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Australia’s Coral Sea Farms

Austasia Aquaculture Magazine and Dos O’Sullivan Report


The Autumn 2010 edition of Austasia Aquaculture magzine contains a long article by Dos O’Sullivan on Coral Sea Farms, a shrimp farm that operates under some of the most severe environmental regulations in the world.  Some excerpts:


In 2004, Coral Sea Farms Australia, Pty., Ltd., harvested its first crop of giant tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon), about 123 tons.  Owned and managed by South African-born Francois Naude, more than $7 million has been spent constructing and developing the 48-hectare facility.  It has 32 hectares of growout ponds and 16 hectares of settlement and water remediation ponds, just a couple of its many strong environmental protection measures.  Its $800,000 processing plant was opened in March 2007.


“Environmentally sustainable aquafarming is Coral Sea Farms’ core principle,” says Naude.  “We are located in a biodiverse natural ecosystem surrounded by a myriad of small creeks and the Hinchinbrook Channel, teeming with fish and bird life as well as being the home to populations of dugongs (marine mammals).  As the name of the farm suggests, the beautiful Coral Sea and the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef lie just offshore from the farm.”


The farm uses liners (HDPE) in all its ponds.  Although adding more than 30% to the cost of normal earthen ponds, Naude says that the extra cost of the lined ponds was worth it because they lower sediment levels and erosion costs and make disease management and bird control easier.


Naude said, “Our discharge and farming operations are heavily regulated and monitored by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (Federal) and the Queensland Environmental Protection Agency (State).  Our discharge permit allows the following water quality criteria:


• Suspended solids, 20/100 mg/L

• Total nitrates, 0.8/3.0 mg/L

• Total phosphate, 0.1/0.3 mg/L


As far as I am aware, our license conditions are the most restrictive issued to any shrimp farm, but to date we have...complied with these criteria.”


Salinity of the growout ponds is usually maintained around 15 to 28 parts per thousand, depending on the time of the year, while pH varies over the day from a low of 7.0 in the morning to a high of 8.7 when the sun is high and the phytoplankton are photosynthesizing.


Naude continues: “Coral Sea Farms’ policy is not to use chemicals, antibiotics or hormones....  As a result, at Coral Sea Farms we grow ‘clean and green’ Australian seafood, superior in taste and texture and free from harmful additives....”


“Our prawns are fed with a high-protein, fishmeal-based diets obtained from two accredited feed suppliers (Ridley Corporation Limited and Charoen Pokphand).”


“The biggest change has been our approval to stock PLs from Queensland hatcheries authorized to use Northern Territory (NT) broodstock (produced under special permits).  Another two farms are also doing this and they have both reported improvements in production.  I am convinced that East Coast (EC) broodstock are not as high quality as the NT shrimp.”


“I am quite confident that, should we be able to stock the entire farm from NT broodstock, the faster growth rates will allow us to stock all ponds twice during a financial year.  That means a doubling of our annual production, significantly increasing profitability.”


“Since John Moloney took over as farm manager three years ago we have year-on-year increased production and should easily achieve 300 tons this financial year.”


“At an average $15/kg, we will bank more than $4.4 million.”


Information: Francois Naude, Managing Director, Coral Sea Farms Australia, Pty., Ltd., P.O. Box 84, Macknade, Queensland 4850, Australia (phone 07-4777-2979, fax 07-4777-2793, mobile 0419-477-945, email naude@coralseafarms.com.au, webpage http://wwwcoralseafarms.com.au).


Source: Austasia Aquaculture.  Tim Walker, Editor-in-Chief (AustasiaAquaculture@netspace.net.au).  Coral Sea Farms’ Remarkable Recovery Following Floods.  Dos O’Sullivan.  Volume 24, Number 1, Page 3, Autumn 2010.



Country Reports


All-Female Penaeus monodon


Because female shrimp grow faster than male shrimp, stocking females only promises to improve yields and profits by 25 to 60 percent!  In this study, researchers investigated the feasibility of using the male shrimp’s androgenic gland to change female shrimp into “neomales” that could then be bred with normal females.  Penaeus monodon females (postlarvae ranging in size from 0.4-3.5 grams) were implanted with androgenic gland tissue removed from mature males.  The implanted females were then observed regularly for changes in their external sex organs.  They developed petasmata and had underdeveloped thelyca.  They will be grown to sexual maturity and then crossed with normal females to establish the feasibility of obtaining all-female progeny.


