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Will Penaeus merguiensis Make a Comeback?


Indonesia’s Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, through its Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture in Jepara, plans to introduce banana shrimp, Penaeus merguiensis, to shrimp farmers in the country.


Slamet Soebjakto, Indonesia’s General Director of Aquaculture, said wild P. merguiensis broodstock is available throughout the Indonesian archipelago.  He said it grows fast, requires less feed than other species and is disease resistant.


Banana Shrimp (Penaeus merguiensis): Raised on extensive farms throughout Southeast Asia, merguiensis is a “white” shrimp that has attracted attention because it tolerates low water quality better than monodon, it can be grown at high densities, and it is readily available in the wild.  Native to the Indian Ocean from Oman to western Australia, to Southeast Asia from the Philippines to Indonesia, and to eastern Australia, merguiensis is heavily fished throughout its range, especially in Australia.


An article in the December 2001 issue of World Aquaculture ( reviewed merguiensis’s prospects as a farmed species:


Wild-caught breeders are cheap compared to monodon.  Each female yields between 100,000 and 200,000 eggs per spawn, which is relatively low, but the low price of broodstock more than compensates for this, and the larvae and postlarvae are much easier to convert to prepared feeds.  More importantly, adults mature and spawn naturally in captivity.


Advantages: Easy larval rearing, survives well in extensive and semi-intensive ponds, tolerates a wide range of salinities and temperatures and has a low protein requirement and minimal size variation.


Disadvantages: slow growth rate, limited information on biology and culture, low survival in intensive ponds (not confirmed by research), dies quickly at harvest and no species-specific commercial feeds.


Farmers in southeastern Queensland, Australia, were encouraged to stock their ponds with banana prawns and their results were good, with production of five metric tons per hectare.  Postlarvae from pond-reared broodstock have been grown successfully to market size in five months.  Observations show that banana shrimp grow much faster in tanks or ponds that are rich in detritus and algae.


Seafarms, the largest shrimp farm in Australia, farms merguiensis at its farm in northern Queensland, Australia.


Sources: 1. Nusantara Maritime News.  KKP Succeed Cultivating the White Shrimp.  Ismadi Amrin (translated by Puji Astuti).  May 31, 2017.  2. Shrimp News International.  Banana Shrimp.  June 1, 2017.