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Dr. Nyan Taw, General Manager and Senior Technical Advisor



On September 28, 2009, at the World Aquaculture Society meeting in Veracruz, Mexico, I interviewed Dr. Nyan Taw, General Manager and Senior Technical Advisor at i-SHARP, a 1,000-hectare shrimp farm that is under construction in Malaysia.  i-SHARP, part of the Blue Archipelago group, plans to stock its first crop in October 2010.  Dr. Taw has a long history in shrimp farming and has been the technical manager for some of the largest shrimp farms in the world, including CP Prima in Indonesia, where he ran a 300-hectare biofloc project with half-hectare ponds.


Shrimp News: Tell me a little bit about the farm you are building in Malaysia.


Nyan Taw: We have a 1,000-hectare site and plan to build half-hectare ponds on 750 hectares of it.  Eventually, we’ll be completely integrated with a feed mill, a breeding center, a hatchery and processing plant.  We plan to build the hatchery and farm first.  We’re going to share what we know with the developing shrimp farming industry in Malaysia and with shrimp farmers around the world.


Shrimp News: Where will you get your feeds?


Nyan Taw: We have lots of options, but have not made any commitments yet.  We will probably build our own feed mill, along with breeding centers for Penaeus monodon and P. vannamei.


Shrimp News: How do you plan to aerate the ponds?


Nyan Taw: We will be using paddlewheels and air-injection systems.  If you use air-injection systems, you can produce 1,000 kilos of shrimp per horsepower; if you use paddlewheels, you can only produce 600 kilos of shrimp per HP.  But you can’t use just air-injection systems, you need to use both because they serve different functions in the pond.  The paddlewheels are great for circulation, but the air-injection systems add more oxygen.  With the right combination, you can increase the carrying capacity of your ponds significantly.  Our new ponds will be 1.5 meters deep, so we expect to use high stocking densities.


Shrimp News: Will you be using biofloc technology on the farm?


Nyan Taw: Yes, but we’re going to start with more traditional methods and then introduce biofloc farming very slowly.  We’ll try it out in a couple of ponds first.  Conceptually, we really like biofloc farming because it has almost no environmental impact, and we plan to run an environmentally friendly farm.  Before we turn the entire farm over to floc, however, we need to train a lot of people.  Running a biofloc farm requires a whole new set of skills.


Shrimp News: How many kilos per hectare do you expect to get from your ponds?


Nyan Taw: Initially, we plan to produce about 10,000 kilos per hectare per crop.  When the project is completed, we hope to produce 10,000 metric tons a year.  All the ponds will be lined, so we should be able to get more than two crops a year.


Information: Dr. Nyan Taw, i-SHARP SETIU, SDN., BHD., T3.9, KPMG Tower, 8 First Avenue, Persiaran Bandar Utama, 47800 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia (phone +603-7725-0020, fax +603-7725-2050, email nyan.taw@bluearchipelago.com, webpage http://www.nyantaw.com).


Source: Dr. Nyan Taw.  Interview by Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International.  Veracruz, Mexico.  September 26, 2009.


Country Reports



Background Controls the Color of Shrimp


Abstract: The color of shrimp is dependent on the presence of carotenoid pigments (predominantly astaxanthin) in their shells and has a significant impact on their market value.  In this study researchers observed that visual appearance of color in giant tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon), when assessed using a subjective commercial grading scale, did not always correlate well with total carotenoid content.  They also observed that visual appearance was affected by the background color of the tanks in which the shrimp were growing.


When shrimp were grown in black or white tanks for 28 days, even though they had similar mean total astaxanthin contents in their tails, those grown in black tanks were much more orange/red when cooked, compared to those from the white tanks.  The pigments were mainly located in the cephalothorax, abdominal epidermal layer and abdominal exoskeleton.  Light microscopy showed an even distribution of pigment in the epidermal layer of the more colored shrimp when compared with concentrated pigment areas in the lighter-colored shrimp.  Non-esterified astaxanthin was the major carotenoid present (50%) in all body locations in shrimp from black tanks with the remainder being made up equally of astaxanthin, mono-esters and di-esters.  However, for shrimp from white tanks, non-esterified astaxanthin accounted for just 12–13%, with the mono-esters reaching about 60% of the total present.