The researchers say: “Molecular characterization of the P. monodon androgenic gland (AG) was undertaken.  An AG cDNA library was constructed, and AG specific insulin-like factor (PmIAG) was isolated, similar to that of M. rosenbergii and C. quadricarinatus.  The timing of AG implantations into P. monodon female juveniles was based on the onset of PmIAG gene expression.”


“We are currently investigating the effect gene silencing using RNAi on P. monodon postlarvae.”


Sources: 1. World Aquaculture Society.  The CD of World Aquaculture 2010.  Towards Creating All Female P. Monodon Populations Through Androgenic Gland Manipulation.  Abigail Elizur (aelizur@usc.edu.au), Vijayanand R. Mareddy, Hazra Thaggard, Brian Paterson and Amir Sagi (University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland 4558, Australia; and Bribie Island Research Centre, Queensland 4507, Australia).  San Diego, California, USA, March 2010.  2. Wikipedia.  ZW Sex-Determination System.  Wikipedia Website Visit on May 6, 2010.


Robins McIntosh, A Tribute to Sir Barry Bowen


Perhaps the best-known shrimp farmer in the Western Hemisphere, Sir Barry Bowen, 64, died in a plane crash on Friday, February 26, 2010.  In the May/June 2010 online edition of the Global Aquaculture Advocate, the bimonthly magazine of the Global Aquaculture Alliance, Robins McIntosh, who helped Bowen start Belize Aquaculture, Ltd., one of the most advanced farms in the world, wrote a long tribute to Bowen.  Currently, McIntosh is Senior Vice President of Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Co., Ltd., in Thailand.


Some excerpts from McIntosh’s tribute to Bowen:


It was May 1996, and we were on a porch outside his home on Ambergris Caye....  He told me he had studied the shrimp business and was about to invest in it back in 1992, but when disease hit shrimp farms in Central America, he postponed his plans.  He decided there was too much risk in the way shrimp were being cultivated in large ponds using lots of water exchange and wild seedstock.  So he studied some more.


After a visit to the Waddell Mariculture Center in South Carolina, USA, Barry decided that the future was in smaller ponds, closed systems and disease-free, domesticated shrimp.  Then he told me his production goals for the farm: eleven metric tons per hectare per crop, with three crops a year.  I am sure I looked pretty stunned, having come from Guatemala, where the best I had ever accomplished was 7.7 mt/ha in a couple of ponds.  But in the end, I jumped on board, and we decided to go for it—even if it meant breaking all the rules of shrimp farming that were accepted in 1996.


Here are some of the contributions that Barry and Belize Aquaculture, Ltd. (BAL), made to shrimp farming:


• A farm designed to produce 11 mt/ha.  In fact, the first harvest on February 3, 1998, yielded 14 mt/ha with 92% survivals.  For the next three years, the farm averaged over 15.2 mt/ha/crop with shrimp sizes as large as 24 grams.


• A farm constructed on land with that was 12 meters above sea level.  Barry was a firm believer in being above the hurricane flood zone, which meant high pumping costs, so ponds were built to operate on little water exchange.  In fact, the phrase “zero water exchange” was coined to describe our pond management.


• A farm that practiced “green” aquaculture.  Since the farm was in an environmentally sensitive area, Barry insisted on settling and treatment ponds to receive the drainage water from pond harvests.


• A farm that was built for biosecure management.  Before any other shrimp farm owner in the Americas even knew the word or concept, Barry had ideas on biosecurity.  He knew disease could kill his project.  Barry designed a filter system that allowed us to completely filter all pond water down to 200 microns—unheard of at the time.  Harvests at BAL were always clean, never a fish, crab or wild shrimp.


• A farm based on the use of specific pathogen-free (SPF) domesticated shrimp.  Barry was not the first farmer in the Americas to use Hawaiian SPF shrimp, but he was the first to use them after an initial trial failed in Ecuador and, more importantly, the first to show the importance of SPF shrimp on a commercial farm outside of the United States.  BAL’s demonstrated success with SPF shrimp led to the acceptance of SPF broodstock around the world.


• A farm that used high-density polyethylene (HDPE) liners.  BAL was one of the first farms to demonstrate the merits of lining ponds.  A few ponds had been lined previously, but no farm had actually understood or demonstrated the benefits of lining.  BAL clearly showed that HDPE allowed quick pond turnaround times, increasing the number of harvest cycles per year.  HDPE also protected the freshwater aquifers from saltwater intrusion.  Monitor wells proved this out.


