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  • TARS 2016 Meeting Report &

    Shrimp Aquaculture The New Normal

    August 17-18, 2016, Phuket, Thailand

  • TARS 2016: Shrimp Aquaculture & The New Normal, the sixth in The Aquaculture Roundtable Series was held in Phuket, Thailand

    from 17-18 August. This was a follow-up to TARS 2014, held at the

    height of the early mortality syndrome in Asia. Some recovery

    was expected and in 2014, participants suggested options for

    the ‘recovery, revival and renaissance’ of the industry. This has

    not been realised and the industry remains vulnerable to disease

    outbreaks and disease threats to the industry have multiplied.

    The program for TARS 2016 was structured to take the industry

    to a new normal with the realisation that disease-free farming

    is passé. Today, it is all about learning to live with diseases,

    controlling variables, adapting farm practices and nutrition, and

    better production planning. Managing diseases should not be left

    to only the farmers but is the responsibility of all stakeholders.

    In her welcome remarks, Dr Juadee Pongmaneerat, Deputy Director General, Department of

    Fisheries, Thailand emphasised

    on the need to “work around the

    diseases” and factor in counter

    measures in production planning.

    "The reality is that we need to

    adapt and change so that Asia's

    shrimp industry can continue to


    “In 2015, Thailand produced

    250,000 tonnes of shrimp, which

    was better than in 2014 but still

    below our production of 540,000 tonnes in 2012. Our best was

    in 2010 at 640,000 tonnes. Our leaders in the shrimp farming

    industry are leading the charge and we are optimistic that soon

    we will recover.”

    The State of the Shrimp Aquaculture Industry in Asia - ‘Change, Change, and more Change.’

    As per its tradition, TARS

    2016 started with the state of

    the industry address. Robins McIntosh, Vice President of Charoen Pokphand Foods,

    Thailand gave an overview on

    recent developments and what is

    required for future sustainability.

    “Historically the industry has

    had four epochs and two crises,”

    said McIntosh. “The good years

    in 2010 and 2009 were followed

    by a 20% decline in production

    in 2013. These are what I call

    catastrophic losses. We have not

    seen any improvement in shrimp production for 3 years. In 2016,

    we can expect 11% less shrimp,” he continued.

    The history of global shrimp production was typified by the

    trend in Thailand. “Our first crisis was solved with domestication

    and biosecurity in 2001. The Golden Age of Shrimp started in

    2003, with almost 300% increase in world production over a 10-

    year period. The second crisis came in 2011 with a levelling of

    production. Just as we had ended the first crisis with change, so

    again we are looking at change to end this crisis. I believe that

    when we solve this, the industry will go into another Golden Age.

    Change is hard and shrimp farmers tend to not like change, but

    sometimes change is necessary. Once you find the right change,

    things get better.”

    EMS is complicated “It is not AHPND alone or EHP alone or only WSSV. It could be

    AHPND with EHP, AHPND and WSSV or AHPND with the bacteria

    Shewanella. All of these pathogens are out there at the same time, and interacting in ways we did not anticipate.”

    The bacteria Shewanella is also present with the same prevalence as AHPND. Together there is a synergistic effect and

    there is higher mortality than with Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vp) alone as described by Dr Kallaya Sritunyalucksana (see p18).

    “With WSSV-AHPND interaction, when well controlled, there

    can be no mortality when the Vp count is at 102 CFU/mL. However,

    what will the farmer diagnose this as? Usually, this is taken as

    a WSSV loss. In many countries, we are seeing reports of new

    WSSV outbreaks, generally not seen 5 years ago.”

    Post larvae efficiency index A good gauge of recovery, according to McIntosh is the ‘post

    larvae efficiency index.' This is the amount of post larvae used

    to produce 1 tonne of shrimp. In 2010, the industry in Thailand

    used almost 10 tonnes/million post larvae (PL). During the depth

    of the crisis, this decreased to 3 tonnes/million PL. In 2016, there

    will be a technical improvement and a signal for recovery with an

    estimate of 7 tonnes/million PL.

