Australia Tells the World about
Interview with Dr. Nigel Preston, Lead Researcher
After ten years of painstaking research, culminating with commercial-scale growout trials, Australia’s CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) and the country’s shrimp farming industry have announced the development of a new breed of tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon).
CSIRO’s Food Futures Flagship program has already transferred the technology and founder broodstock to three, private sector shrimp breeding facilities associated with three of the country’s leading shrimp farms, which harvested their first crops of the new breed in 2009, and the yields were astonishing!
The new breed improved pond yields by more than 50 percent. The average industry productivity for farmed shrimp in Australia was five metric tons per hectare. The new breed produced an average of 12.8 metric tons per hectare. After eight generations of selective breeding at one Australian prawn farm, the average yield of the new breed in 2010 was 17.5 tons per hectare. One pond produced 24.2 tons per hectare—a world record for tiger shrimp!
Independent economic analysis indicates that if all the tiger shrimp farms in Australia adopted the new breed, their production would increase from 5,000 tons a year to 12,500 tons and add over $100 million to the value of the industry by 2020, and that’s assuming no new ponds or farms.
Over the last two years, in taste tests at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, the new breed won five gold medals including the highest award possible: “Champion of Show”. Gold Coast Marine Aquaculture farmed the award-winning shrimp.
The breeding facilities use genetic markers to track their animals, which makes natural mating in ponds a cost-effective alternative to maintaining families in separate tanks.
In a dry country that appears to be getting drier, it is important to note that marine shrimp farming is a drought-proof industry, not dependent on rain or precious fresh water, and there is a huge potential for economically and environmentally sustainable shrimp farming on the country’s northern coast.
The new breed should provide a big boost to the country’s shrimp farming industry. Currently, about 50 percent of all the shrimp sold in Australia are imported from shrimp farms in China and Vietnam.
Dr. Nigel Preston
At CSIRO’s webpage, you can download or listen to a six-minute interview with Dr. Nigel Preston, the lead researcher on the shrimp-breeding project. Glen Paul, communications officer at CSIRO, conducted the interview. Here’s an edited transcript of it:
Glen Paul: G’day and welcome to CSIROPOD. My guest today (July 2, 2010) is Nigel Preston who joins me on the phone from Qingdao, China. How are things in China this morning Nigel?
Nigel Preston: Wonderful, this is a country that produces one and a half million metric tons of farmed shrimp a year, compared to Australia, which produces 5,000 tons.
Glen Paul: Are you in China on business?
Nigel Preston: Yes, I’m here to see how their shrimp farming industry works and to tell them how ours works.
Glen Paul: CSIRO reported that the new breed was tastier. How do you breed a shrimp that’s tastier?
Nigel Preston: We use DNA/genetic markers for taste and texture to guide our research.
Glen Paul: You’ve been working on this for ten years now. Why has it taken so long?
Nigel Preston: Actually, relative to the domestication of other farm animals, we did our work quite rapidly. It took hundreds, if not thousands of years, to domesticate most of the plant and livestock varieties used by modern agriculture.
Glen Paul: Can this technology be applied across the shrimp farming industry in Australia?
Nigel Preston: Absolutely, we already have three of Australia’s leading shrimp farms working very closely with us to breed their own stocks and the technology is available to the entire industry.
Glen Paul: Are you in China to promote this new research?
Nigel Preston: China has a huge problem. It can lose up to half its shrimp harvest to virus diseases every year. We’re very keen to know what threat that might pose to our stocks and what measures need to be taken when a virus strikes an industry.
Glen Paul: Do you think you could breed resistance to shrimp diseases?
Nigel Preston: Yes, we’ve already made big strides toward that. With each generation, we’ve been able to make them more resistant to the viruses.
Glen Paul: Have you visited any shrimp farms in China?
Nigel Preston: We visited a half dozen shrimp farms in Guangdong Province, and we’re going to visit some more up north, but I’m really here for a scientific conference, and there’s a lot of interest here in what we’re doing in Australia.
Glen Paul: I occasionally check out shrimp prices at the supermarket, and imported shrimp is always a lot cheaper than domestic shrimp. When are we likely to see Australia product competitive with imported product?
Nigel Preston: Consumers understand quality and don’t mind paying more for a product that’s fresher—a standard of quality for all seafood. If it’s fresher, larger, higher quality and a local product, people don’t mind paying a little more.
