AQUA INDIA 2018 – Taking Indian Aquaculture to Greater Heights

It was a conglomeration of Global aquaculture bigwigs at Chennai as the Society of Aquaculture Professionals (SAP) hosted Aqua India 2018, the 9th edition of its biennial Aquaculture Conference at Hotel Feathers on the 2nd and 3rd February 2018. As the Indian Shrimp Aquaculture sector continued to grow and emerge as the second largest producer of farmed shrimp in the world, several international companies forayed into India to explore/ consolidate marketing and trading opportunities for their products and services. This was the largest Aqua India event by a long way with a participation of over 540 delegates from all strata of the sector. This included around 180 international delegates.

The theme of the programme “Taking Indian Aquaculture to Greater Heights” was aptly named in line with the current trends where, the Indian aquaculture sector has etched a name for itself in the global aquaculture sector through sustained increase in shrimp production.

The President SAP, Mr. S. Chandrasekar introduced the theme through his Presidential address. He said that India has become the epicenter of the Aquaculture World with its continued increase in shrimp production for the past several years. Shrimp production in the country crossed half a million MT in the year 2017 and has the potential to top the list of shrimp producers in the world. The main reasons for this achievement being the strict usage of Specific Pathogen Free (SPF) broodstock, adoption of improved hatchery and farming technologies and responsible farming practices.

President, SAP stressed the need for commitment at all levels, and appealed to all stakeholders to have greater accountability considering the larger interest of the country and the consumer, which is essential for the continued growth of the sector. He also urged the need to ensure the quality of produce to have smooth exports. The President pointed out that efforts are already put in by the Government authorities to make the sector zero tolerant to antibiotics. He emphasized that the industry can grow only through responsible aquaculture practices and the need of the hour is sustained production. This would serve our country to soar to a much higher level and become the largest producer of best quality farmed shrimp in the world in 2018.


Session I : Shrimp production status and reviews

The key note address was delivered by Dr. Philippe Leger, CEO, INVE Bench Mark Holdings, Belgium. In his presentation titled “Technologies driving Sustainable Shrimp Aquaculture”, Dr. Leger discussed the emergence of various technologies over the years that helped propel global aquaculture to its present position. He added that none of the factors such as diseases, availability of quality seeds and breeders, feed cost, environmental management etc., that are responsible for sustainable supply from Aquaculture can be resolved without adequate use of appropriate technologies. He felt that the current state of technologies are inadequate for fixing problems and listed

the key requirements to be met for continued sustainable supply of the aquaculture produce. Dr. Leger also highlighted the emerging technologies like SPR and SPT broodstock development, use of Nurseries, Phages and Probiotics for sustainable shrimp production for a better future.

Mr. Lorenzo M Juraez of American Penaeid presented the Overview and Sustainability of the Global Shrimp Farming Industry and detailed the key changes and megatrends in shrimp farming. He said that the changes in the farmed species and production patterns were results of the impact of diseases in Aquaculture. Mr. Juarez also discussed that fast growth, general survival, reproductive fitness, disease resistance, feed conversion, dressing percentage etc. as the principal traits of interest to shrimp farmers. He quoted examples from Mexico and Ecuador on the success with disease resistant shrimp stocks.

Mr. V. Balasubramanian, General Secretary of Prawn Farmers Federation of India, gave an overview on the Current status and Outlook of Indian Shrimp Aquaculture. He estimated a total production of 54 billion Post Larvae and 600,000 MT of farmed shrimp in 2017 and projected a production of around 70 billion PL and 670,000 MT of shrimp for 2018. Mr. Balasuramanian also expressed his concern over the declining farm productivity, seed quality and decreasing survival rates in grow-out farms which is estimated to be around 55% in 2017. He observed that WSSV is the major disease followed by white faeces and the running mortality in

summer. Mr. Balasubramaniam opined that increased biosecurity measures and nurseries are the emerging trends in shrimp farming in India. He concluded that India can sustain its record if it manages the productivity issues, threats of new pathogens and food safety compliance.

