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Questions About Biofloc Shrimp Farming

 

This discussion took place on the Shrimp List, a mailing list for the shrimp farming industry.

 

David Strnad (dave_strnad@yahoo.com): I have been studying indoor shrimp farming for a while and have successfully harvested a small batch of shrimp.  I’m still learning and have no formal training in marine biology.  I have a couple of questions about biofloc systems:

 

1. It appears that more fish can be raised in a gallon of water than shrimp.  I was under the impression that this was because shrimp needed a lot of surface area.  Now, I am reading that dissolved oxygen (DO) is the limiting factor to increased shrimp densities.  Which position is correct?

 

2. Most of my experience has been with zero-exchange, biofloc systems.  Is it possible to mature and breed Pacific white shrimp (Penaeus vannamei) in biofloc systems?  Can you grow larvae and PLs in biofloc systems?

 

Sean Mulvey (smulvey1@rochester.rr.com): The king of all indoor shrimp farming may be Russ Allen in Michigan.  Look him up and see if he wants to mentor you.  He is world-renowned.

 

Eric De Muylder (eric.de.muylder@skynet.be): Hello Dave, The problem of intensive shrimp farming is indeed density (10kg/m³, maybe a little more, is the maximum), which is far below finfish (up to 200 kg/m³).  The problem is not DO, which could be supplied through pure oxygen if necessary.  I believe the main problem is molting.  In intensive systems, shrimp don’t have a place to hide after they molt.  Their shells are soft.  They can’t move or defend themselves.  Beginning with their legs, their tank mates quickly cannibalize them.  Adding substrates and hiding places helps alleviate the problem.

 

The other problem at high densities is blackspot, spots on the shell that don’t affect the health of the shrimp, but do lower the price you can get for them.  For maintaining broodstock at breeding centers, bioflocs are a plus because they provide fresh nutrients for the shrimp.  I wouldn’t use bioflocs to culture larvae because up to 0.4 grams, postlarvae are not able to cope with bioflocs and prefer microalgae.  After that, they start benefiting from the presence of bioflocs.

 

By the way, I have developed a small turnkey system for intensive shrimp farming, called CreveTope.

 

Gintas Stasys Zavadzkas Leon (gleon@yahoo.com): Dave, As Eric pointed out, you can inject oxygen, but because equipment and energy costs are high, oxygen is mostly used at breeding centers and hatcheries.  Try to find a cheaper solution, like regenerative blowers.

 

With regard to culturing larvae in a biofloc system, I think it’s a good idea because it requires less feed and labor, especially if there’s some algae in your water.  The management of these systems is complex and results can be mixed, depending on the your degree of expertise.  You need a specific probiotic for your system, and the design of your hatchery must accommodate bacterial management, not just larvae, algae and water management.

 

Jeff Peterson (h2ofarmer@gmail.com): You should also check out the work done by the Waddell Mariculture Research Center in Bluffton, South Carolina.  Contact Al Stokes.  Please contact me [Jeff] offline if you need more information.

 

David Strnad (dave_strnad@yahoo.com): Thanks everyone, for your helpful input.  I have talked to Russ Allen, he is a wealth of knowledge and very helpful!  In fact that is where my shrimp came from.  I still have a few perking along after a year.  They have kind of hit a roadblock mostly due to my lack of ambition over the winter.  So now I’m getting some new water started to see if I can take them further.

 

Source: The Shrimp List (a mailing list for shrimp farmers).  Shrimp System Capacity.  February 28 to March 22–23, 2010.

 

 

Country Reports

 

Australia

Shrimp Farm Managers Jailed for Illegally Importing Shrimp Feed

 

Fortune Enterprises Australia and Hamilton Prawn Farms have pleaded guilty to illegally importing shrimp feed and were each fined $40,000.  In association with those guilty pleas, three shrimp farm managers—Fang Che Yang, Mission Beach, Queensland; Hsein Chin Tsai, Proserpine, Queensland; and Chung Yan Lee, Yamba, New South Wales—were jailed.  On March 31, 2010, in a District Court in Brisbane, Fang Che Yang and Chung Yan Lee pleaded guilty to illegal importation and were sentenced to jail for three years.  Hsein Chin Tsai pleaded guilty to aiding illegal imports and perverting the course of justice and was jailed for four years.

