Hari Narayan Rao
India is the second largest producer of shrimp in the world. The shrimp industry has seen ups and downs during the last two decades. However, the sustainability of the shrimp production majorly lies on the quality of seed supplied to the farmers.
As the ultimate goal of the shrimp hatcheries is to supply good quality and quantities of post larvae (PL) with higher growth rates as well as tolerant to Indian environmental conditions.As an output of 60-70 billions of L.vannmei seed, shrimp hatcheries are using nearly 240,000 numbers of SPF vannamei brood stock in India. But still the professionals are struggling to find solutions to the most common diseases like EHP ,WSSV,and White fecal etc.
If you look at the past, you will find that India started shrimp culture with wild seeds available in sea coasts and then turned to use wild broodstock to increase the productivity. From 1980”s to 2009, India completely depended upon native species and the most commercial viable species i.e. P. monodon.
The WSS viruses that hit the shrimp farms damaged the crops. The shrimp industry came to an end by 2008.
With combined efforts of AISHA with a great support from other agencies Specific Pathogen Free (SPF)L.vannameiwas introduced. Then again industry revived and hatcheries were increased from 100 to 500+ hatcheries.
Nearly for 10 years SPF animals have done a great job but now industry is looking forward towards SPR/SPT to produce strong post larvae which can survive under typical Indian environmental conditions.
Hence all the broodstock suppliers are moving towards to producing and supplying of SPF-SPT (Specific pathogen Tolerant) animals in future.
To produce good quality of post larvae hatcheries needs good broodstock and essential live feeds to give more robust post larvae in a commercial way.
1.Now the shrimp hatcheries are struggling to procure disease free live feeds so that they are looking to import SPF live feeds to enhance their production levels. Specific guidelines from Government are needed for the same.
2. The shrimp hatcheries are finding difficulties to source good SPF-SPT broodstock from foreign suppliers at higher cost .The cost of production is going up due to COVID-19 pandemic in terms of transportation of brood stock by cargo/charter flights and increasing AQF buffer charges and customs duty and local transportation up to hatcheries.
3. On the other side shortage of manpower at hatcheries and high electricity charges have led to increase the production cost which is always a burden to shrimp farmers.
The shrimp hatcheries are going to play an important role for increasing shrimp productions in India. It needs to encourage more hatcheries and to have conducive policy interventions to support them. Sofarmers will have more options in selection of seeds and make the shrimp farming sustainable and profitable.
(The author is the Technical Manager-India, Kona Bay. Views expressed is his personal.)