Mr. Angelo Rubio, Director, Urner Barry Analytics made a presentation on The US Shrimp Market, its structure and price trends. He said that the Shrimp market in the US has been quite steady over the last 18 – 20 months after the market restoration from the EMS supply shock of 2013. Mr. Angelo opined that the imports of shrimps from India, Indonesia, Vietnam and Ecuador will continue to grow while the prices will remain steady. He also referred to the improving economic conditions in US and their positive impact in the shrimp market.

Session II : Shrimp breeding; emerging trends and requirements

Dr. Harris Wright, Director, R & D, Shrimp Improvement Systems (SIS), Hawaii, in his presentation on Changing role of Genetics in Shrimp Breeding, highlighted the role of traditional quantitative genetic programs in the evolution of shrimp farming. He stressed that the expectations of the shrimp farming industry for better profits can be obtained only through combination of Genetics and Environment management. Dr. Harris shared the process of selecting individuals and families for increased fecundity, growth rate and survival. He discussed the improvements being made by the genetic programs that resulted in the generational improvements.

Dr. Harris emphasized on the importance of improved management practices in addition to changing role of genetics in shrimp breeding programme.

Dr. Morten Rye, Managing Director, Akvaforsk Genetic Centre, Norway, delivered the presentation on the Development of Tolerant stock for WSSV in vannamei through selective breeding programme. He felt that the present disease management in Asian region that focus on exclusion and eradication through quarantine, etc. have not controlled the disease epidemics. He also said that the SPF shrimp stocks are highly susceptible to endemic diseases and genetically improved disease resistant populations only will offer the opportunity to stabilize the production systems in future. Dr. Morten detailed on the programme in Columbia combining the SPF and SPR approaches and their importance for Indian farming conditions.

Highlighting the advantages of having disease free indigenous shrimp stocks like P. monodon, P. indicus etc. Mr. Surendran, Technical Director, Vaisakhi Bio Marine, India, delivered a talk on the Need for Selective Breeding of Indigenous Shrimp Species in India. He examined the need for such initiatives for sustainable shrimp production in India. Mr. Surendran urged that the industry in India should exploit the potential traditional farming areas in West Bengal, Odisha, Kerala and Karnataka states. He also elaborated on the results from the case studies in farming and hatchery operations with domesticated broodstock of both P. monodon and P. indicus.

Dr. Robert Blonk, Director, R & D, Hendrix Genetics Aquaculture,Netherlands gave a talk on Future Trends in Shrimp Breeding and Genetics.In his presentation he narrated the details on the change from mass selection to family selection that have resulted in improved accuracy of estimating the genetic merit of the animals. Dr. Robert felt the need for improved genetic evaluation tools for the better performance of SPF stocks in the future. He appreciated the use of genetic markers for the disease resistance in the selection decisions that helped the breeding companies in making additional genetic improvement per generation


Session I : Farming technologies: new paradigms

Dr. Robins McIntosh, Sr. Vice President, Shrimp Production Technology, CP Group, Thailand, elaborated on ‘Why Now?: The rise of shrimp diseases – farm profitability – costly shrimp to consumer’. Starting with disease as the ‘top challenge’ for Goal 2018, he concluded his talk by pointing out that healthy Post Larvae backed with sound genetics, coupled with a healthy environment serves to grow shrimps profitably. He suggested minimizing the loss of immunity of shrimps by optimizing pond bottom management, oxygen levels, and by stabilizing pH. Dr. Robins emphasized that the Immune system can be boosted with proper genetics and good diets. He highlighted environment issues by flagging ‘dying honey bees with that of dying shrimps’.

Dr. David Kawahigashi, Director, Vannamei 101, spoke like an Indian saint. For many years, Indian saints have taught us that ‘health is in our hands’. His topic was, ‘Synbiotics … back to the future’ which dealt with enhancing pond environment at a very low cost. Synbiotics is a management tool with a combination of Prebiotics + Probiotics + Fermentation.

This mixture helps to sustain colonies of beneficial bacteria which in turn help to ward off Vibriosis, EHP, White faeces syndrome and WSSV. Dr. David suggested using fermented sweet potato to control Vibrio in hatchery Post Larvae tanks and Amino Peptide Emulsion (derived from anaerobic fermentation of Soy protein) as a top coating for feed or direct pond application helps improve the immune system of the animal and also the pond environment.