 

Source: ABC News.  Prawn Farmers Jailed for Illegal Imports.  Ken Orr.  April 1, 2010.

Bangladesh

Prime Minister Backs Eco-Friendly Shrimp Farming

 

On April 1, 2010, Abdul Latif Biswas, Fisheries and Livestock Minister, said the government is working to formulate an eco-friendly shrimp farming policy through consultation with environmentalists.  He said the present government under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was committed to building a poverty-free, self-reliant Bangladesh through a massive promotion of fisheries and the farming of livestock.

 

The minister was addressing a grand national conference in Khulna, the heart of the shrimp farming industry in southwest Bangladesh.  Thousands of stakeholders from the shrimp farming industry attended the conference, aimed at enhancing export earnings of eco-friendly shrimp.  Latif Biswas said a food quality control act and a new policy on hatchery biosecurity had already been passed by the national parliament.

 

He said, “We will consult with specialists to find ways on making an eco-friendly agriculture, fish cultivation and species of paddy that will grow on the land with salinity.”  He also said the government has allocated $5 million for the Aila affected shrimp farmers and it will import another LC-MS MS machine to test for antibiotics in the Khulna and Chittagong regions.

 

Sk Abdul Baki, Vice President of Bangladesh Frozen Food Exporters Association (BFFEA), gave the inaugural speech.

 

Other Speakers at the Conference:

 

• Talukder Abdul Khaleque, Mayor of Khulna City Corporation (KCC)

• Md Golam Hossain, Commerce Ministry

• Md Mozibur Rahman, Director General of Fisheries Directorate

 

In Attendance:

 

• Md Musa, BFFEA President

• Syed Mahmudul Huq, Chairman of Bangladesh Shrimp and Fish Foundation

• Samity Dr Aftabuzzaman, President of National Shrimp Farmers

• Sheikh Safiuddin Ahmed, President of Bangladesh Galda Hatchery Association

• Mainuddin Ahmed, President of Bangladesh Lobster Hatchery Association

• Samity Gazi Rahmatullah Dadu (Beer Pratik), President of Khulna Divisional
Shrimp Cultivation

• Aziz Ahmed, President of Kaliganj Depot Owners Association

• Molla Shamsur Rahman Shaheen, President of Khulna Shrimp

Farmers Association

 

Source: The New Nation.  Govt to Formulate Eco-Friendly Shrimp Policy.  April 3, 2010.

Bangladesh

University of Maryland—Helping Bangladesh with Shrimp Farming

 

The University of Maryland has signed an agreement of cooperation with the Bangladesh Shrimp and Fish Foundation to help Bangladesh develop high-quality shrimp exports.

 

The agreement was signed by Dr. C.D. Mote, Jr., President of the University of Maryland, and Syed Mahmudul Huq, Chairman of Bangladesh Shrimp and Fish Foundation.

 

Syed Mahmudul Huq said because shrimp is a labor intensive product, Bangladesh is the best country in the world to supply it to the buyers.  “If we can maintain its food quality, no other country could compete with us in this vitally important export trade.”  He added that the agreement with the University of Maryland would include research and training activities, conferences and the exchange of scholars.

 

Source: The New Nation.  BSFF Signs Agreement with Maryland University on Quality Shrimp Production.  April 5, 2010.

China

Polychaete Farm

 

Qidong King Power Polychaete Aquaculture Farm, Co., Ltd., (a subsidiary of the Lim Shrimp Organization) has a joint venture with Delta Farm BV (the largest polychaete farm in the European Union) to produce disease-free polychaetes from a farm in Qidong, Jiangsu Province, China.  The farm has already been operating for one year, and $10 million has been invested in the project.  In 2010, it plans buy more land, build more ponds and expand its production.