In a separate experiment, the researchers demonstrated that changes in background color caused a rapid change in visual color.  When shrimp were moved from a white to a black tank, there was a significant increase in grade score within an hour without any change in astaxanthin content.  Color improvement continued to increase over 168 hours.  Moving shrimp from a black to a white tank resulted in a reduction in grade score, but the change was much less rapid.


This work suggests that, provided shrimp have an adequate content of astaxanthin in their diets, it is possible to improve their overall appearance (raw and cooked) by manipulating background color before harvest.


Source: AquacultureEffect of Background Colour on the Distribution of Astaxanthin in Black Tiger Prawn (Penaeus Monodon): Effective Method for Improvement of Cooked Colour.  R.K. Tume (ron.tume@csiro.au, CSIRO, Food Futures National Research Flagship), A.L. Sikes, S. Tabrett and D.M. Smith.  Volume 296, Issues 1-2, Pages 129-135, November 1, 2009.



Expalsa’s Organic Shrimp Garners 25% Higher Price


Demand for organic shrimp is strong again after taking a hit at the beginning of the worldwide economic slump, says Juan Fernando Gomez Behr of Expalsa’s export department.  “Since last October, there was a drop in demand.  But we are seeing a recovery now.”  The Ecuador-based firm sells its own Naturland-certified organic shrimp (20% of sales) and non-organic shrimp (80% of sales) that it purchases from other Ecuadorian farms.


Every month, Expalsa ships 150 twenty-metric-ton containers of shrimp around the world, said Gomez.  Each container is worth around $100,000 and the company’s annual shrimp sales are around $180 million.  This doesn’t take into account feed sales or sales from different arms of the Expalsa group, said Gomez, although he declined to reveal the actual sales figure for the company.


Some of its major customers are Birds Eye Iglo, the Alfesca Group, Lyons Seafood, Italian foodservice firm Skalo and German wholesaler Ristic.  The company’s main markets for organic shrimp are Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, Switzerland and France.  Its main sales for the non-organic product are Italy, United States, Spain, France and the United Kingdom, and it recently started selling to Egypt, said Gomez—adding that prices for organic shrimp are around 25 percent higher than those for non-organic shrimp!


Expalsa sells shrimp in various forms, from a new individually quick-frozen (IQF) brine frozen product, which it markets in Spain and Portugal, to value-added products in demand in Italy.  In Ecuador, Expalsa operates a value-added processing plant that employs 2,000 people.


Source: Boletin Informativo (Ecuador’s Camara Nacional de Acuacultura).  Editor, Jorge Tejada (jtejada@cna-ecuador.com).  Organic Shrimp Beating Recession.  October 8, 2009.



Farm For Sale in Chennai, Tamil Nadu


A four-acre, nine-pond shrimp farm with clear title and an eastern exposure is for sale in Tamil Nadu for $87,000 to $130,000.  It’s licensed by the government, well connected to the road and currently operational.  For three photographs of the farm and a satellite image, click on the link below.  When the page opens, double click on the photographs on the right side of your screen, and they will enlarge.


Source: PropertyWala.com.  Aquaculture (Shrimp) Farm For Sale.  October 8, 2009.



Imports to Fill Shortages from Farms


According to Freddy Numberi, Maritime and Fisheries Minister, the government will allow shrimp imports while the shrimp farming industry resolves its production problems.


Source: Seafood.com (an online, subscription-based, fisheries news service).  Indonesia Will Allow White Shrimp Imports to Meet the Needs of Exporters.  Ken Coons (phone 1-781-861-1441, email kencoons@seafood.com).  Editor and Publisher, John Sackton (phone 1-781-861-1441, email jsackton@seafood.com).  October 13, 2009.



Dr. Yoram Avnimelech’s New Book on Biofloc Aquaculture


Dr. Yoram Avnimelech, the leader of the worldwide biofloc movement in aquaculture, has written a 181-page book on biofloc technology that reviews the state-of-the-art and brings the current knowledge on bioflocs together in one place.  In the preface, Dr. Avnimelech writes, “This book was written in response to great interest expressed by aquaculturists, farmers all over the world, interested students and scientists, requesting a source of general information on this technology.”


