Shrimp imports into the US declined in January, both in terms of value and volume. Average price per kilogramme was also cheaper at $8.83 compared with $10.71/kg in January 2015.





Shrimp imports into US slump


Shrimp imported into the US during the first month of this year dropped 18.9% year-on-year to $441.43 million.


Volume was also slightly down at 49,968 metric tonnes from 50,841 metric tonnes in January 2015


Average price per kilogramme was $8.83 compared with $10.71/kg in January 2015.


India was the top exporter in January, up 12.17% year-on-year, to 10,57 metric tonnes, followed by Indonesia, with 9,616 metric tonnes, down from 9,946 metric tonnes in January 2015; Thailand with 6,654 metric tonnes, up 5.36% year-on-year; Ecuador with 6,177 metric tonnes, down from 6,837 metric tonnes in January 2015.


Vietnam was the fifth-biggest exporter with 4,713 metric tonnes, down 15.83% year-on-year.




Thai Union Group works with gov't to improve fishers' quality of life


Mr. Thiraphong Chansiri, President & CEO of Thai Union Group PCL has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Dr. Vinaroj Supsongsuk, director general of the Cooperative Promotion Department, and Mr. Wirat Iam-Ua-Yut, chairman of the Fishery Cooperatives Federation of Thailand, signalling Thai Union's cooperation and support for the government's Civil State Policy.


The Civil State Policy works to improve the fishermen's quality of life, reduce income inequality, and increase employment and income. It also aims at capacity-building for civil societies.


It is expected that more than 50 million baht (US$1.44 million) worth of value will be added to aquatic animal farming, as well as help reduce the operational costs of over 3,000 fish farmers in Thailand and the likelihood of illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing.


The MoU signing was held at the Cooperative Promotion Department in Bangkok, Thailand.




Ecuador firm offers 4-star BAP-certified shrimp


Omarsa S.A. has become the first Ecuadorian shrimp supplier to earn the highest four-star Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification.


It is also Latin America's second company qualified to offer four-star BAP shrimps, and could do so on confirmation that it sources feed from Inbalnor S.A. in Ecuador and Vitapro S.A. in Peru, both of which attained BAP certification last year.


Omarsa's processing plant, two of its farms—Cachugran and Puna—and its hatchery, Mar Bravo, have been BAP-certified since 2007.


"Having three-star BAP status for our processing plant, farms and hatchery was an achievement we celebrated years ago," said Sandro Coglitore, CEO of Omarsa S.A. "Having our entire aquaculture production chain BAP-certified is a whole new level we can proudly announce to all of our customers. This next step shows our commitment to a sustainable production that includes environmental and social responsibility, food safety, animal welfare and traceability."




Book on shrimp biotechnology


Shrimp, being a high-value commodity, makes shrimp aquaculture one of the major industries in the Philippines. With the various challenges and opportunities in shrimp aquaculture, there is a need for a comprehensive and systematised information about shrimps.


"Biotechnological Advances in Shrimp Health Management in the Philippines", a book compilation of researches on shrimp, was published to provide up-to-date information on shrimp biotechnology.


The book contains 10 chapters, each written by different experts. It comprises discussions on challenges currently encountered by the industry, a complete documentation and management practices of the diseases caused by viral pathogens, and potential biotechnological interventions that can be employed as part of good aquaculture practices. It also contains molecular approaches to better understand the shrimp immune system and the development of biotechnological interventions for the industry's development.


The book was an output of the Shrimp Biotechnology Program funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). It caters to diverse stakeholders like scientists, shrimp farmers, aquaculturists, researchers and students.—DOST-PCAARRD S&T Media Service




Shift to plant-based aquafeed


The aquaculture industry is moving away from traditional feed made from fish and increasing the use of plant-based ingredients in its feed, a new analysis from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and McGill University said.


Until recently, manufactured feed was typically composed of high levels of fishmeal and fish oil derived from wild fish, but it has become unsustainable to catch more wild fish to feed growing numbers of farmed fish, so the industry has shifted the makeup of the feed.


Soybean meal, for example, was twice as much used in commercial aquaculture feed in 2008 as compared to fishmeal, and the use of crop-based ingredients is projected to increase 124% between 2008 and 2020.


"Our review found that increasing plant-based ingredients can change the fatty acid content in farmed fish, which can affect human nutrition", said study leader Dr. Jillian Fry, director of CLF's Public Health and Sustainable Aquaculture Project and a faculty member at the Bloomberg School.


Graham MacDonald, assistant professor in the Department of Geography at McGill University said, "Currently, only a small fraction of terrestrial agriculture is used to feed farmed fish. However, the aquaculture industry is growing rapidly. A clearer picture is needed of where and how these crop-based feed ingredients are produced so we can assess the implications of this growing industry for agriculture and the environment".