 

In China, most broodstock facilities purchase wild-caught polychaetes with no guarantee that they are disease free.  The Qidong King Power Farm produces worms that are guaranteed disease-free.  It imports disease-free polychaetes larvae from the European Union, grows them to adults and sells them to shrimp broodstock facilities around the world.  The farm currently produces 25 metric tons of worms a year, with plans to produce 50 tons in 2010/2011.

 

Information: Djames Lim, Chief Executive Officer, Lim Shrimp Organization (phone +65 90622467, email djameslim@limshrimp.com, webpage http://www.polychaeteworm.com).

 

Source: Email to Shrimp News International from Djames Lim.  Subject: News-China.  April 2, 2010.

 

Ecuador

Video—The “Right Choice Shrimp”

 

For a four-and-a-half-minute video of a restaurant owner named Mark talking to his staff about recommending the “Right Shrimp” to customers, click on the link in Source (below).  Mark starts with all the standard arguments against farmed shrimp from Asia, ending with, “We don’t touch any farmed shrimp from Asia.”  Next he claims that Gulf of Mexico shrimp is a bad choice because of bycatch and environmental issues.

 

He then goes on to say:

 

“Ecuador from the get-go saw the problems that were happening in Asia, so they’re going to like avoid that and set some rigorous standards, everything from the densities, to hormones, to antibiotics, all that kind of stuff.  So, we buy here, at the restaurant, the ‘Right Choice Shrimp’, that’s as close as you can get to organic without being certified organic.  These shrimp have no hormones, no antibiotics, no phosphates in the packing, no chemicals in the packing.  We have an Ecuadorean white shrimp called the ‘Right Choice Shrimp’, farmed in a low density system.  It’s an awesome, awesome shrimp and we’ve been using it for years.”

 

Source: You Tube.  Choosing the Right Shrimp.M4V.  March 26, 2010.

 

Malaysia

New Technologies for Treating Shrimp Diseases

 

• Biosecurity does not always protect a crop of shrimp from disease.

• The search for a DNA vaccine based on the VP-28 viral coat protein of WSSV
has given mixed results.

• Probiotics and immunostimulants have not shown their efficacy in actual field
conditions against outbreaks of virulent strains of WSSV.

• Gene silencing is still impractical for commercial applications.

• Transgenic shrimp face a host of issues, including market acceptance.

 

This study reports on two new methodologies that show potential for controlling shrimp viruses like whitespot.  The first is the development of a multi-functional oral-delivery recombinant protein called “RetroMAD1”.  In laboratory tests, using a commercial pellet sprayed with RetroMAD1, whitespot was “eliminated” in 92% of shrimp after four days.  The shrimp in the untreated control were 96% virus positive.

 

The second technology is a novel preparation of LPS, β-glucan.  This preparation has been field tested in 25 ponds in an actual WSSV outbreak with the result of all ponds surviving the outbreak despite being WSSV positive, confirmed by PCR.

 

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: The Abstracts of Asia Pacific Aquaculture 2009 (on CD).  Antiviral Proteins and Up-Regulating Viral Accommodation Are Two New Ways to Mitigate Shrimp Viral Outbreaks.  Ung Eng Huan (huanung@yahoo.com, Biosatria, Sdn., Bhd., TB42S4 Mile 1, Jalan Kuhara, 91000 Tawau, Sabah, Malaysia), Awang Mohd. Sagaf bin Abu Bakar and Simon Ong.  Malaysia, November 2009.

 

Thailand

Reaping the Advantages of Consistent Production

 

The current outbreak of infectious myonecrosis (IMN) virus at shrimp farms in Indonesia and Brazil is likely to widen the export market for Thai shrimp, said Arthon Piboonthanapatana, secretary-general of the Thai Frozen Foods Association.  To keep IMN out, Thailand has banned imports of three types of shrimp from Indonesia and Brazil.