    “This year we can produce 320,000 tonnes and by 2017,

    continue up to 350-360,000 tonnes. I have confidence in this

    because we understand now that two toxins create AHPND and

    we know what we are doing now.”

    The model for recovery from AHPND “Basically, the bacteria worked with quorum sensing which

    needs a threshold amount of bacteria. By reducing the amount

    of bacteria in the pond, farms could reduce the severity of the

    outbreak. At the same time, I had found that there was a genetic

    component, a heredity to tolerance. In 2016 in Thailand, we found

    that if we increase shrimp tolerance, we had better results. Today,

    as we continue to increase the tolerance of the shrimp to the

    toxin, we can have production back to the level before AHPND


    “As we now understand the enemy (AHPND), we can create

    a new biosecurity rule. This is not to exclude the bacteria, but

    just to reduce the levels through elimination and reduction of the

    food and the substrates that make those bacteria grow. These

    include all shrimp feeds, moulds, sludge and organic material in

    the pond. In 2012, we showed that if the levels were not above

    104 CFU/mL, there was no mortality, provided there is only one

    factor. Exclusion is not necessary but just limit the levels.

    In Thailand, there are fewer culture ponds today. In 2010, one

    farm had 78% of pond area for shrimp culture but in 2016, it has

    only 38%. The major increase is with reservoir ponds, from 13%

    to 46%. With these changes, profits are higher, shrimp sizes are

    bigger and productivity better. Crop failures from AHPND is less.

    The big debate on definition of SPF/SPR Specific pathogen free (SPF) stock refers to the health status of a

    stock and not a genetic characteristic. To qualify as SPF, a shrimp

    must be free of all known shrimp viruses. Specific pathogen

    resistant (SPR) refers to a genetic characteristic, that is being

    resistant to a specific pathogen; a shrimp may be both SPF and


    “There is a lot of misunderstanding on SPF/SPR such that it has

    created problems in the industry. SPF just means clean shrimp.

    This is essential for any biosecurity program and to reduce the

    risks of translocating shrimp diseases. If we had the discipline

    with surveillance, EHP would not move around as it has. We also

    want tolerance to a specific disease, but we should have this in

    a clean body.”

    Juadee Pongmaneerat

    Robins McIntosh


  • McIntosh also addressed another aspect, that selection for

    resistance sacrifices growth. “Selection for both characteristics

    takes a lot more work for families and costs more. However, if

    I had to choose, I would give up some resistance for growth,

    because growth is the economical driver here.”

    “The new normal,” said McIntosh is “changing with science and technology, with transparency, and with pride. A profitable shrimp culture for the industry and affordable shrimp for the everyday consumer.”

    Lessons Learnt Post IMNV in Indonesia In his presentation on “Indonesian Shrimp Farming, Lessons learnt from IMNV,” Anwar Hasan, Regional Technical Manager – Aquaculture, Biomin said that when dealing with infectious myonecrosis virus (IMNV), the focus was on maintaining a sustainable carrying capacity, improving culture conditions and reducing stocking density to mitigate the disease.

    “With the vannamei shrimp, we changed our culture density, from low density to high and super intensive systems. The IMNV outbreak affected our shrimp farming from 2008-2012 with shrimp mortality ranging from 20% to 80%. In the initial years, the effect was necrosis of the skeletal muscle at 90 days of culture (DOC 90) but gradually, the impact of the disease was 40% mortality with initial symptoms appearing at DOC 40.

    The industry in Indonesia attributed the severity of IMNV to carrying capacity and began to work on adjusting culture practices to match pond biomass. In addition, attention was given to reducing water exchange and improving water quality within the pond with probiotics. Biosecurity measures and partial harvesting were introduced. Sludge removal, already a common practice in the early years of shrimp farming in Indonesia, intensified using newer models to increase efficiency and automation. Anwar gave some examples of changes at the farm level.

    “In 2007, the stocking density at one farm was 120-150 PL/m2. Although, IMNV caused some mortality, levels were low. In 2008, as mortality increased, the farm reduced stocking density to 60- 80 PL/m2. As mortality continued, stocking density was further reduced to 40 PL/m


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