Information: Dr. Nigel Preston, Theme Leader, Breed Engineering, Food Futures Flagship (phone 61-7-3826-7221, fax 61-7-3826-7222, email firstname.lastname@example.org).
Running Out of Shrimp
Despite having a processing capacity of more than 286,000 metric tons a year, Bangladesh exports only 50,000 tons of shrimp and prawns because the farms and fisheries can’t keep up with the demand from the processors. “We have the market but can’t feed it due to insufficient raw materials,” said Khan Habibur Rahman, senior executive director of the Lockpur Group, a shrimp exporter.
Job—Organic Shrimp Hatchery Technician
WAB Trading International, Ltd. (Asia), has a position open for a shrimp hatchery specialist (Penaeus monodon) to manage an organic shrimp hatchery that works in close association with conventional hatcheries.
Qualifications: Experience in rearing P. monodon, English speaking and writing, computer knowledge (Word, Excel, Internet). The person we are looking for must be willing to learn about organic aquaculture and must have, or develop, a sound understanding of organic compliance standards, like those of Naturland in the European Union. Scientific trials will be an essential part of the job and will be used to develop organic protocols in harmony with local conditions.
Salary: Will depend on qualifications.
Closing Date: August 1, 2010.
Information: Ganesh N. Adiga, WAB Trading International, Ltd. (Asia), 184 Ganesha Kripa, 4th Cross, S.J. Road, Jannapura, Bhadravathi - 577301, Karnataka, India (phone +918282272823, email email@example.com).
Source: AquaNic (The Aquaculture Network Information Center, a gateway to the world’s electronic aquaculture resources). Jobs Directory in cooperation with the WAS Employment Service. Search jobs. Organic Shrimp Hatchery Technician (P. monodon). June 26, 2010.
Huge New Shrimp Fisheries Found
A team of researchers at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) has discovered new populations of deep-sea shrimp in the Gulf of Mexico, from Tamaulipas to Yucatan. They found six species, all of them already fished commercially in other countries. The shrimp have the following common names: jumbo red, scarlet, royal red, purple, speckled pink and pink.
The team at the Institute of Marine Sciences and Limnology, headed by Adolph Gracia Gasca of the Laboratory of Fishery Ecology of the Crustacean, located the shrimp at depths between 300 and 1,200 meters. At present, the Mexican fleet only fishes to a depth of about 80 meters. He estimates that the shrimp inhabit an area of nearly 100,000 square kilometers.
Aonori Aquafarms, Inc.
Aonori Aquafarms, Inc. (AAI, also known as Sinaloa Seafields), a USA/Mexico startup has patented technology for growing shrimp on Aonori (Ulva clathrata), a high-protein macro-alga, and it is currently running tests and raising money for a pilot program to demonstrate the effectiveness of its technology. Benjamin Moll, Ph.D., the key inventor of the technology, leads the bi-national team.
Armando León, President and CEO of Aonori Aquafarms, who has been refining the technology since 1995, said, “With little or no dependence on marine resources, no pollution, no habitat destruction, no by-catch and no damage to sea bottoms, this is simply a better way to provide shrimp.” León says his technology lowers feed costs by at least 45% and increases growth rates by as much as 60%—with a much lower risk of disease during production.
The algae and the natural food chain in the pond provide most of the feed for the shrimp.
Biochemical oxygen demand of discharged water from Ulva ponds is lower than the intake BOD, so water pollution is not a problem. Ulva and the microfauna it supports supply a large fraction of the nutritional needs of the shrimp. “How much depends on local and seasonal conditions and stocking density,” said Leon, “so we may use supplemental feed in some phases of production. We prefer low-cost feed intended as a supplement to the microfauna, with the great majority of protein supplied by Ulva, but some conventional shrimp feed may also be used.”
Ulva can also be used for wrapping sushi and other products that take advantage of its flavor and exceptional nutritional values.
AAI plans to open a facility in San Quintín, Baja California, Mexico. This region has an optimal climate for marine aquaculture, pristine ocean water, affordable land and proximity to USA markets.
To establish the company in the marketplace and to train personnel, AAI plans to raise money for a relatively small operation consisting of 36 ponds. That startup has established an agreement with one of the largest independent developers of new food and beverage products in the United States to create a successful “Prime Shrimp” brand.