Here are the chapter headings:


Why Do We Need New Technologies for Aquaculture?

Overview of Aquaculture Systems

Microbial Processes and Communities Relevant to Aquaculture

Biofloc Systems

The Nitrogen Syndrome—The Problem and Solutions

Using BFT to Control Inorganic Nitrogen Build-Up

Feeding with Bioflocs

Optimizing Microbial Activity in Extensive Ponds

Aeration and Aerator Deployment

Pond Management

Pond Construction

BFT Effects of Fish and Shrimp Disease Control

Field Experience

Biofloc Technology and Sustainable Aquaculture Development

Final Notes and Requests

Glossary and Abbreviations


Information: Yoram Avnimelech (agyoram@tx.technion.ac.il), Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, 32000 Israel.  Dr. Avnimelech is planning a biofloc session for the World Aquaculture Society meeting in San Diego, California, USA, in March 2010.


Information: The book sells for $35 (WAS members) and $60 (nonmembers) and can be purchased at the World Aquaculture Society’s website (https://www.was.org/Main/Default.asp).


Source: Biofloc Technology—A Practical Guide Book.  Yoram Avnimelech.  The World Aquaculture Society.  2009.



Asian-Pacific Aquaculture 2009 and LIR Biotech


“Asian Pacific Aquaculture 2009”, managed by the World Aquaculture Society, will be held in Kuala Lumpur in early November 2009.  Malaysia-based LIR Biotech will be one of the companies participating in the trade show.  It provides technical expertise in chemical and residue analysis and turn-key consultancies in disease and food safety detection platforms for the aquaculture industry.  It actively works with government agencies and private stakeholders to address disease and food safety issues.  It has clients in Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Thailand and Bangladesh.


LIR Biotech operates a PCR viral disease screening laboratory that actively serves Malaysian aquaculture clients.  Tests provided include WSSV, TSV, YHV/GAV, IHHNV, MBV, HPV, IMNV, PvNv and MrNv.  The laboratory is in the process of ISO 17025 accreditation.  In the area of food safety, LIR Biotech works with clients to validate screening platforms based on EC/657/2002 Directives especially the use of ELISA for residue detection.


At the trade show, LIR Biotech will showcase an innovative, cost effective, specific and sensitive iso-thermal amplification detection platform for shrimp viral detection.  The system can be applied on site and does not require complicated or expensive equipment like a thermal cycler.  The platform can be expanded to accommodate detection of a wide range of pathogens.


Information: Dennis Teoh, Business Development Manager, LIR Biotech, 7A Jalan Kembojal B/2, Bukit Beruntung 48300, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia (webpage http://www.mylabind.com email info@mylabind.com).


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 worldaqua@aol.com, webpage https://www.was.org/Main/Default.asp).


Source: AQUA Culture AsiaPacific (Editor/Publisher, Zuridah Merican, email zuridah@aquaasiapac.com).  Sustainable Aquaculture and Quality Seafood for All/Shrimp Viral Detection.  Volume 5, Number 5, Page 46-48, September/October 2009.



Video—Journalist Interviewing Shrimp Farmers


For a one-minute video of a journalist interviewing some Thai shrimp farmers through an interpreter, click on the link below.  You’ll see shots of long-arm aerators as the farmers complain about low prices.


Source: YouTube.  Shrimp Farm, Thailand by Asiatravel.com.  October 1, 2009.


United Arab Emirates

Job—Intensive Penaeus indicus Farm


Company: Shrimp Exports, LLC


Salary: $1,500 - $2,000 [a month]


Closing Date: November 5, 2009


Qualifications: Degree in Aquaculture, Marine Biology or Mariculture.  Candidate must have experience working with Penaeus indicus in lined ponds at high stocking densities (100 PLs/m2).  Candidates must be able to handle a 60-hectare farm on their own, must know water quality, feeding strategies and disease management, must be able to work independently with minimal supervision, must be prepared to work a seven-day week and must have a valid UAE driver’s license.  Candidates with Middle East experience preferred.


Benefits: Food, accommodations, travel airfare.