Philippine shrimp farms hit by EMS


So the Philippines is not EMS-free after all. The dreaded early mortality syndrome (EMS) has hit a major shrimp-producing province in the Philippines, Negros Occidental, the state-owned Philippine News Agency (PNA) reported.


Raoul Flores, vice chairman of Negros Prawn Producers, said the emergence of the EMS was aggravated by the hot weather caused by the El Niño weather phenomenon.


Flores added that as preventive measure, the province's shrimp and prawn producers have used various equipment in checking and monitoring the disease in around 1,000 hectares of production areas.


The PNA report did not elaborate on the extent of the EMS outbreak.


Producers were also advised to maintain ideal temperature and water salinity level in their ponds.


Negros Occidental accounts for 30% of the Philippines' total annual prawn production, next only to Central Luzon, with 40%.


It produces mostly vannamei, or whiteleg, shrimp (about 95%) and the rest tiger prawn (5%).


"Vannamei or whiteleg shrimp, a more resistant and easier-to-raise kind of shrimp, wiped out and replaced prawns in the pond," Flores pointed out, adding the province had no more prawn hatcheries left.


The Philippines had heretofore prided itself as disease-free in comparison with other shrimp-producing countries in the Southeast Asian region, which have been hit for years by EMS.


The value of Philippine shrimp production has remained flat at US$50 million (P2.35 billion), according to Philippine Shrimp Congress president Roberto Gatuslao.




Philippines boosting swine production through genomics


Swine production in the Philippines is a 191-billion-peso (US$4.071-billion) industry and is the largest among the livestock and poultry industries of the country. The Philippine swine industry is ranked eighth in the world, in terms of the volume of pork production and number of breeding sows.


Despite being dynamic and technologically advanced, the local pig industry is still confronted with inefficiency of production due to low sow productivity. Thus, the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) is supporting an R&D initiative to improve the productivity of the Philippine swine industry through the gene marker application.


The application of gene marker was developed by the Philippine Carabao Center and Bureau of Animal Industry in partnership with the Accredited Swine Breeders Association of the Philippines (ASBAP). Sixteen gene marker protocols associated with high litter size, fast growth rate and meat qualities, as well as seven markers for screening of genetic defects and disease resistance, were optimised. The adoption of the gene marker technology by swine breeder farms is expected to increase productivity and efficiency in terms of number of pigs weaned and live weight produced per sow per year.


In other swine-producing countries, the application of gene markers that are associated with economically important traits has resulted in significant improvement in the number of pigs produced and consequently the hog live weight produced per sow per year.


In addition, gene-marker-assisted selection also facilitates genetic improvement in terms of productivity and production efficiency, meat quality, disease resistance, and in screening against genetic defects in swine breeding herds.


The R&D initiatives for swine aim to increase pigs produced per sow per year by 4.6 piglets, which is equivalent to an additional 460 kilogrammes of hog live weight, or a 25%-30% increase in pork production without increasing the breeder pig population.


Meanwhile, DOST-PCAARRD showcased swine genomics including other agri-aqua S&T research and development outputs on March 2-4, 2016, during a livestock and aquaculture show in its headquarters in Los Baños town, Laguna province.—DOST-PCAARRD S&T Media Service




Lack of feed ails Russian aquaculture


Lack of government support, outdated equipment and production technologies, and lack of feed are major constraints to the further development of the aquaculture sector in Russia.


Annual production of farmed fish is estimated at 160,000 tonnes, or 3%-4% of total fish and seafood production, the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) said in a recent report.


Experts believe that the initial capital needed for the sector is 1.5 billion rubles (US$21.16 million), versus the RUB400-million ($5.65 million) allocation made by the "Development of Fisheries Sector" programme of the Russian government for the compensation of the costs of investment.


They also believe that businesses are unlikely to invest in the aquaculture sector because right now it is viewed as very risky and complex.


They identified the lack of feed and raw material for aquaculture production as one of the problems constraining the further development of the aquaculture sector in Russia.


Production of aquaculture feed in Russia in 2015 is estimated at about 100,000 tonnes, while the demand for feed is 250,000 tonnes. According to the objectives stated in the federal program "On Development of the Fisheries Sector," demand for feed will increase to between 400,000 tonnes and 450,000 tonnes by 2020.




Kerala opens vannamei shrimp hatchery


India's Kerala state has opened its first vannamei shrimp hatchery.


Located at the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS), the hatchery will initially produce two million seeds a year.


"With the establishment of the hatchery in KUFOS, the farming of this shrimp species will get a major boost", State Fisheries Minister K. Babu said at the inauguration of the hatchery. 


Babu added the hatchery would boost shrimp exports from Kerala.


There has been a significant increase in vannamei production in India in the past five years, and more than 60% of the production comes from Andhra Pradesh, followed by Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Maharashtra. 

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