CHENNAI: Nearly a decade after the deadly virus — white spot syndrome — delivered a killer blow to shrimp farming in India, making native species like the Indian white shrimp (Penaeus Iindicus) and the iconic tiger prawn (Penaeus monodon) ‘non-preferable’, scientists at the Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA) are exploring ways to fix the problem and put the native species back in the reckoning.
Genetic improvement and selective breeding programmes are also being proposed to match the commercial value of the Pacific white shrimp.
Currently, the industry is dominated by Pacific white shrimps (Penaeus vannamei), an exotic species that has been imported from the US since 2009, and now holding 90 per cent share in cultivation. Though it brings certain short-term advantages like high-yield, scientists say it is not wise to depend on a single species. The idea is to create a backup with desi shrimp varieties.
In China, there are at least 10 major varieties. With new diseases like Enterocytozoon Hepatopenaei (EHP) and microsporidial infections emerging, and with the white spot virus still prevailing, adding to crop losses, over-dependence on one species would be dangerous for the `30,000-crore revenue-spinning industry. Experts feel it is important to have a farming system where indigenous species co-exist.
Speaking to Express, KK Vijayan, director, Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA), said a detailed project report has been submitted to the Department of Animal Husbandry, Diary and Fisheries seeking financial assistance to popularise the Indian white shrimp as the first step towards a flagship programme to undertake genetic improvement and ensure future of the Indian shrimp aquaculture industry, through supply of domesticated and selectively bred SPF (Specific Pathogen Free) Indian white shrimp broodstock. This for seed production and farming, thereby augmenting aquaculture production and export.
“A culture demonstration program was already initiated by CIBA in 2014, with funding from National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB), to investigate performance potential of indigenous Indian white shrimp. This was carried out in six selected coastal States (Odisha, West Bengal, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat). Initial demonstrations and evaluation trials proved species could be an ideal indigenous/native to compliment the Penaeus vannamei,” Vijayan said, adding that the project’s second phase had been proposed at `40 crore to upscale the production in 25,000 hectares with 150 million healthy disease-free seeds of Indian white shrimp.Three hatcheries, including the OSSPARC hatchery (Odisha), and two from Tamil Nadu, Kerala, or Gujarat, will be selected.
Reviving native species is crucial for long-term sustainability of the shrimp industry
Currently, there is over dependence on American shrimp
Out of 4.5 lakh tonnes of shrimp produced in India, 4 lakh tonnes are American shrimp
The exotic American shrimp, if it enters the wild, can affect other local species
AP and TN are two largest shrimp producing states, having around 500 hatcheries
- Increasing productivity from brackishwater shrimp systems by promoting innovative, eco-friendly and sustainable technologies for native Indian white shrimp
- Culture demonstration of native shrimp species, the Penaeus Indicus, across different States, aiming an average yield of 4 to 8 tonnes/year in high-density culture
- Establishment of healthy brood banks for quality seed production of Penaeus Indicus
- Initiating programme for development of genetically improved indigenous species for enhancing production through SPF/SPR lines
- Establishment of state-of-the-art Indicus hatchery facilities for producing about 90 million seeds
- Efficient health management to prevent crop loss and regular disease surveillance and monitoring for existing & emerging diseases in Indicus farming
- Establishment of feed mills to promote the needs for increasing shrimp productivity through supply of cost effective feed