• A farm that mechanized as much as possible.  Both feeding and harvesting activities were mechanized to reduce the amount of labor required.  The farm produced 900 metric tons of shrimp with three employees.


• A modular hatchery and maturation system that operated continuously for the five years I was there.  It never required the scripted dry outs that were part of so many hatchery protocols.  By building a modularized hatchery, the operation could be run efficiently 12 months a year.


Barry was consistent in his belief that shrimp farming could be and should be done with the environment in mind.  He made Belize Aquaculture a testament to that belief.


Today, shrimp farmers and researchers routinely talk about bioflocs, limited water exchange, shrimp pedigrees, biosecurity, pushing the production envelope, and developing new markets based on freshness and green technologies.  Barry Bowen dreamed of these ideas before any of us, and he had the boldness to act on his dreams and the skill to make them happen.


Let me conclude by saying that shrimp farming was changed by Barry Bowen, changed for the better.  He gets my vote as the “Father of Modern Shrimp Farming”.


Information: Robins McIntosh, Senior Vice President, Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Co., C.P. Tower 27th Floor, 313 Silom Road, Bangrak Bangkok, 10500, Thailand (email robmc101@yahoo.com).


Source: The Global Aquaculture Advocate (online edition).  Editor, Darryl Jory (dejry2525@aol.com).  Sir Barry Bowen: The Belizean Who Changed Shrimp Farming.  Volume 13, Issue 3, Page 6, May/June 2010.


Imports Shrimp Hatchery Water from Hawaii


When it imported 2,000 Penaeus vannamei larvae from Hawaii, Zhanjiang Dacheng Aquaculture Company (Guangdong Province) also imported 81 tons of seawater from Hawaii to grow them in.  “Local water and water from Hawaii are different, for example, in their mineral content,” said Wu Changde, general manager of the importing company, which paid $60,000 for the water.  The imported seawater posed a challenge for Zhanjiang’s customs officials, who, upon receiving the declaration application, had to consult with local aquaculture professionals and other customs agencies for details on how to inspect seawater.  After a half hour, however, they cleared it.


Source: Aquafeed.com (The free E-zine for aquafeed professionals).  Chinese Shrimp Hatchery Imports Water from Hawaii.  By Editor Suzi Fraser Dominy (editor@aquafeed.com).  April 28, 2010.


Chia Tai is Charoen Pokphand


In China, the Charoen Pokphand Group (CP) is known as the Chia Tai Group.


On April 26, 2010, the Chia Tai Group signed a contract to invest more than $1 billion in three agricultural projects in Zhanjiang, Guangdong Province.  One of the projects will be a breeding center for white shrimp.


Source: Alibaba.com.  Chia Tai Inks Agricultural Contract in Zhanjiang.  April 27, 2010.


Shrimp Farm Evacuations


Environment Minister Marcela Aguinaga has begun the evacuation of Alamos II, a 253-hectare shrimp farm owned by Grupo Quirola, classifying it as illegal for operating in an unauthorized area, the Churute Mangrove Swamp Ecological Reserve in Guayas Province.  The eviction was carried out even though lawyers for Grupo Quirola said that they had property deeds.  The authorities did not destroy anything; they just let water flow into the ponds so that the mangroves could re-establish themselves.


Another 4,500 hectares of shrimp ponds will be removed from ecologically sensitive areas.


Source: FIS United StatesMinistry Justifies Shrimp Farm Evacuation.  Analia Murias (editorial@fis.com).  April 29, 2010.


Time-Lapse Video—A Day in the Life of Blue Archipelago


From opening the front gate in the morning to a beautiful sunset at the end of the day, this three-and-half-minute video uses time-lapse photography to show the employees and shrimp farming activities at Blue Archipelago’s Shrimp farm in Kedah.


Source: YouTube.  Timelapse: BAB Shrimp Farm and the Villagers (Director’s Cut).  April 21, 2010.

Saudi Arabia

National Prawn Company


At the Brussels Seafood Fair (April 27–29, 2010), Laurence Cook, director of communications at National Prawn Company (NPC), said, “The seafood industry in the Gulf is developing, and it is mostly because of a change in diet.  There is a focus in the Middle East on healthier eating, and seafood provides a healthy balanced diet.”  The fair attracted over 1,600 exhibitors and buyers and sellers from over 140 countries.


South of Jeddah, on the Red Sea, NPC has 12 farms and each farm has 10 ponds.  The farms produce a total of 15,000 tons of white shrimp a year that are sold locally and exported around the world.


