component of an integrated triploid induction system. The ASDD reliably detects spawns in less than a minute after they occur and often detects them as they are happening. It can sound an alarm or send a message to a phone or pager once a spawning is detected.
If triploid shrimp are demonstrated to be viable in commercial rearing systems, the ASDD could be used to stimulate a secondary system to automatically apply the hot seawater shock for triploid induction at a set time after spawning detection. The development of such a fully integrated automatic spawning detection and triploid induction system will require innovative engineering solutions catered to the biological fragility of the eggs.
Source: The Global Aquaculture Advocate. Editor, Darry Jory (firstname.lastname@example.org). Selective Breeding/Challenges to Commercializing Shrimp Triploidy. Melony J. Sellars, Ph.D. (CSIRO Food Futures Flagship, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, email email@example.com), Andrew T. Wood (CSIRO Food Futures Flagship, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, 233 Middle Street, Cleveland, Queensland 4163, Australia) and Brian Murphy (Gold Coast Marine Aquaculture Woongoolba, Queensland, Australia). Volume 12, Issue 3, Page 34, May/June 2009.
UOG Gets Big Grant from USDA
The University of Guam has received a $500,000 grant from the USA Department of Agriculture for tropical agriculture research. From those funds, Dr. Hui Gong, an aquaculture researcher, received $180,000 to continue her work on shrimp (Penaeus vannamei) genetics. Guam is an island in the western Pacific Ocean and an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States.
Source: GuamPDN.com. UOG Receives $500K in USDA grants for agricultural research. Bernice Santiago (Pacific Daily News). June 26, 2009.
Japan’s Maruha Nichiro Sells Shrimp Farm to Group from China
On June 22, 2009, Japan’s Maruha Nichiro Holdings, Inc., announced that it will be selling its Madagascar shrimp farming subsidiary, Societe Malgache de Pecherie, to a Chinese state-owned company on July 31, 2009. It will transfer its entire 68% share in the company, valued at $6.3 million, to the Chinese company. The farm grows giant tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon). In December 2008, it reported a $9.2 million loss on sales $4.7 million.
Source: Seafood.com (an online, subscription-based, fisheries news service). Maruha Nichiro selling Madagascar tiger shrimp subsidiary. Ken Coons (phone 1-781-861-1441, email firstname.lastname@example.org). Editor and Publisher, John Sackton (phone 1-781-861-1441, email email@example.com). June 30, 2009.
Farmers in Sonora Stock at Lower Densities this Year
So far in 2009, shrimp farmers in the state of Sonora have stocked 22,000 hectares of ponds, a little more than in 2008, but a smaller harvest is expected than in 2008 because farmers lowered stocking densities to avoid viral outbreaks this year.
Luis Humberto Olea Ruiz, president of the Sonora State Aquaculture Health Committee (COSAES), said production costs will be lower than last year and, if disease problems do not occur, farmers should make good profits in 2009.
So far, Sonora is disease free, but there has been an outbreak of whitespot in the bordering state of Sinaloa.
Tension over Shrimp Prices Escalates
Shrimp farmers in southern Thailand are ramping up their campaign against slumping shrimp prices by threatening the government with road blockades.
In March 2009, when 500 shrimp farmers blocked roads, the government agreed to purchase up to 10,000 metric tons of white shrimp (Penaeus vannamei).
Now farmers are demanding a price-intervention scheme to shore up prices, and they threaten to renew protests unless the government develops a long-term plan to address declining prices.
Kanchit Hemarak, who represents shrimp farmers in eight southern provinces, said something has to be done quickly or farmers will take action again.
This view was echoed by Ekapoj Yodpinit, president of the Surat Hani Shrimp Farmers Club, who is urging the government to come to a decision quickly before prices fall even further. “There are more than 200 containers of shrimp entering the market each day, far higher than the capacity of cold storage facilities,” he said. “This affects prices significantly.”
The government has proposed offering interest-free loans and allocated $4.1 million to cold-storage operators and exporters to buy shrimp at a set price. The government said this is less risky than a price-intervention scheme.
