Disease and market prices are the two main problems in shrimp farming, and as India stands poised as the second largest shrimp producer next to China, it is a good time to learn from the mistakes the other southeast Asian countries made when they were on top of the game about five years back, experts said at a high-profile marine sector conference here today.
Speakers at the ‘Advances & Innovations’ in shrimp farming at the fourth edition of Aqua Aquaria India (AAI), hosted by the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), suggested that at a time when ‘disease happens in combination’, the way forward in aquaculture is through indoor, totally controlled environments.
“Apart from viruses, we now have to deal with an increase in bacterial infections caused by the warming of oceans. They are harder to control because they do not need animal carriers and can pass through the ocean currents,” said Robins McIntosh, a Thailand-based researcher in the field for three decades. “Aquaculture is about clean water. New technologies must be backed by quality control and surveillance.”
He pointed out that when production was hit in Thailand in 2011, it was technology that brought it up again.
While India is expected to produce 5 lakh MT of shrimp in 2017, the average rate of farm produce survival is only 50 per cent. Productivity is reducing year on year, with the produce being hit by white spot syndrome, which is the single largest pathogen affecting shrimp farming in India.
“This is going to be an era of responsible aquaculture,” said S Chandrasekhar, Area Manager, India & South Asia, INVE Aquaculture, Thailand. “Nursery rearing reduces pathogens. Shrimps are more toxin-resistant and give rise to larger harvests. Thailand and Mexico have reaped the benefits of nursery farming; India could do the same.”
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