 

Indonesia is the world’s second-largest shrimp exporter after Thailand and competes with Thai shrimp in the USA and Japanese markets.  In 2009, Indonesia sold 37,297 metric tons of shrimp to Japan, and Thailand sold 36,000 tons to Japan.  In the USA, however, Thailand sold almost twice as much shrimp as Indonesia: 176,870 tons versus Indonesia’s 90,000 tons.

 

In 2010, The Thai Frozen Foods Association forecasts exports of Thai shrimp at 405,541 metric tons: 243,324 tons of raw frozen shrimp and 162,216 tons of processed products.  Export revenue is expected to climb by 7.6% from 2009 to $2.79 billion: $1.5 billion from fresh shrimp and $1.3 billion from processed products.  Srirat Rastapana, director-general of the Thai Department of Export Promotion, said strong exports in the first two months of 2010 suggest the growth forecasts will be met.  In the first two months of 2010, exports of chilled and frozen shrimp rose by 36%, compared to the same period in 2009.  The value rose 31% to about $198 million.

 

Source: Bangkok Post.  Thai Shrimp Likely to Gain from Limited World Supply.  April 5, 2010.

Timor Leste

An Independent Country on the Eastern End of Timor Island

 

In December 2009, the government of Democratic Republik of Timor-Leste appointed the Lim Shrimp Organization as the national advisor for its Aquaculture Livelihood Program.  Lim Shrimp is planning a 200-hectare pilot project in Timor Leste that will grow eco-friendly shrimp for the European and Japanese markets.  Stocking of the first crop is scheduled for May 2010.  Phase-1 of this project will cost around $25 million.  The project will benefit and create livelihoods for at least 1,000 families, approximately 3,000 people.

 

Information: Djames Lim, CEO, Lim Shrimp Organization (phone +65 90622467, email djameslim@limshrimp.com).

 

Source: Email from Djames Lim to Shrimp News International.  Subject: Timor Leste News.  April 4, 2010.

 

United States

Hawaii—Oceanic Institute, Manipulating Shrimp Cholesterol Levels with Feed

 

From Abstract: Shrimp tail meat is high in cholesterol and a poor source of highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFA).  At the Oceanic Institute, two trials were conducted to determine if rearing shrimp (Penaeus vannamei) to market size (15–20 grams) on a low cholesterol, high-HUFA (highly unsaturated fatty acids) diet would improve the nutritional profile of the tail muscle.  A low-cholesterol, high-HUFA diet was formulated.  Juvenile shrimp were fed in outdoor tanks under flow-through conditions.

 

The results showed that cholesterol levels could be lowered and HUFA levels increased, while maintaining good growth rates.

 

Source: Journal of the World Aquaculture SocietyEffect of Diet Manipulation on Cholesterol and Docosahexaenoic Acid Levels in Shrimp, Litopenaeus vannamei.  Ian P. Forster (Oceanic Institute, 41-202 Kalaniana’ole Highway, Waimanalo, Hawaii 96795, USA), Warren G. Dominy and Leonard G. Obaldo.  Volume-41, Issue-2, Pages 240-249, March 24, 2010.

United States

Maine—New Technology Counts Larvae, Postlarvae and Adults

 

AXAT, a company based in Holden, Maine, has received a $13,000 grant from the Maine Technology Institute to help it further develop and commercialize its remote-sensing technology that counts and measures farmed fish and shellfish—all the way down to the tiniest larvae and their feed!  AXAT partners Cody Andrews, 23, and Robitaille, 25, both Maine Maritime Academy graduates, said the technology has the potential to change the global aquaculture industry.

 

Mercedes Grandin, a contributing editor at SeafoodSource.com, recently interviewed Valerie Robitaille:

 

Mercedes Grandin: What does the laser technology reveal about the fish?

 

Valerie Robitaille: Our system can provide information about the texture and pigmentation of organisms ranging from a few microns to several centimeters.

 

We are focusing our efforts on developing algorithms that can provide information about:

 

• The size and quantity of marine organisms in a body of water

• The quantity of live feed in the water, like Artemia and rotifers

• The concentration of suspended sediments in the water, like waste and clay

• The fitness level of the marine organisms.