Information: Armando León, President and CEO, Aonori Aquafarms, Inc. (phone 619-704-9170, cell phone 408-439-4752, email firstname.lastname@example.org, webpage http://www.etechba.com/techba/aonori-aquafarms).
Source: GreentechMedia.com. Gulf Shrimp Oil-Tainted? Grow Them in the Pacific. Oso Oseguera. June 28, 2010.
Arevo Aquaculture and Aquaponics
Dr. Bill McGraw reports from South Africa:
I have started a new company called Arevo Aquaculture and Aquaponics. It’s the only company in South Africa with intensive shrimp farming experience. We offer fully integrated, zero-discharge shrimp and fish rearing systems that are designed to make a profit. Our systems are about ten times more productive than traditional aquaculture systems. We offer joint venture partnerships and provide consulting and full business planning for any aquaculture system from extensive to super intensive—fresh or salt water. Check out our web page!
McGraw’s website says: The name Arevo stands for “aquaculture revolution” and is the brainchild of the original managers of the former SeaArk Africa shrimp farm in Port Elizabeth.
Information: Dr. Bill McGraw, Managing Director, Arevo Aquaculture and Aquaponics, Postnet 177, Box X13130, Humerail 6013, Port Elizabeth EC, South Africa (phone +27-78-049-9350, email email@example.com, webpage http://www.arevo-aquaculture.com).
Sources: 1. Email to Shrimp News International from Dr. Bill McGraw. Subject: New Aquaculture and Aquaponics Website. June 26, 2010. 2. Arevo Aquaculture and Aquaponics Website. Website visit on July 1, 2010.
Bans Shrimp Imports from Brazil and Indonesia
On 23 March 2010, to protect the country’s shrimp farms from the infectious myonecrosis (IMN) virus, Somying Piamsomboon, Chief of Department of Fisheries, announced that imports of Penaeus vannamei, P. stylirostris and P. monodon from Brazil and Indonesia (where IMN is taking a heavy toll on shrimp farms) would no longer be allowed.
Information: Dr. Matthew Briggs (firstname.lastname@example.org), Managing Director, and David Kawahigashi (email@example.com), Managing Director, Vannamei 101, Phuket, Thailand (phone 66-76-529582, cell 66-87808-3544, website http://www.vannamei101.com).
Source: Email to Shrimp News International from Matt Briggs. Subject: Thai Government Bans Import of Shrimp from Brazil and Indonesia. June 23, 2010.
Hawaii—Kona Bay Marine Resources
Kona Bay Marine Resources (KBMR) is a shrimp breeding company focused on meeting the needs of Asian shrimp producers. Integrated Aquaculture International (IAI), a technology company offering a wide range of products and services to shrimp producers worldwide, acquired KBMR in 2009. KBMR has been in operation for over a decade and has accumulated a rich portfolio of five Penaeus vannamei lines with different national origins, selection histories and production attributes. The acquisition by IAI brought a restructuring of the KBMR breeding program with a stringent focus on commercial pond performance in Asia.
The first step in this ambitious path was conducting a comprehensive series of field performance tests in several Asian countries with the objective of evaluating all five “pure lines” and ten hybrid crosses in the target commercial environments of different customers. This will enable the choice of lines or hybrid crosses with the best performance in the different environments, the evaluation of interactions among genetic and environmental factors and the definition of the nature and format of the breeding program that will best serve KBMR and IAI customer needs and commercial interests in Asia.
A genetic test was undertaken at the KBMR breeding center in Kauai with the objective of evaluating genetic and environmental interactions between the environment in Hawaii and the different commercial pond environments in Asia. TSV (two strains) and IMNV disease challenge tests have also been conducted at the University of Arizona. This will enable the evaluation of the five “pure lines” and their ten hybrid crosses for disease resistance traits.
Multiple spawns were obtained from each “pure line” and each of the ten hybrid crosses, and their offspring were raised to juveniles at KBMR’s biosecure breeding facilities in Kauai. When the juveniles reached two grams, they were elastomer tagged and shipped to the different field test locations in Asia where they were stocked in commercial ponds harboring untagged animals of the same age under commercial densities. Commercial partners in China, Malaysia and Indonesia joined with KBMR and IAI in conducting these field trials in their production ponds. Between 150 and 200 tagged juveniles from each of the 15 “pure lines” and hybrid crosses on test were stocked in each pond in China, Malaysia and Indonesia. At harvest, tagged animals were retrieved, individually weighed and their line tags recorded and counted. The first field test was recently harvested, and the remaining three will be harvested over the next two months. Results from these field and disease challenge tests, line comparisons, hybrid vigor evaluations, genetic and environmental interactions. and trait correlations will assist the KBMR breeding program in better serving the needs and interests of Asian shrimp producers.
