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The World

Daniel Gruenberg on Shrimp Breeding


The following report was extracted from discussions on The Shrimp List, a mailing list for the global shrimp farming industry.


Daniel Gruenberg ( Not long ago, every medium to large-scale integrated shrimp farming operation in Latin America had a breeding program, but where are they today?  The vast majority failed.  Successful breeding programs are not easy.  To do it right takes a lot of time—and a whole lot of money.


Shrimp breeding requires:


• Lots of space

• A highly qualified, expensive staff

• The ability to do disease challenges (Hawaii can’t do them, more below)

• A comprehensive, expensive, molecular marking program

• A shrimp geneticist


CP Foods uses Roger Doyle.  SyAqua uses Thomas Gitterle, and Blue Genetics is using a French genetics company with a lot of resources.  The rest of the breeding programs around the world have run into trouble.  I know there are pockets of success out there, but I am talking about large-scale international success, like Hawaii’s development of specific pathogen free (SPF) Penaeus vannamei.


China’s farmed shrimp production has dropped from two million metric tons per year to 600,000 today.  The industry is down nearly 70%, and yet some people are still talking about how Hawaiian SPF broodstock helped build its shrimp farming industry.  China is a very complicated place to grow shrimp.  It’s the wild west.  Even though China invested $30 million in Texas Primo Broodstock, Inc., its success with broodstock is limited, thus far.


The Hawaiian era of SPF is on its last legs.  In China, Hawaiian broodstock can’t compete with other broodstock sources because its postlarvae are weak and susceptible to diseases.  I don’t think the Hawaiian broodstock has the right alleles [a variant of a gene] or diversity.  Hawaii selected a very narrow range of alleles at the beginning of its breeding program.  With animals that produce hundreds of thousands of gene combinations each generation, it is critical to have sufficient alleles to begin with.  The chances for interesting genes are highest in the animals that are carriers of a disease, but are not getting sick.


Specific pathogen resistant (SPR) broodstock and postlarvae are taking over the market, and it’s impossible to do SPR properly in Hawaii because of regulations restricting the import of diseased shrimp.  There are international regulations that you should be intimately aware of on the export and import of broodstock as outlined by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).  No international shipments of broodstock can be undertaken if the animals are not SPF for all OIE listed diseases.


Broodstock from Thailand is becoming increasingly popular in China, and Hawaii’s share of that market is shrinking.  Indonesia seems to be doing well with Hawaiian genetics, but it’s difficult to find other current examples of success.


In Latin American, shrimp breeders have figured out a way to create all pathogen exposed (APE), disease resistant broodstock, while preserving their SPF status, so they can be legally traded on the international market.


Daniel Gruenberg ( I will be writing more about global problems in the shrimp industry and some groundbreaking research we have done to show that most problems in the shrimp industry are anthropological [human caused].


Source: 1. The Shrimp List (a mailing list for shrimp farmers).  Subject: Penaeus indicus.  March 22 to April 4, 2017.  2. The Shrimp List (a mailing list for shrimp farmers).  Subject: Shrimp Breeding.  March 2 to April 4, 2017.  3. Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International, April 7, 2017.

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