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A Brief History of Shrimp Hatcheries
by Jim Wyban

The history of shrimp hatcheries can be divided into the start-up era, the hatchery era and the breeding era.


Start-Up Era (1980-1987): During the start-up era, nearly all shrimp seedstock was gathered from the sea. In Asia, farms raised mostly giant tiger shrimp, Penaeus monodon, along with a handful of other penaeid species. In the Western Hemisphere, the Pacific white shrimp, P. vannamei quickly became the most popular species.


Hatchery Era (1988-1996): During the hatchery era, postlarvae (PLs) were produced in hatcheries. Genetically, they were wild animals because their parents were collected from the sea. Shrimp disease moved through the industry with the hatchery-produced PLs because the hatcheries paid little attention to biosecurity. Diseases carried by wild broodstock were passed to PLs in the hatcheries and then introduced to farms when the PLs were stocked.


Breeding Era (1997-2007): Rapid industry growth was primarily driven by the domestication, breeding and worldwide spread of P. vannamei from the West into Asia. World shrimp farming production using vannamei expanded from only 10% of total production in 1998 to 75% of total world production in 2006. Thailand's shrimp revolution, characterized by the use of domesticated vannamei bred for faster growth and disease resistance, typifies the worldwide white shrimp phenomenon.


Economic Impacts: The use of domesticated stocks has allowed farmers to continually refine their systems to optimize production economics based on market demand and pricing. Domesticated stocks have generally reduced disease episodes and the "gambling" nature of shrimp farming typical of earlier eras, resulting in more corporate investment and a general industry consolidation.


Viral Resistance: Development of specific pathogen-free (SPF) vannamei in the United States in the early 1990s led to dramatic increases in USA shrimp farm production. Following initial production trials, the entire USA shrimp industry was stocked in 1992 with PLs derived from SPF vannamei broodstock cultured in Hawaii. Production doubled as a direct result of this innovation and persisted through 1995. But by 1996, Taura Syndrome Virus (TSV) marched through Central America and struck a deadly blow to the Texas industry, dropping production by 50%.

Economics: Domestication and breeding of vannamei have significantly improved the economics and reliability of shrimp farming. The driving force in Asia's switch to vannamei was based on the much higher profits achieved with vannamei compared to monodon.


Domestication, breeding and the subsequent adoption of vannamei in Asia added tremendous value to the world shrimp industry. During the hatchery era, the annual shrimp production of nearly 700,000 metric tons a year had a total crop value of about $3.5 billion, based on an average price of $5 a kilo. Despite declining prices, shrimp production today is worth more than $6.0 billion, based on a worldwide price of $3 a kilo.


Information: James Wyban, Ph.D., High Health Aquaculture, Inc., P.O. Box 1095, Kurtistown, HI 96760 USA (phone 808-982-9163, fax 808-982-9163, email jim.wyban@gmail.com, webpages www.hihealthshrimp.com and www.spfgenetics.com).


Sources: 1. The Global Aquaculture Advocate (http://www.gaalliance.org). Editor, Darryl Jory (dejry2525@aol.com). Genetic Improvement/Domestication of Pacific White Shrimp Revolutionizes Aquaculture. Jim Wyban. Volume 10, Issue 4, Page 42, July/August 2007. 2. Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International, September 21, 2007.


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