Australian Researchers Close the Life Cycle on the Spiny Lobster, Panulirus ornatus
Located on a 207-hectare coastal site in the state of Queensland and surrounded by a national park and marine reserve, the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) is at the forefront of spiny lobster research. Greg Smith and co-workers at AIMS recently closed the life cycle of the spiny lobster, Panulirus ornatus, which passes through eleven delicate and complex larval stages, beginning with tiny, spider-like larvae about the size of a match head and ending with a puerulus (postlarvae), which resembles an adult lobster, only smaller. Throughout this period, the developing larvae are called “phyllosomas”. In the wild, they are planktonic, reaching a final length of about 30 millimeters. Then they metamorphose into puerulii (postlarvae, still planktonic), followed by the juvenile phase when they settle on the bottom.
The metamorphosis from phyllosoma to puerulii is an event as dramatic as the change from a caterpillar to a butterfly. The phyllosoma morphs from a two-dimensional, leaf-shaped creature into a three-dimensional miniature lobster.
Matt Kenway, who manages the lobster project at AIMS, says the next step is to ramp up to commercial level. “We have successfully closed the life-cycle five times now and produced a number of juveniles. We need to scale up the research technology into commercial robust hatchery techniques, in particular the nutrition and health aspects to help the larvae traverse the long and delicate phyllosoma phases...and so far, we’re succeeding,” says Kenway.
Caught mainly along Australia’s northeast coast and the Torres Strait (between Australia and Papua New Guinea), P. ornatus has a strikingly, vivid blue-green and orange body with black and yellow speckled legs—colors which make it a popular centerpiece for banquets. Wholesaling between $33 and $70 a kilogram, it’s in great demand across Asia.
Using sea cages, lobster farmers in Vietnam produce more than 1,000 tons of spiny lobsters annually from wild-caught juveniles. “The Vietnamese consider P. ornatus to be an excellent aquaculture candidate because of its growth to a kilogram in 18 to 20 months and its high value,” Kenway says. However, an “Achilles Heel” is the reliance on wild juveniles. “In Vietnam, these typically cost farmers between $5 and $10 each.”
Despite the high prices paid to collectors, farmers find that recruitment and availability of wild juveniles is highly variable. Juveniles also suffer high mortalities during transport to the net pens. “So, it is likely that this form of sea ranching is unsustainable in the long term because of the reliance on juveniles,” said Kenway.
AIMS decided to concentrate its efforts on P. ornatus because of the high demand for the product, substantial projected profits and outstanding growth characteristics “as the Vietnamese have proved”. Additionally, it is believed to have the shortest larval phase of all the spiny lobsters, limiting the substantial challenges and difficulties in raising it, according to Kenway. Information: Matt Kenway (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Journal Aquaculture Publishes Description of Panulirus ornatus’s Larval Morphology
Recent efforts to complete the larval cycle of Panulirus ornatus in captivity have resulted in repeated success and sufficient material to compile a complete morphological description of the phyllosoma (larval) phase. In this paper, a morphological comparison is made between hatchery reared phyllosoma and specimens collected from the wild. The size of wild caught and captive reared phyllosomas did not differ significantly. It was noted, however, that some hatchery reared individuals undergo truncated development with the ability to metamorphose in a shorter than expected time frame compared to estimates of wild phyllosomas. Observations are made on the plasticity of the larval duration in P. ornatus. Up to a total of 24 morphological increments were recorded in captive and wild P. ornatus phyllosoma. These were divided into 11 distinct stages by determining the commencement and completion of specific morphological traits. This descriptive morphological key provides a singular reference point for monitoring larval development in this species. The variable nature of the larval duration of P. ornatus suggests that the optimization of husbandry and nutrition conditions may significantly reduce the length of the hatchery phase and enhance the possibility of providing seedstock for an aquaculture industry based on closed life-cycle, spiny lobster culture.
An Appraisal of the Australian Approach to Lobster Farming
Shrimp News: I asked Durwood Dugger, President of BioCepts International, a shrimp farming consulting company, what he thought about the Australian approach to lobster farming. Durwood has taken a long hard look at lobster farming and has definite opinions on how it should be done. Here are some of his comments:
First, I congratulate the Australian government and its scientists for being farsighted enough to put an amount of money into spiny lobster research that could lead to successful lobster farming.