Ahmad R. Al-Balla, Managing Director of NPC, said, “We cover the local market...and about 70 percent of our products is exported to Asia and Europe.”  He said that NPC, which employs 3,000 people, is completely self-sufficient, from power and water to pond, plant and infrastructure.


Source: English.GlobalArabNetwork.com.  Arab World: Seafood Industry Entering Global Markets.  Nawab Khan.  April 29, 2010.

United States

Hawaii—Aquafeed.com’s Algal Collections


Aquafeed.com has published a great list of world’s algal collections.  The following institutions are on the list:


• CSIRO Microalgae Supply Service (Australia)

• The Canadian Center for the Culture of Microorganisms (Canada)

• Canadian Phycological Culture Centre (Canada)

• Pasteur Culture Collection of Cyanobacterial Strains (France)

• Algobank, (France)

• Sammlung von Algenkulturen der Universität Göttingen (Germany)

• Microbial Culture Collection at the National Institute for Environmental
Studies, (Japan)

• Kobe University Macroalgal Culture Collection (Japan)

• Cawthron Institute Culture Collection of Micro-Algae (New Zealand)

• The Plymouth Culture Collection of Marine Algae (UK)

• Provasoli–Guillard National Center for Culture of Marine Phytoplankton (USA)

• The Culture Collection of Algae at the University of Texas at Austin (USA)


For a brief description of the collection at each institution and a direct link to its website, click here.


Source: Aquafeed.com (The free E-zine for aquafeed professionals).  Algae Collections and Services Worldwide.  Editor, Suzi Fraser Dominy (editor@aquafeed.com).  April 28, 2010.

United States

Florida—Red Lobster


On May 3, 2010, Darden Restaurants, Inc., announced the recipients of its annual “William B. Darden Distinguished Supplier Awards”.  Named for the company’s late founder, the awards recognize a select group from Darden’s more than 1,500 suppliers from around the world who “went above and beyond” to contribute to the success of the company.  Darden gave awards to 11 companies.  One of them, Thai Union Seafood, received its award “for consistently providing Red Lobster with high-quality and value-added shrimp, while maintaining focus on service, innovation, cost and sustainability”.


Source: PR Newswire.  Darden Restaurants Announces 2010 “William B. Darden Distinguished Supplier Award” Winners.  May 3, 2010.

United States

Louisiana—Shrimp Industry Bill


On April 28, 2010, a package of bills designed to bolster the state’s struggling shrimp fishing industry sailed through the State House Committee on Natural Resources and the Environment.  The bills would create a shrimp certification program for wild-caught shrimp harvested or landed in Louisiana:


• House Bill 875 would create the Louisiana Shrimp Task Force.  The group would be tasked with increasing production and marketability and helping develop a shrimp inspection program.


• House Bill 890 would create a certification program for wild-caught shrimp that is taken, harvested or landed in Louisiana.  Fishermen and seafood dealers would apply to the state for permits.


• House Bill 1346 would divert up to 10 percent of the deposits and interest income from the Artificial Reef Development Fund to the shrimp certification program.  The money could be used to subsidize harvesters and processors.


State Representative Joe Harrison, Republican-Napoleonville, who sponsored HB 875 and HB 890, said the purpose of the certification program was to bring national recognition to Louisiana shrimp.


The bills now move to the House for a vote.


Source: TheAdvocate.com.  Shrimp Industry Legislation Clears Committee.  Michelle Millhollon.  April 29, 2010.

United States

Missouri—The Global Aquaculture Alliance


George Chamberlain, president of the Global Aquaculture Alliance, an international, non-profit trade association dedicated to advancing environmentally and socially responsible aquaculture, reports: “Now, the BAP [Best Aquaculture Practices] certification program has been adopted by most major retailers in the United States and is gaining traction in the United Kingdom and elsewhere.  Over 500,000 metric tons of seafood from BAP-certified facilities enter the global market annually, and GAA has become the world’s leading aquaculture standard-setting organization.”


Information: George Chamberlain, Integrated Aquaculture International, 5661 Telegraph Road, Suite 3A, St. Louis, Missouri 63129, USA (phone 1-314-293-5500, fax 1-314-293-5525, email georgec@integratedaquaculture.com, webpage http://www.integratedaquaculture.com/index.html).


