Isle institute succeeds in shrimp breeding

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
17 February 2007, at 12:00am

US - Researchers at the Oceanic Institute at Makapuu are reporting dramatic success in breeding shrimp to increase their size and resistance to disease.

The Pacific white shrimp has shown gains in size and disease resistance through selective breeding programs at the Oceanic Institute in Waimanalo.

The findings spell good news for Hawaii's $2.8 million shrimp farm business, and particularly for the highly popular penaeid family of shrimp, a $9.7 billion industry worldwide, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

The viability of seafood farms has assumed added urgency in the last 15 years with the decline of ocean fisheries. Shrimp researchers are now aiming for the same sort of success in selective breeding that was achieved with chickens and cattle during the last half-century.

The institute produces 120,000 Pacific white shrimp per year by raising 500 shrimp from each of 240 genetically distinct families, says program director Shaun Moss.

How do they tell one family from another?

By implanting a tag in each critter.

"It's a labor of love," Moss says. "Each shrimp is picked up and injected a color tag that can be seen under the cuticle."

This family-based selective breeding program has increased the weight of the harvested shrimp by 8.3 percent per generation over three generations, Moss says. Additionally, the survival rate for the farm-raised shrimp has improved by 7.9 percent per generation.

Source: Star Bulletin