Source: SeafoodSource.com. Editor Steven Hedlund (firstname.lastname@example.org). Seafood News/Supply and Trade/Tension over Shrimp Prices Escalates. Neil Ray (contributing editor, reporting from Bangkok). June 29, 2009.
Indiana—Video, Freshwater Prawn Harvest
For a four-minute video of a freshwater prawn (Macrobrachium rosenbergii) harvest at the Connor Prawn Farm in Indiana, click on the link in the Source below. The video shows a “come out to the farm harvest” and includes short interviews with the people who arrived to purchase prawns and observe the harvest. In the video, Tim Connor, owner of the farm, talks about the life cycle of prawns and how they are farmed. Once the pond is drained, Connor lets kids get into the muck at the bottom of the pond and grab the last of the prawns.
Source: YouTube. Connor Shrimp Farm. June 26, 2009.
Louisiana—Distributors Mixing Imported Farmed Shrimp with Locally Caught Shrimp
Federal investigators have been looking into allegations that some shrimp processing plants along the Gulf Coast are mixing wild-caught, Gulf of Mexico shrimp with imported, farmed shrimp—and then marketing them as domestic shrimp.
With search warrants in hand, agents with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA, part of the Department of Commerce) law enforcement office and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries inspected the records of several shrimp processing plants in Gulf Coast states, said James Kejonen, a NOAA fisheries law enforcement agent.
During the week of June 20-24, 2009, the agents inspected the DoRan Seapak seafood processing plant north of Hammond. DoRan owner Randy Pearce said that he heard that five other plants had been searched before his. He said agents told him that he was not the target of an investigation. Pearce’s business repackages shrimp for other companies, and he said he was told that agents were seeking records about some of those companies.
Kejonen said the agents acted on tips and information they received about alleged mislabeling at the various plants. They took paperwork and shrimp products from the plants, he said.
Under the federal Lacey Act, it is illegal to falsely label any fish product that will be transported in interstate or foreign commerce.
Utah—The Decapod Tree of Life
Abstract: The order Decapoda represents a species-rich group of crustaceans. Numerous economically important and morphologically diverse members of this group have been studied extensively for many decades, in part to understand their phylogeny. There are several competing hypotheses concerning relationships among the major lineages of Decapoda. Laboratories predict a robust decapod phylogeny based on molecular and morphological data in an attempt to resolve relationships among major lineages. The order includes roughly 175 families and more than 15,000 described species (in existence and extinct). Interpretations are complicated by the estimated 437 million years since the origin of decapods, with all the major lineages likely established by 325 million years ago. Constructing a molecular phylogeny across such a timescale requires genetic markers with enough variation to infer relationships at and within the family level, but which are conservative enough to reflect deeper divergences across infraorders.
In this paper, the researchers present a molecular phylogeny for the order Decapoda, combining nuclear and mitochondrial sequences, to investigate relationships among nine pleocyemate infraorders, one dendrobranchiate superfamily, 56 families, 113 genera and 128 species. New and available sequence data are assembled to build the most extensive decapod phylogeny to date both in terms of taxon representation and genetic coverage.
The researchers discuss current and new hypotheses of decapod relationships and suggest a plan towards a consensus of decapod evolution.
Source: Arthropod Systematics and Phylogeny. The Decapod Tree of Life: Compiling the Data and Moving Toward a Consensus of Decapod Evolution. Heather D. Bracken (Department of Biology, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA, email@example.com), Alicia Toon, Darryl L. Felder, Joel W. Martin, Maegan Finley, Jennifer Rasmussen, Ferran Palero and Keith A. Crandall. Volume 67, Number 1, Page 99. Posted online June 17, 2009.
Washington DC—Greenpeace Rates USA Grocery Stores—Again and Again
On June 30, 2009, Greenpeace USA released Carting Away the Oceans: How Grocery Stores are Emptying the Seas, a report that ranks USA retailers according to their sustainable seafood policies, for the third time.