Source: The Global Aquaculture Advocate (online edition).  Editor, Darryl Jory (dejry2525@aol.com).  From the President/Past the Tipping Point.  George W. Chamberlain, Ph.D. (georgec@gaalliance.org).  Volume 13, Issue 3, Page 2, May/June 2010.


United States

Virginia—Biofloc Research


From Abstract: In this feeding trial, two types of bioflocs were used as feed ingredients for Pacific white shrimp (Penaeus vannamei).  Bioflocs were produced in sequencing batch reactors (SBR) using carbon supplementation (sucrose) and in a membrane biological reactor (MBR) without carbon supplementation.  Both types of bioflocs were produced using tilapia farm effluent as a feed for the SBR and MBR systems.  The bioflocs were dried and were used in shrimp feed as a replacement for fishmeal and/or soybean protein.  A control diet (without bioflocs) was compared against four diets with MBR bioflocs (at 10, 15, 21 and 30% inclusion levels) and SBR bioflocs (at 10, 15 and 21% inclusion levels).  At these biofloc inclusion rates, soy protein was replaced completely and fishmeal was replaced by as much as 67%.  The control and biofloc diets were formulated to be equivalent for levels of crude protein, total fat, crude fiber, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium.  Seven juvenile shrimp were stocked per tank and each dietary treatment was tested using 8 replicates over a 35-day feeding trial.  Dietary treatments had some impact on shrimp performance.  Even though no differences (P > 0.05) were observed between means for final survival (92.9% to 100%) or harvest biomass (536 to 574 g/m2), some evidence (P < 0.05) of faster growth rates was observed for diets with biofloc inclusion compared to the control diet.  Growth rates ranged from 1.44 to 1.66 grams a week.  The data indicate that bioflocs produced using either SBR or MBR systems could replace fishmeal and soybean protein.


Source: AquacultureEvaluation of Two Types of Bioflocs Derived from Biological Treatment of Fish Effluent as Feed Ingredients for Pacific White Shrimp, Litopenaeus Vannamei.  David D. Kuhn (davekuhn@vt.edu), Addison L. Lawrence, Gregory D. Boardman, Susmita Patnaik, Lori Marsh and George J. Flick, Jr. (Department of Food Science and Technology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061, USA).  Volume 303, Issues 1-4, Pages 28–33, May 24, 2010.

United States

Washington DC—Video, Aquaculture Certification Council


For a four-minute video of Steven Hedlund, editor of SeafoodSource.com, interviewing Philip Smith, CEO of the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), click on the link in the Source below.  In the interview, Smith talks about ASC’s new identity and logo, the importance of certifying farmed seafood, his experience in the aquaculture industry and competition among certification programs.


Source: SeafoodSource.com.  Editor Steven Hedlund (shedlune@divcom.com).  Video: Philip Smith, Aquaculture Stewardship Council.  Steven Hedlund.  April 27, 2010.


Trà Vinh Province—Statistics


• Number of farmers = 25,000

• Hectares of giant tiger shrimp ponds = 21,000 to 22,000

• Annual PL requirement = 1.6 to 2.0 billion

• Number of hatcheries = 122

• Total hatchery capacity = 2 billion postlarvae a year

• Number of companies importing shrimp seedstock = 44

• Broodstock requirement for 2010 = 3,800 to 5,000



Trà Vinh Province has two large areas for fishing giant tiger broodstock, one north of the Cung Hau Estuary and one off the Dinh An Estuary.  Every year, these grounds provide tiger shrimp broodstock for local shrimp hatcheries and for hatcheries elsewhere in the Mekong Delta.


Sources: 1. Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) WebsiteTrà Vinh: Home to More Than 100 Shrimp Hatcheries.  April 26, 2010.  2. Wikipedia.  Map/Trà Vinh Province.  Wikipedia’s website on May 11, 2010.


Government to Build Shrimp Hatcheries


The Department of Fisheries is developing a plan to build a National Fisheries Seed Center to meet the growing demand for shrimp seed.


According to the Department of Aquaculture, the country’s total shrimp farming area amounts to nearly 600,000 hectares, which need about 45 billion PLs a year.  Domestic hatcheries can meet only 50 percent of the demand.


In 2009, Viet Nam had 3,296 shrimp hatcheries, 2,887 producing tiger shrimp and 409 producing white shrimp.  Together, they produced 23 billion Pls.  As a result, shrimp farmers still have to import shrimp seed from abroad, which may not be the best practice because of quality and disease problems.


Source: Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) WebsiteLack of Domestic-Produced Shrimp Seeds.  April 26, 2010.

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