In my opinion, however, we still don’t know enough about the various spiny lobster species—under scientifically comparable rearing conditions—to bet on P. ornatus. There are complex interactions between environmental cues, larval nutrition, microbiology, light and the larval lobster that we know far too little about. The Japanese seem to have made the most dramatic strides in narrowing larval development time of some spiny lobsters, with some individuals completing the full larval cycle in as little as 65 days (Kittaka 2001). Even so, the survival rates are nowhere near the requirements for commercialization.
There is an obvious and well-demonstrated success model in agriculture and aquaculture that shows that least cost commercialization/domestication occurs when the species most naturally adapted to typical culture conditions is selected for domestication. The first 40 years of penaeid shrimp research lasted that long because researchers refused to properly examine, compare and select from all the available penaeid species. Just like today with spiny lobster, penaeid species were only studied on spotty and incomparable bases, instead of how well they performed in one or more standardized culture environments. The Ralston Purina company went through more than 14 species of penaeids before it stumbled upon Penaeus vannamei—which by the way was listed by early crustacean descriptive literature as “too small to be of commercial value.”
This is where we are with spiny lobster today. P. ornatus may well be the most appropriate species for aquaculture, but no one can prove that scientifically because the other 40+ species haven’t been adequately compared to and challenged by standard commercial culture system environments—not in the hatchery and not in growout.
The artesianal success of juvenile-dependent, sea-cage farming in Vietnam is undeniable, but it could also be a false start in the search for the best species. Nothing stops progress like partial or marginal success. Ornatus may be useful as a standard to which we compare other candidate species, but, in my opinion, a lot of species review work still needs to be done. Until we have a comparative understanding of all the spiny lobster species’ basic culture requirements and what potential abilities each might have to contribute to offset the rigors of cultivation, it would be a great waste of resources to pursue the commercial development of any one species at this point. On the other hand, this doesn’t mean we have to know everything about all the other species. There are some rather basic tests that can be preformed to determine species applicability for commercialization, it just takes time and money. Fortunately, the Australians seem to have come to that same conclusion. I just hope their focus isn’t too narrow.
Information: Durwood Dugger, President, BioCepts International, Inc., 947 Sandpiper Lane, Vero Beach, Florida 32963 USA (phone 1-772-332-1046, fax 1-772-234-8966, email email@example.com, webpage http://www.biocepts.com).
Sources: 1. FISH (Fisheries Research and Development Corporation News). Aquaculture/Farmed Lobster Face a Delicate Larval Journey. Rebecca Thyer. Volume 17, Number 3, Page 20, September 2009. 2. Aquaculture. Description of the Larval Morphology of Captive Reared Panulirus Ornatus Spiny Lobsters, Benchmarked Against Wild-Caught Specimens. Greg Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org, Australian Institute of Marine Science, PMB No. 3, Townsville MC, Queensland 4810, Australia), Matt Salmon, Matt Kenway and Michael Hall. Volume 295, Issues 1-2, Pages 76-88, October 1, 2009. 3. Email to Shrimp News International from Durwood Dugger on October 5, 2009. 4. Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International, October 7, 2009.
Blogger Reports on Saltwater Intrusion
Shrimp farming gets a lot of bad press in Bangladesh—and no wonder. Shrimp needs salt water, rice needs fresh water. The battle over who controls the water regime pits powerful shrimp farmers and exporters against small rice farmers. In many cases, shrimp win. Shrimp farming has led to the creeping salinization of the soil. As you travel south out of Dhaka, the landscape turns from lush green paddies and jute fields into the barren expanse of coastal shrimp farms. Shrimp farmers have also undermined the protective levies, increasing the chance of floods.
In the shrimp farming town of Khulna, there’s a giant shrimp sculpture at one of its main intersections. Shrimp farming activists there argue that the country needs the export income, and if properly taxed and regulated, shrimp farming could be a force for good.
