April 15, 2013

 

India to introduce Specific Pathogen Free shrimps
 

 

Specific Pathogen Free (SPF) whiteleg shrimps have been developed for the first time in India and are ready for sales to hatchery operators at a reasonable price.

 

The SPF was developed by Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture, the R & D arm of the Marine Products Export Development Authority in association with the Oceanic Institute, Hawaii, US.

 

The primary objective of this initiative is to produce selectively bred whiteleg shrimp brood stock that exhibit good hatchery performance for producing high quality shrimp seed which should exhibit fast growth and high survival on commercial shrimp farms in India.

 

Selectively bred SPF whiteleg shrimps also have the potential to grow under intensive culture conditions, tolerates a wide range of salinities and temperatures and only requires lower protein diet. They can also utilise the natural productivity of shrimp ponds in intensive culture conditions. It is generally considered to be more resistant to diseases and can spawn easily under captivity. The survival rates during hatchery rearing are generally higher.

 

Shrimp production can substantially contribute to marine product export from the country., For the first time in the history of Marine product exports, export earnings have crossed US$3.5 billion during the financial year of 2011-12. Frozen shrimp is the major export value item accounting for 49.63% of the total US dollar earnings. One of the major reasons for the increase in production and higher export turnover was due to the introduction of SPF whiteleg shrimp for aquaculture production.

 

Despite an established aquaculture industry, one of the major obstacles for increasing whiteleg shrimp production is the non-availability of quality SPF brood stock in India under required quantities.

 

Currently, shrimp hatcheries import whiteleg shrimps from Broodstock Multiplication Centres in US, Thailand and Singapore with high shipping costs and transit loss due to mortality.

 

High costs of brood stock is also prompting some hatcheries to source brood stock from shrimp ponds, which ultimately results in the production of poor quality seeds and subsequent crop loss to farmers.

 

About 80% of shrimp farmers are marginal and small scale farmers with 0.5 to five hectares of water spread area. The success of the crop largely depends on the quality of seeds supplied to the farmers. Hence, to sustain productivity and profitability of shrimp farmers, it is essential that quality seeds are provided to farmers at reasonable rate.

 

This project will help Indian farmers to produce additional shrimp for export by utilising about 10,000 hectares of water spread area for two crops per annum.