Information: Arunkumar (juliekurutu@yahoo.co.in).


Source: AquaNic (The Aquaculture Network Information Center, a gateway to the world’s electronic aquaculture resources).  Jobs Directory in cooperation with the WAS Employment ServiceSearch jobsFarm Technician.  October 6, 2009.


United States

Hawaii—Macky’s Shrimp Truck and Chen-Lu Shrimp Farm


Travel writer Barbara Schoener (email bdmps@comcast.net) reports:


“If you had told me that one of my best meals in Oahu would be from a truck parked on the side of the road, I would have thought you were losing your mind.  Or maybe the fact that we sought out this oddity meant I was losing my mind.  Either way, we went, we ate, we loved it and we went back two days later.  There are several of these ‘establishments’ scattered across the North Shore of Oahu.  Most are located in Kahuku, but we were interested in sampling the offerings at Macky’s in Hale’iwa.  We were skeptical but then extremely pleasantly surprised.  Upon pulling into the parking lot (66-632 Kamehameha Highway), you feel like you are entering a time warp from the Woodstock concert era.  A crazily painted truck with a service window on the side is where you step up and place your order.  There are covered picnic tables set alongside the truck and that is pretty much it.  If you can get past the unusual setting you are in for a real treat.  Macky Chen himself will greet you with enthusiasm and immediately makes you feel right at home, even if you are standing in the middle of a parking lot.  ...They do not accept credit cards, so take cash.  Each plate was about $12 and for that you got roughly a dozen decent sized, perfectly cooked shrimp.”


Chen gets his shrimp from the Chen-Lu Shrimp Farm.


Source: Examiner.com.  Macky’s Shrimp Truck on Oahu: DEEE-LICIOUS!!!  Barbara Schoener.  August 29, 2009.


United States

Hawaii—Funding for Tropical Aquaculture Feeds


On October 8, 2009, USA Senate Appropriations Chairman Daniel K. Inouye and Senator Daniel K. Akaka, both representing Hawaii, announced that the state will receive $34 million for agriculture initiatives in Fiscal Year 2009 under the Fiscal Year 2010 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, which the Senate has approved by a vote of 76 to 22.


If the President signs the bill, the Oceanic Institute will receive $1.4 million for research on tropical aquaculture feeds.


Source: Hawaii247.org.  Senate Ok’s More Than $34M for Hawaii Ag Projects.  October 8, 2009.


United States

Louisiana—Outback Restaurants to Serve Only Wild Shrimp


The Associated Press reports:


The Outback Steakhouse restaurant chain is scrapping plans to serve imported shrimp in Louisiana.  On October 7, 2009, Bruce Attinger, a partner in the Florida-based company, said that it had planned to begin selling less costly foreign shrimp next month.  But Attinger said he decided that was a bad idea after he heard about hardships of the state’s industry, which is struggling to compete against imported product.


Governor Bobby Jindal, who called a news conference at the Governor’s Mansion to announce the company’s decision, said he hopes other restaurant chains will also commit to selling Louisiana shrimp.


Source: MiamiHerald.com.  Outback Commits to Sell Louisiana Shrimp.  October 7, 2009.


United States

Louisiana—World Aquaculture Society, Proceedings of Special Session on Shrimp Farming


I’ve posted a summary of The Rising Tide, the proceedings of the World Aquaculture Society’s Special Session on Sustainable Shrimp Farming in Veracruz, Mexico (September 2009), to the Free Reports section of this site.  Edited by Drs. Craig L. Browdy and Darryl F. Jory, it contains 316 pages and 28 papers, each with a long list of references.  Many of the papers have charts, tables and black and white photos.  For a list of the papers and their authors, click here.


Source: Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International, October 21, 2009.

United States

Louisiana—New Orleans, NFI Annual Meeting


At the National Fisheries Institute (NFI) annual meeting in New Orleans (September 2009), Warren Connelly, an attorney at Akin Gump (based in Washington, DC), which represented some Ecuador-based shrimp companies in the dumping case, said the dumping complaint filed by USA shrimp fishermen and producers against foreign shrimp suppliers had “absolutely no effect” on market conditions.