Source: From Poverty to Power. Snapshots of Bangladesh: Inequality on Wheels, Evil Prawns, Resilient Garments, Acid Attacks and Dodgy Infrastructure. Duncan Green. August 25, 2009.
Cape Verde Islands
Deal with Brazil and Private Sector
The Republic of Cape Verde is an island nation in the North Atlantic Ocean off the west coast of Africa. A shrimp farm will be built there with financial and technical support from the Small Business Support Service (SEABRA) in the northeastern Brazilian state of Ceará. The total investment is budgeted at $2.2 million, half of which will come from a Dutch fund and the other half will be financed by entrepreneurs.
Source: ASemana. Brazilian and Cape Verdean Entrepreneurs Seal Partnership for Shrimp Farming Facility. September 15, 2009.
Cape Verde Islands
Developing Lobster and Shrimp Farming
Chinese technicians in partnership with Cape Verde’s National Fishing Development Institute have begun work on a Strategic Pisciculture Development Plan aimed at creating shrimp and lobster farms. The government is contacting China, the European Union and Japan for funding to carry out the plan, which should be completed within a year.
Source: Macauhub.com. Cape Verde Focuses on Shrimp and Lobster Farming with Technical Support from China. September 21, 2009.
Shrimp Hatchery Will Produce 20 Billion PLs a Year
The Guangdong Evergreen Group Co., Ltd., has signed a deal with INVE to double its hatchery production to 20 billion postlarvae a year. The deal will bring Belgium-based INVE’s products to China on a grand scale.
Dan Chen, Chairman of Evergreen, said, “We’re one of China’s top shrimp fry producers with a target of ten billion in 2009. To put this into a comparison, India’s total shrimp fry production is seven billion. We’re planning to build seven to eight new hatcheries this year, which will bring our fry production to 20 billion. We’ll be using INVE products to boost the quality of our fry....”
The Evergreen Group prides itself on processing shrimp grown without antibiotics. INVE manufactures probiotics, rotifer and Artemia enrichment products, and compound larval diets, which Evergreen will use in its own shrimp fry production and distribution network.
“Our current strategy is to move into this market, but it has taken time to find the right partner,” said Chen. “This isn’t a step you take two or three times...we wanted the right partner. Evergreen is specialized in fry production, seafood processing and aquatic feeds. As far as volume, we are the leading Chinese seafood processing company and we are the number one feed company.”
The deal with INVE will have three stages. During the first stage, INVE will begin distributing its products in China using Evergreen’s distribution network. During the second stage, INVE will begin manufacturing its product in China, and during the third stage, Evergreen and INVE will set up a joint venture to handle the business. All of this should be accomplished by 2012.
Wanted—Help with Macrobrachium rosenbergii and M. carcinus
Anthonie Takken (email@example.com) inquires: I live in Costa Rica, and I am interested in starting a freshwater prawn farm. I know a little about Macrobrachium rosenbergii, and I would also like to try our native species, M. carcinus. Do you know of anyone else in Costa Rica, or Central America, that is growing prawns? What species are they working with? Where do they get their seedstock?
Source: Email to Shrimp News International from Anthonie Takken on September 17, 2009.
First Official Sale of Penaeus vannamei Seedstock
On September 9, 2009, the Vaisakhi Bio-Marine, Ltd., hatchery in Markkanam, Tamil Nadu, sold 900,000 Penaeus vannamei postlarvae to Onaway Industries, Ltd., a 72-hectare shrimp farm in the state of Gujarat. That's Ravi Kumar Yellanki, manager director of Vaisakhi Bio-Marine, on the left, and Saji Chako, general manager of Onaway, on the right. It was the first official sale of P. vannamei seedstock in India! The seed was produced from the SPF broodstock supplied by Shrimp Improvement Systems (SIS) in Florida, USA.
Information: Ravi Kumar Yellanki, Managing Director, Vaisakhi Bio-Marine (p) Ltd., and Secretary of the All India Shrimp Hatcheries Association (phone 0091+98481-95821, email firstname.lastname@example.org).