This time around, seven retailers—Wegmans, Ahold USA, Whole Foods, Target, Safeway, Harris Teeter and Wal-Mart—earned a passing grade, or score of 40 or more out of a possible 100. Receiving a failing grade were Delhaize, Kroger, Costco, Aldi, A&P, Supervalu, Giant Eagle, Publix, Winn-Dixie, Trader Joe’s, Meijer, Price Chopper and H.E. Butt.
On the second release of the report, in December 2008, only four retailers—Whole Foods, Ahold USA, Target and Harris Teeter—earned a passing grade. All 20 retailers cited in the report received a failing grade when the report was initially published in June 2008.
Wegmans ranked number one this time around, climbing from number seven the last time the list was released. Greenpeace attributed the retailer’s score of 59.25 to its much improved sustainable seafood purchasing policy and its work with the Environmental Defense Fund.
Costco, Aldi, Giant Eagle, Publix, Winn-Dixie and H.E. Butt failed to respond to Greenpeace’s sustainable seafood questionnaire.
Greenpeace blamed H.E. Butt’s score of 7.5, the lowest score among the 20, on its refusal to stop selling 16 of 22 red list species, including Alaska pollock, Atlantic cod, Atlantic sea scallops, grouper and red snapper. Greenpeace is trying to persuade retailers to halt sales of species it claims are harvested or farmed in an environmentally irresponsible manner.
“As we look back at the first year of Carting Away the Oceans, we can see a pronounced schism among the retailers that were targeted by this report,” Greenpeace said in the report’s introduction. “While more than half of the companies have demonstrated at least some degree of progress, there remain nine retailers that have made no visible effort whatsoever to increase the sustainability of their seafood operations. These industry laggards continue to wreak havoc on our environment.”
Source: SeafoodSource.com. Editor Steven Hedlund (firstname.lastname@example.org). Seafood News/Environment Sustainability/Greenpeace re-releases U.S. retail report card. Steven Hedlund. June 30, 2009.
Freshwater Shortage in Mekong Delta
From Ca Mau in the south to the Red River Delta in the north, Vietnam’s aquifers are being exploited without regulation. In the Mekong Delta, thousands of wells have been drilled for shrimp farms, but the local authorities said they have no idea how many wells have been dug. As the freshwater table falls, salt water and contaminants seep into the aquifer.
Source: Vietnam Net Bridge. Underground Water Levels Are Falling Fast. June 28, 2009.
Shrimp merchants in southern Vietnam have been caught adding substances like sugar water and agar, a gelatinous substance derived from seaweed, to farmed shrimp to increase their weight. They add the substances right after the shrimp are harvested.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Luong Le Phuong called the practice “a fraud” that adversely affects shrimp exports and the perception of the quality among international consumers. The fraud has been committed mostly by farmers and small dealers in the Mekong Delta provinces of Bac Lieu and Ca Mau, and partly in Kien Giang, he said.
Many shipments of frozen shrimp from Vietnam have been sent back by importers recently because they failed food safety and hygiene tests. Since early 2009, authorities in Ca Mau Province have discovered 67 cases of safety and hygiene violations and seized more than 14,000 kilograms of shrimp, mostly from buyers and small processors.
When caught, merchants face fines of $561 to $862 and the confiscation of their shrimp, yet the practice appears to be increasing.
Le Van Quang, director of the local Minh Phu Seafood Processing Company, said it’s not very difficult to discover the substances. “But as there is not enough supply of clean material, seafood processors have to buy from any source available.” Quang said dealers who buy from farmers and resell to the processing companies should refuse to buy shrimp with impurities.
Source: ThanhnienNews.com. Supply Shortage Ensures Demand for ‘Obese’ Shrimp. Tran Thanh Phong. June 27, 2009.
Where is this large, indoor, recirculating, organic shrimp farm?
You can view the video at the link below.
I posted this question in last week's Free News report and got two responses. One person guessed that it was Russ Allen's farm in Michigan. I've been to Allen's farm and know that it's not his farm. The other person was certain that it was a failed, Russian-financed project in Toronto, Canada, and that the video was probably four or five years old, even thought it was posted to YouTube in June 2009.
Source: YouTube. Live Organic Shrimp Farm Project. June 16, 2009.
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