“Total import volumes and prices are about the same if not lower, so that leads us to conclude it can’t be dumping that’s causing the problems for domestic suppliers,” Connelly said.


Connelly said revoking the dumping duties against foreign suppliers won’t have any meaningful effect on the USA industry.  “There may be some slight shifting of supplies, but that’s about it as far as we can tell,” he said.


Still, it’s worthwhile to pursue revocation of the duties when the International Trade Commission begins its sunset review of the duties in January 2010, said Connelly.  “There is a chance the order may get revoked,” he said.  “My recommendation is we ought to take our best shot at it.”


Source: Boletin Informativo (Ecuador’s Camara Nacional de Acuacultura).  Editor, Jorge Tejada (jtejada@cna-ecuador.com).  Too much shrimp, not enough marketing.  October 6, 2009.


United States

Mississippi—Annual Freshwater Prawn Conference


The ninth annual meeting of the United States Freshwater Prawn Growers Association (USFPGA) will be held on December 4 and 5, 2009, in Tunica, Mississippi.  The meeting will take place at the Gold Strike Casino Resort in Tunica.  Make reservations by calling the casino’s reservation department at 1-888-245-7829.  In order to receive the group rate, callers must mention their affiliation with the US Freshwater Prawn Growers Association, Inc.


Registration Fee: If you register before November 3, 2009, the fee is $100.00.




New Growers

Design Challenges in Low Temperature Warehousing

Strategies for Live Shipping of Warehoused Prawns

Short-term Warehousing

Feeding Updates

On-Farm Quality Assurance Programs

Panel Discussion

Advertising Options

Updates on Process and Production in Other States

Liming Ponds

Aquatic Weed Management

Flavor Enhancements


Information: Dolores Fratesi (phone 1-662-390-3528, email usprawngrowers@yahoo.com, webpage http://www.freshwaterprawn.org).


Source: Aquacontacts Mail Group News (USDA).  From: Gary Jensen (gjensen@csrees.usda.gov).  US Freshwater Prawn Growers Association (USFPGA) Annual Meeting.  Ron Pigue, USFPSGA President.  April 16, 2009.

United States

Texas—Aquaculture of Texas, a Freshwater Prawn Hatchery


In Texas, research on the freshwater prawn (Macrobrachium rosenbergii) was abandoned in the 1970s, but Craig Upstrom of Aquaculture of Texas, Inc., a freshwater prawn hatchery in Weatherford, apparently didn’t get the message and has developed a successful and sustainable prawn hatchery that has survived in a tough industry for 21 years, making it the oldest and largest freshwater prawn hatchery in the USA.  Located in a 1,394-square-meter metal building on Interstate Highway 20 just west of Fort Worth, Upstrom manages the hatchery and is its majority shareholder.  He produces six million postlarval shrimp each spring.  Upstrom says it takes about $100,000 to pay the bills each year, but somehow it gets done.  Two other prawn hatcheries have been built in the eastern USA recently, and they have cut into Upstrom’s sales.


Because he runs the hatchery himself, with a part-time assistant, Upstrom needs more time to work on genetics and developing a substitute larval diet to replace expensive Artemia.  Dr. Delbert Gatlin of Texas A&M University’s Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences Department plans to visit the hatchery and explore the possibility of placing some undergraduate interns there during the summer to work on needed research.


In Texas, farmed prawns sell for about $17.60 a kilogram.


Information: Craig Upstrom, Aquaculture of Texas, Inc., 4141 East IH-10 Service Road North, Weatherford, Texas 76087, USA (phone 1-817-594-4872, email upstrom5@airmail.net, webpage http://www.aquacultureoftexas.com).


Information: Granvil Treece, Aquaculture Specialist, Texas A&M University, Sea Grant College Program, 2700 Earl Rudder Freeway South, Suite 1800, College Station, Texas 77845, USA (phone 1-979-845-7527, fax 1-979-845-7525, email g-treece@neo.tamu.edu, website http://texas-sea-grant.tamu.edu).


Source: World Aquaculture (the quarterly magazine of the World Aquaculture Society).  Editor-in-Chief, Robert Stickney.  Freshwater Shrimp Culture Is Alive and Well in Texas.  Granvil Treece.  Volume 40, Number 3, Page 32, September 2009.