 

The sensors in our system can also detect changes in pigmentation and texture and could potentially be used to track early signs of abnormal parasite infection such as sea lice or other diseases.

 

Mercedes Grandin: When do you expect hatcheries to start using your technology?

 

Valerie Robitaille: Currently, we are working with the University of Maine’s Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research to test our beta prototype.  Our projected goal at the end of this funding period is to have a functioning beta prototype that will produce results with only minimal human input.  The next step for AXAT will be optimizing the hardware and software components of the system and assessing the capabilities of the device in commercial hatcheries.  We are hoping to reach this goal by fall 2010.

 

Information: The Maine Technology Institute.

 

Source: SeafoodSource.com.  Editor Steven Hedlund (shedlune@divcom.com).  Q&A: Aquaculture Technology Breakthrough?  Mercedes Grandin.  March 26, 2010.

United States

Michigan—Russ Allen

 

In this online report, Russ Allen, who runs a small, indoor shrimp farm and market in Okemos, described his mission to journalist, Corinna Borden at AnnAbror.com (an online digital media company).  “My goal is to create an industry here in Michigan, not just a little shrimp farm.  That is what I am actively working on right now.  I am looking to raise the money for the first commercial project.”

 

“We never expected that it would be competitive to grow shrimp this way.  Through the process of developing the technology and learning a lot about what was going on here in the States, we learned that it can be done on a commercial scale.  It can be the cheapest way to farm shrimp in the world and the most environmentally friendly way.  We can compete with China.”

 

The biggest cost in aquaculture is feed.  Allen says, “Our feeds are the same as the other feeds.  But in the United States we have the cheapest grain costs in the world.  Through our system we have shown we can grow shrimp with less than a one-to-one conversion ratio.  We can grow one pound of shrimp with less than one pound of food.”

 

“Everything is reused.  Shrimp are bacterial grazers.  The waste turns into bacteria and the bacteria turns into food for the shrimp.  In the end we don’t have any significant waste or sludge because we are recycling everything.  The bacteria are doing it for us.”

 

Allen is adding a 2,600-square-foot greenhouse to his farm—to do research on yellow perch and whitefish.  He thinks the fish ponds will be a good source of algae for his shrimp.  For a short video (thirty seconds) of Allen’s greenhouse-enclosed, recirculating fish culture system, click here.

 

Michigan consumes ten million pounds of shrimp a year.  Allen thinks it would be great if shrimp farms in Michigan met that demand—and the demand for the 1.5 billion pounds of shrimp the United States imports every year!

 

Information: Russell Allen, President, Seafood Systems, Inc., 3450 Meridian Road, Okemos, Michigan 48863, USA (phone 1-517-347-5537, email shrimpone@aol.com).

 

Source: AnnAbror.com.  The Shrimp Farm Market’s Vision for a Michigan Shrimp Industry.  Corinna Borden.  April 7, 2010.

United States

Virginia—Freshwater Prawn Nursery Destroyed by Fire

 

On April 2, 2010, a fire destroyed Strawberry Creek Shrimp Farm, a freshwater prawn nursery, causing $60,000 in damage and killing 375,000 prawns.  “We’re done,” said Leilani Cochran, who owns Strawberry Creek Shrimp Farm with her husband Eddie.  “Six years of work, just...whooof!”  The business was looking forward to its first profitable year.  Foul play is not suspected, but the cause of the fire remains unknown, said Steve Bowman Pittsylvania County Fire Marshal.  The Cochrans were insured.

 

The farm grew postlarval prawns (Macrobrachium rosenbergii) to the juvenile stage and then sold them to 17 prawn farms in Virginia and North Carolina.  It planned to begin deliveries in May, Leilani said.

 

The Cochrans said the fire likely spells the end of their business.