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).
Source: World Aquaculture Society. The CD (abstracts) of World Aquaculture 2010. Field Tests for L. vannamei Commercial Performance in Asian Ponds. Joao L. Rocha (Integrated Aquaculture International, Kona Bay Marine Resources Kauai, Hawaii USA), James Sweeney, Chris Howell and George W. Chamberlain. San Diego, California, USA, March 2010.
Hawaii—Video—High Health Aquaculture
For a 90-second video of Jim Wyban, president and CEO of High Health Aquaculture, a shrimp broodstock company, selling some of his shrimp, click on the link in the Source below. The video shows Wyban at what looks like a farmer’s market or local trade fair. He tells the reporter doing the interview: “These shrimp were swimming an hour ago...and they are U-10 sizes, which means there are ten pieces to a pound. They’re about eight months old—fresh as fresh can be.”
Wyban was selling a one-pound bag of shrimp for $12.00—and had a big smile on his face.
Source: YouTube. High Health Aquaculture, Inc. June 22, 2010.
Idaho—Jobs—Taxonomist for Marine Crustaceans and Polychaetes
EcoAnalysts has a position open for a taxonomist to identify marine crustaceans. No research.
A minimum of two years experience in North American crustacean taxonomy is required. Minimum educational qualifications are a bachelor’s degree in the biological sciences, including coursework in invertebrate zoology, marine biology or oceanography. The position also requires at least three years of full-time experience in marine taxonomy. Preference will be given to applicants with at least one year of identification experience in a production taxonomy setting.
Salary and benefits will be dependent on the experience and qualifications of the applicant. Benefits include: a flexible work schedule, vacation, sick time, health insurance (medical, vision and dental) and an employer-matched investment fund.
Send or email a letter of application, a complete resume and three professional references to Eric Torok (below). No phone calls.
Source: EcoAnalysts Webpage. Join Our Team. Website Visit on June 25, 2010.
Louisiana—Wild Shrimp Certification Program Gets $800,000
The passage of HB 1346 by Representative Gordon Dove will allow the use of up to ten percent of the deposits made annually into the Artificial Reef Development Fund to assist shrimpers and shrimp processors in participating in a new certification program being developed by the Louisiana Secretary of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Under the new law, a portion of the funds associated with the Louisiana Artificial Reef Program will be allowed for use in supporting the Louisiana wild-caught shrimp industry. HB 1346 compliments the passage of HB 890 by Representative Joe Harrison, which authorizes the Secretary of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to develop certification standards for Louisiana wild fish and seafood, including wild-caught shrimp.
HB 1346 directs approximately $800,000 per year toward the certification program.
Source: TheGovernmentMonitor.com. Louisiana Governor Jindal Highlights 2010 Legislative Package. June 22, 2010.
Nevada—Feasibility Study on New Shrimp Farm
On June 24, 2010, Wert-Berater, Inc., a provider of feasibility studies for USDA loan guarantee programs, was engaged to provide a feasibility study for a shrimp farm in the southeastern United States. Due to client confidentiality, the location and client have not been made public.
Information: Jeff Washko, Partner, Wert-Berater, Inc., 912 Channelside Drive, Suite 2805, Tampa, Florida 33602, USA (phone 1-888-661-4449, Extension 9, email email@example.com, webpage http://www.wert-berater.com); and Donald Safranek, President, Wert-Berater, Inc., (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Source: PRLog. News Release. Shrimp Farms - Feasibility Study - Wert-Berater, Inc. June 25, 2010.
Japan Purchased $500 Million Worth of Shrimp in 2009
In 2009, Vietnam exported $500 million worth of frozen shrimp to Japan.
Vo Thanh Ha, a marketing expert at the Ministry of Industry and Trade, says Japanese consumers are particularly concerned about food hygiene and processing technology. As a result, Japan has set up strict technical barriers, which hinder the growth of Vietnam’s seafood exports to Japan.
Source: VOV News. Japan - Promising Market to Vietnam’s Seafood. June 26, 2010.