Sources: 1. Email and news release to Shrimp News International from Ravi Kumar Yellanki on September 21, 2009. 2. The Hindu. Shrimp Seed Sold. September 13, 2009.
Blue Archipelago—Digging Ponds as You Read This
In the state of Terengganu, a $57 million integrated shrimp project, which will begin operations at the end of 2010, is set to transform the remote fishing village of Setiu into the country’s largest integrated shrimp park. Called “Integrated Shrimp Aquaculture Park”, or “i-SHARP”, it is expected to employ 1,300 local people who currently depend on fishing for a livelihood.
Dr. Shahridan Faiez, Chief Executive Officer of Blue Archipelago, Bhd., which will manage i-SHARP, said the project will be carried out in three phases at the company’s 1,200-hectare site on Terengganu’s central coast. He said, “The Department of Environment has given its approval to Blue Archipelago to carry out the project, but has attached strict conditions to the company as not to pollute the environment and tamper with the ecology. Land clearing is currently under progress to make way for the aquaculture park which will also house a laboratory and breeding center. Between 10,000 and 12,000 tons of white shrimp and 5,000 tons of tiger shrimp will be produced annually, generating an income of more than $29 million.”
Blue Archipelago, Bhd., is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Khazanah Nasional, Bhd., which has been commissioned by the government to carry out this integrated shrimp project to spur economic activity in remote areas. For the last 30 years, Khazanah Nasional has managed a shrimp park in the state of Kedah that churned out $5.7 million worth of shrimp annually.
Source: Bernama.com. RM200 Million Shrimp Park to Transform Setiu. October 3, 2009.
Veracruz, the World Aquaculture Society Meeting
Everyone that I talked to at the meeting thought it was a big success. No complaints from anyone. Well, maybe just one. The weather could have been a little bit more like the eternal spring that you’ll experience in San Diego, California, USA, when you attend the World Aquaculture Society’s meeting in March 2010.
At the Veracruz meeting, I recorded many of the shrimp presentations and the entire biofloc session, bought two new books on shrimp farming, got the abstracts of all the presentations on a CD, took dozens of pictures, collected product literature, conducted several interviews and chatted with industry leaders from all over the world—but I have not had a chance to get into any of it yet. It will probably be several months until I sort through it all and get it posted to Free News.
The Biofloc Session: The biofloc session was on the last day, all day, and very well attended throughout. A few things about it still stand out in my mind. Gerard Cuzon, who some of you old timers may remember from the 1970s and 1980s and the French aquaculture program in Tahiti, suggested that tiny air bubbles may be the starting point for bioflocs. He said bacteria, looking for a good source of oxygen, accumulate on the surface of the bubble. As the bubble gradually contracts and dissolves into the water column, the bacteria and other organic compounds on its surface are concentrated into a clump that becomes the seed for a new floc. Eric de Mulyder, a shrimp farming consultant and feed specialist from Belgium, said he didn’t think shrimp were after the bacteria in the flocs, but were eating the zooplankton that grazed on the bacteria. During another presentation, someone mentioned that bioflocs have a short life span, probably less than a day.
Next Biofloc Meeting: Dr. Yoram Avinemelch, who organized the biofloc session in Veracruz, has already started to organize a biofloc session for the World Aquaculture Society Meeting in San Diego, California, USA (March 2010). Yoram would like to organize the session around the following themes:
• What is it in the floc that contributes to the most growth?
• How can we manipulate the floc to our advantage?
Information: Yoram Avnimelech (email@example.com), Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, 32000 Israel.
Information: John Cooksey, World Aquaculture Conference Management, P.O. Box 2302, Valley Center, California 92082, USA (phone 1-760-751-5005, fax 1-760-751-5003, email firstname.lastname@example.org, webpage https://www.was.org/Main/Default.asp).
Lyons Seafoods, Jumbo King Prawns
During the week of September 21-25, 2009, Lyons Seafoods relaunched, repositioned and repackaged some of its shrimp products with a new brand identity. Lyons’s hired packaging communication specialists Reach to “emotionally engage” its consumers with its products. In the UK, Lyons enjoys category leadership in warmwater shrimp, chilled shellfish and smoked salmon.
