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USAID Boosts Shrimp Farming




In Bangladesh, the export of black tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) is the third-largest source of export earnings after garments and leather.  About 90% of the 200,000 hectares used for shrimp culture in the coastal zone is farmed using extensive traditional practices by smallholders who produce an average of fewer than 300 kilograms of shrimp per hectare (kg/ha) per year, which is very low compared to global averages.  There are approximately 250,000 small-scale shrimp farmers in Bangladesh.


To increase production in traditional small-scale shrimp farming systems, the five-year Aquaculture for Income and Nutrition (AIN) Project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), provided technical assistance and training to around 50,000 small-scale shrimp farmers in Bangladesh.


A 2016 performance survey of the project found that the training helped increase shrimp production from 230 kg/ha in 2012 to 280 kg/ha in 2016.  This resulted in an overall production increase of around 1,700 metric tons of shrimp in 2016.  Shrimp farmers, who traditionally produce shrimp alongside several species of fish, also increased their fish production from 245 kg/ha in 2012 to 553 kg/ha in 2016.


Together, these production increases helped farmers to boost their income by 76% or $886 per hectare!


As part of the training, farmers learned the importance of using healthy seedstock to reduce the risks of disease, especially whitespot, which can wipe out a farm in a few days.  Many farmers use wild caught broodstock, 40%–50% of them infected with whitespot according to the Project’s observations.


To make quality virus-free seed available to farmers, the AIN Project assisted 24 shrimp hatcheries to produce WSSV-free postlarvae.  This process enabled project-supported farmers to access over 1 billion WSSV-free shrimp postlarvae from 2012 to 2015.  Over the four production seasons, use of WSSV-free seed led to an average production increase of 26% per year for 17,000 shrimp farmers— accounting for an estimated overall increase of 3,160 metric tons, valued at $39.75 million.


Research by WorldFish, with AIN data from about 1,000 ponds, found that small-scale farmers that stocked PCR-tested seed had a shrimp survival rate of 27% compared to 15% in ponds with non-tested seed.  They also had 29% less disease, 48% higher production and 81% higher profit per hectare, compared with the non-tested seed.


In 2014, the project worked with the DoF and the private sector to introduce a second type of seed: specific pathogen free (SPF) shrimp seed (domesticated black tiger shrimp tested regularly for eight specific viruses and two bacteria).  The seed was shipped from a facility in Hawaii, USA, to Bangladesh and raised in a hatchery licensed for SPF shrimp for about a year.


In 2016, the hatchery produced 150 million seed.  Initial observations of an experiment comparing the results of 450 small-scale farmers that stocked seed produced from SPF shrimp with 150 control farmers are positive.  Some farmers claimed that use of SPF postlarvae, originating from SPF broodstock, performed better in ponds with about 40% improvement in growth rate.  The number of PCR-tested postlarvae and postlarvae produced from SPF broodstock is still low relative to overall demand.


It is anticipated that in the coming years more farmers will gain access to PCR-tested seed and know how to use and benefit from it, helping to further reduce disease risks and boost overall shrimp production in Bangladesh.


Source: Outcome Journal/Aquaculture for Income and Nutrition.  Hendrik Jan Keus, Rohana Subasinghe, Naseem Ahmed Aleem, Rayhan Hayat Sarwer, Mohammad Mahbubul Islam, Mohammed Zakir Hossain, Abdullah Al Masum, Md Masudur Rahaman, AWM Anisuzzaman Mohammad, Abdul Baten Bhuyain, Md Fayzur Rahman and Mozammel Hoque Bhuiya.  USAID and WorldFish.  2017.


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