United States

Virginia—Biofloc Feed “Truly Exceptional”


Abstract: Microbial flocs produced in suspended growth bioreactors could offer the shrimp industry a novel alternative feed.  In this study, microbial flocs were produced in sequencing batch reactors (SBRs) using tilapia effluent and sugar as a growth media.  It was determined that 1 kg of microbial floc could be produced per 1.49 kg of sucrose.


The microbial floc was tested as an ingredient for shrimp feed over a 35-day feeding trial.  Two control diets without microbial flocs were compared to three diets with microbial flocs.  Control 1 and microbial floc diets (diets 1–3) were formulated to be equivalent for levels of crude protein, total fat, crude fiber, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium.  Controls 1 and 2 did not contain microbial flocs and differed slightly from each other in soybean oil, krill meal and mineral/salt levels.  For diet 1 (microbial floc 7.8%) and diet 2 (microbial floc 15.6%), soybean protein isolate was replaced with microbial flocs at a 7.8 and 15.6% inclusion level on a dry matter basis.  For diet 3, fishmeal was replaced with microbial flocs at 7.8% and fish oil at 0.50% (microbial floc 7.8% + fish oil).


Four juvenile Litopenaeus vannamei were stocked per tank and each dietary treatment was tested in 12 replicates over a 35 day feeding trial.  No differences were observed between final survival rates (93 to 100%) in any of the dietary treatments.  Growth (weight gain per week) for control 1, control 2, diet 1, diet 2 and diet 3 were respectively 1.09 ± 0.14, 0.88 ± 0.14, 1.64 ± 0.03, 1.61 ± 0.03 and 1.63 ± 0.04 grams per week.  The total gain in weight for the three diets containing microbial floc of 8.07 to 8.18 grams in five weeks with an initial weight of 0.44 ± 0.005 grams is truly exceptional.  Tukey’s HSD (Honestly Significant Differences) test revealed that each of the three microbial floc diets significantly (P < 0.01) outperformed each control in terms of weight gain per week with no differences in survival.


Source: AquacultureMicrobial Floc Meal as a Replacement Ingredient for Fish Meal and Soybean Protein in Shrimp Feed.  David D. Kuhn (davekuhn@vt.edu, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061, USA), Gregory D. Boardman, Addison L. Lawrence, Lori Marsh and George J. Flick, Jr.  Volume 296, Issues 1-2, Pages 51–57, November 1, 2009.



Organized Shrimp Thieves Know When to Hit Farms


Despite relentless efforts by shrimp farmers, organized shrimp thieves continue to prey on ponds that are ready for harvest.


Nguyen Van Be, a shrimp farmer in Bac Lieu Province (Mekong Delta), has been hit three times and lost a ton of shrimp.  He said, “The thieves were also watching me while I was watching out for them and they would make use of any moment I leave the ponds, to have lunch or dinner for example.”


The thieves know which ponds are ready for harvest, said Quach Thanh Moc who has hired four men to guard his 1.5-hectare shrimp farm.


Farmer Trinh Thanh Lam has spent thousands of dollars fencing his ponds, hanging electric lights around them and positioning three guards, but these measures have not been foolproof.


Le Anh Xuan, who has invested more than $5,600 to light up his shrimp ponds at night and hired guards who are housed in ten tents pitched around the ponds, said, “I am still robbed once in a while.”


Police officer Truong Minh Khoi, who has chased shrimp thieves several times, recalled one case in March 2009 when more than 20 thieves armed with swords plotted to rob a shrimp farm.  They even brought mosquito nets to protect themselves while they waited for the right time to attack.  Outnumbered, Khoi said his force fired its guns into the air and scared off the attackers, except for one, who had fallen asleep before the raid and slept through all the commotion.


A gang of seven shrimp thieves that was caught early in 2009 told police that one member would keep watch, two would scatter feed to attract the shrimp, two would work the nets—and two would wait on motorbikes to drive others away at short notice.


Source: Shrimp Farms Robbed Despite Precautions.  Tran Thanh Phong.  August 26, 2009.

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