 

Update: The Cochrans originally thought the fire killed all 375,000 prawns.  But later, they discovered that half, maybe more, were still alive.  Owner Eddie Cochran says he’ll be able to fill all his orders.  “We’re going to take care of those farmers the best we can,” Cochran said on April 7, 2010.  “No one will be left hanging.  …Nobody (who ordered shrimp) will be without shrimp.”

 

Farmers who need more juveniles can order them from Cochran’s supplier in Texas.

 

Sources: 1. Danville News.  Fire Destroys Chatham Shrimp Nursery.  John Crane.  April 2, 2010.  2. Danville News.  Some Prawns May Have Survived Friday Fire in Pittsylvania County.  John Crane.  April 7, 2010.

United States

Virginia—Job, Spiny Lobster Research

 

The Old Dominion University Research Foundation is seeking applicants for a two-year postdoctoral research associate position to work under the direction of Professor Mark Butler on a NSF-funded project using the Caribbean spiny lobster-PaV1 virus as a model.

 

Location: The project’s main field research site in the Florida Keys, with travel to other Caribbean field sites and to the project’s home base at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.

 

Salary: $35,000 a year, plus benefits.

 

Start Date: May 2010.

 

Information: Specify Job #10008.  Old Dominion University Research Foundation, P.O. Box 6369, Norfolk, Virginia 23508, USA (email odurfjobs@odu.edu).

 

Source: Crust-L, an email-based mailing list for crustacean scientists (To subscribe, send an email to LISTPROC@VIMS.EDU.  In the body of the email, put SUBSCRIBE CRUST-L).  Subject: [CRUST-L:4689] Postdoc Available.  From: Jeffrey Shields (jeff@vims.edu).  April 2, 2010.

United States/Mexico

Washington, DC—USA Bans Imports of Ocean-Caught Shrimp from Mexico

 

The Associated Press reports: On April 20, 2010, Mexico will no longer be able to export ocean-caught shrimp to the United States because the turtle excluder devices used by Mexican fishermen no longer meet USA standards.  USA rules require that exporters use excluders comparable to those used by American shrimpers.  Mexico’s National Fisheries Council said that it was working with USA experts to remedy the situation as soon as possible and expressed hope that its shrimp fleet could be recertified following new inspections in August and September 2010.  The council noted that the USA action applied only to shrimp harvested in the open ocean, which accounts for only about 20 percent of Mexico’s annual shrimp production.  Most of Mexico’s shrimp are caught in shallow coastal waters or are farmed.

 

Source: The Associated Press.  US to Ban Wild-Harvest Shrimp Imports from Mexico.  March 25, 2010.

 

Vietnam/Japan

Vietnam-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement

 

The Vietnam-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, effective June 2009, has reduced and eliminated tariffs on Vietnamese seafood, textiles and vegetables that are exported to Japan.  The Vietnam Seafood Export and Processing Association said tariff reductions have increased the competitiveness of Vietnamese products compared to those from other countries in the region.  Japan is now Vietnam’s largest buyer of frozen shrimp, with imports worth $400 million in 2009, almost 30 percent of Vietnam’s shrimp exports.  In the first two months of 2010, seafood exports to Japan were worth $89.7 million, 11.6 percent higher than the same period in 2009.

 

Source: VietnamNews.  Viet Nam Looks to Take Advantage of Japan Trade Treaty.  April 3, 2010.

Vietnam

Mekong Delta—Soc Trang Province

 

There are now around 50,000 households farming shrimp in Soc Trang Province.  In 2010, the province plans to grow shrimp in 48,000 hectares of ponds.

 

Over the next three years, the province aims to increase earnings for all stakeholders in the shrimp production chain by producing high-quality, environmentally friendly products that meet the high requirements of both domestic and foreign customers.

 

Source: VASEP.com.  Soc Trang: Codes Shrimp Farming Area and Build Brand for Shrimp Farming Zone.  March 29, 2010.

 

Information: Djames Lim, CEO, Lim Shrimp Organization (phone +65 90622467, email djameslim@limshrimp.com).

 

Source: Email from Djames Lim to Shrimp News International.  Subject: Timor Leste News.  April 4, 2010.

 

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