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March 21, 2014

United States

Texas Primo Broodstock



On February 25, 2014, via telephone, I interviewed Ken Gervais, owner of Texas Primo Broodstock, a shrimp broodstock company in Brookshire, Texas.  We chatted about his company and his plans.  Following the brief interview, you’ll find some information that appears on Primo Broodstock’s webpage.


Shrimp News: Where did you get your founder stocks?


Ken Gervais: The original animals were whitespot-resistant animals from Ecuador.  They came from areas where diseases existed, but they were completely cleaned up before they were shipped to the University of Arizona, where they were quarantined and checked for disease and then shipped to our facilities in Texas, where they have been certified disease free for over two years.  Our animals were selected for the highest level of whitespot tolerance.  They are able to meet the health requirements of any country.


Shrimp News: Tell me a little about your facility?


Ken Gervais: It’s a completely biosecure facility about 100 miles inland from the coast, and we’re getting ready to expand it so that we can meet the worldwide demand for our product.  The facility has its own maturation, hatchery, nursery and growout.  Currently, we can produce about 20,000 broodstock a year, but are expanding.  We use artificial seawater and 100% recirculating systems.  The hatchery has never held oceanic seawater or a single Artemia.  We feed 100% Zeigler artificial feeds.  We don’t use any live feeds.


In both challenge tests and in growout situations, Primo broodstock has demonstrated superiority to any strain that’s it’s been tested against.  The stock was not selected for Vibrio tolerance; it was selected for whitespot tolerance, but one of the benefits has been that they were selected from a non-biosecure environment that was heavily affected by very pathogenic Vibrio.  Postlarvae from our broodstock have shown tolerance in challenge test and in the field to WSSV, INMV and EMS, even though they had never been exposed to EMS or INMV.


Shrimp News: Have you begun selling broodstock?


Ken Gervais: Primo is currently selling its broodstock out of Houston, Texas, and is developing multiplication centers in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Mexico.  In 2013 Primo sold its first animals to Genitech in Sonora, Mexico.  According to the technical manager of this group, Ernesto Garmendia, initial trials at farms and in challenge tests for WSSV and EMS in Mexico and University of Arizona exceeded any expectations.  They are using 100% Primo F1’s this year and plan to stock over 4,000 hectares in the next few months.  We just did a shipment to Thailand, and we have a shipment going into the Middle East in a couple of weeks.



Notes from Primo Broodstock’s Webpage


Primo Broodstock has unique SPF families that have been selected for up to 12 generations for superior growth and tolerance to most known viral and bacterial diseases.  For breeding purposes, these animals will be selected and grouped into families using DNA markers.  The approach that Primo Broodstock has taken towards genetic selection is based on developing animals tolerant to most known viruses and pathogens.  These animals have shown the ability to withstand an infection without showing signs of the disease.


We can design a program that will meet the specific needs of each customer.


Right now, Primo Broodstock has a limited number of WSSV tolerant broodstock for sale.  Orders will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.


Primo Broodstock is a USDA approved facility, and we can ship to any country in the world.



A Letter to Primo Broodstock from the University of Arizona


The test you requested for the detection of acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease (AHPND), also referred to as early mortality syndrome (EMS), has been completed by the experimental PCR assay that we developed at our laboratory.


Representative samples were excised for DNA extraction from each Individual head.  AHPND was not detected in the samples tested.


Information: Ken Gervais, Texas Primo Broodstock, Inc., 6737 FM 362, Brookshire, Texas 77423, USA (phone 1-408-369-0600, email, webpage


Sources: 1. Ken Gervais.  Telephone Interview by Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International.  February 25, 2014.  2. Texas Primo Broodstock, Inc.’s Website.  Website Visit on March 6, 2014.  3. Letter from Linda Nunan, Assistant Staff Scientist, and Donald Lightner, Professor, to Primo Broodstock, Inc.  The University of Arizona.  Case 13-416.  October 14, 2013.

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