Source: PackagingDigest.com. Lyons Seafoods Introduces New Packaging. September 17, 2009.
Florida—Shrimp Improvement Systems, Lorenzo Juarez
Here’s the picture of Lorenzo Juarez, manager of Shrimp Improvement Systems, a supplier of SPF Penaeus vannamei broodstock, that I took right after asking him if he was glad his tenure as president of WAS and the Veracruz meeting were finally over. Lorenzo served four extra months as president because the WAS meeting was switched from May to September.
Information: Lorenzo Juarez, General Manager, Shrimp Improvement Systems, LLC, 88005 Overseas Highway 10-166, Islamorada, FL 33036 USA (phone 1-305-852-0872, ext. 23, cell 1-305-394-3597, fax 1-305-852-0874, email email@example.com, web page http://www.shrimpimprovement.com/home.html).
Source: Picture of Lorenzo Juarez taken at the World Aquaculture Society Meeting in Veracruz, Mexico, on September 28, 2009.
North Carolina—Another Tiger Caught Off the Coast
On September 14, 2009, Royce Potter, a commercial shrimp fisherman, caught a giant tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon), a nonindigenous species, off the coast of North Carolina. “We were shrimping off Southport when we caught it off the Cape Fear River,” Potter said. Tiger shrimp are native to the western Pacific and Indian oceans and are widely farmed in Southeast Asia. Seven black tiger shrimp were caught in North Carolina waters in 2008.
Source: StarNewsOnline.com. Asian Black Tiger Shrimp Likely Caught Off Southport. Ken Little (Citydesk@StarNewsOnline.com). September 16, 2009.
Since the middle of 2008, Uni-President Vietnam has been supplying Penaeus vannamei postlarvae to farmers throughout Vietnam from its hatchery in Ninh Thuan Province.
Uni-President Vietnam invested $4 million in the hatchery to supply high quality specific pathogen free (SPF) white shrimp postlarvae to farmers in Vietnam. Its current capacity is more than 120 million postlarvae a month. To reduce transportation costs and to improve the efficiency of its distribution system, Uni-President plans to build hatcheries in several other provinces that will expand its production to 150 million postlarvae a month.
Uni-President’s biosecure hatchery management system was developed by several international experts from the Americas and Taiwan. The management of the disease and PCR (polymerase chain reaction) laboratory was developed by Dr. Grace Lo, the chair of an OIE recognized laboratory at National Taiwan University. Uni-President markets “UniLarva”, a commercial brand of SPF postlarvae produced in an eco-friendly biological system.
Information: Wu Ming-Hsun (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Dumping Duties Reduced
Three Vietnamese firms that export frozen shrimp to the USA have had their dumping tax rates lowered to nearly zero percent by the USA Department of Commerce (DOC) for the period of February 1, 2007, to January 31, 2008, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors (VASEP). Minh Phu Corp, Camimex and Phuong Nam are the firms the DOC added to the list of companies with a zero tax rate.
Dumping rates of 1.66 percent for Minh Phu, 19.8 percent for Camimex and 5.6 percent for Phuong Nam were announced in March 2008, following the results of the third administrative review on shrimp. The new rates are 0.43 percent for Minh Phu, 0.08 percent for Camimex and 0.21 percent for Phuong Nam.
Only Grobest, I-Mei Industrial, Co., Ltd., and Viet Hai Seafood, Co., Ltd., were given a zero tax rate after the third review. Twenty-three firms received rates between 4.3 percent and 4.57 percent while the rest received a rate of 25.76 percent.
Companies bearing a tax rate below 0.5 percent will be considered as zero percent, said Le Van Quang, general director of Minh Phu. Firms that show three consecutive rates of zero percent are exempt from taxes the following year.
Vietnam exported 15,191 tons of shrimp to the USA between January and June 2009, worth $147.3 million, an 18.3 percent rise in volume and 2.1 percent in value over the same period in 2008.
Following a fall in Vietnamese shrimp exports due to the global economic downturn, the second half of 2009 has shown a dramatic rise in exports.
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