Mr. S. Santhana Krishnan, founder President of SAP, through the topic entitled – ‘Shrimp crop pattern in India and its impact on Value chain, Market access and profitability’ provided key suggestions to the Farmers to understand the markets and plan the harvest. In The ideal count for harvest would be 58 – 70 c. Counts above 50 could see a price drop. For 2018, prices could be dull in March and may steady up after March upto June and there could be drop

in the later part of the year. Mr. Santhana Krishnan informed that buyers were in no mood to speculate as they are hoping for a steady supply. While US was preferring medium sizes for which prices could pick up from March, EU had a steady demand (pending report) and Chinese market preferred all sizes. Overall, India has to be prepared to accept lower prices for the year 2018, Mr. Santhana Krishnan suggested.

The last speaker of the session Mr. Aedrian Ortiz Johnson, Technical Support Manager, Skretting Americas, Mexico, spoke on ‘Nurseries – the means for better productivity’. He classified nurseries into 3 types – Floating Nursery (within the pond), Circular ones (above the ground) and pond nursery (below the ground). Nurseries are helpful to quarantine, thermic treatments, biological filters, feed transition and increase in grow-out productivity. The key to success of nursery operations is the successful transfer of the juveniles. Dry transport with just juveniles can be done from 5 to 10 minute distance. Wet transport is possible in tanks with aeration at 100,000 juveniles / ton of water. Few countries transfer juveniles through pumps upto 3 Kms from Nurseries.

Session II : Shrimp diseases: status, challenges and way forward

Dr. Arun Dhar, Director-Aquaculture Pathology Laboratory, University of Arizona, US, speaking on the Topic ‘Acute Hepatopancreatic Necrosis Disease (AHPND) and Enterocytozoon hepatopenaei (EHP): Two emerging threats to shrimp aquaculture’ confirmed that AHPND could now be caused by several vibrio spp. containing the plasmid carrying the genes that encode a binary toxin Pir A and Pir B. The toxin genes being flanked by transposable elements are susceptible to horizontal transfer among related species of vibrio and probably other bacteria. Dr. Dhar called for the need for improved techniques for AHPND diagnosis as in some cases vibrio parahaemolyticus do not cause AHPND despite having the plasmid and the genes coding for the toxins. Due to ubiquitous nature of the pathogen and the unique nature of the pathogenicity, the future efforts to control AHPND should be focused on to develop stocks those are resistant to AHPND. On EHP, Dr. Dhar mentioned that EHP causes growth retardation in farmed shrimp and the synergistic effect of EHP and AHPND could lead to enormous crop losses.

Prof. Chu-Fang Lo, Chair Professor, & Director of the Centre for Shrimp Disease Control and Genetic Breeding Centre at the National Cheng Kung Univ., Taiwan, in her talk on “Looking beyond diagnosis and quarantine for controlling white spot disease (WSD)” highlighted her research work on development of WSSV resistant shrimp. Prof. Lo announced the success in production of WSSV resistant monodon population in her Lab and that the F2 generation of the selected families continued to show resistance to WSSV, thereby proving that the WSSV resistance is indeed a heritable trait. Dr. Lo stressed the importance of maintaining genetic diversity in founding populations of a breeding program in order to develop WSSV resistant shrimp and yet not compromise on another important trait, the growth rate.

Dr. Kallaya Sritunyalucksana, Head, Shrimp Pathogen Interaction Lab – BIOTEC, Thailand, spoke on “Research Progress on Shrimp Microsporidian EHP and EMS in Thailand”. She elaborated on EHP and AHPND, the diseases caused by fungus and bacteria and that affects the Shrimp farming industry in Thailand. Besides V. parahaemolyticus, AHPND is now caused by V. campbeli and V. owensi which carry the plasmid with genes coding Pir A and Pir B toxins.Dr. Kallaya pointed that the prevalence of AHPND was probably overestimated in Thailand and the virulence of AHPND was varying with different bacterial isolates. On EHP, Dr. Kallaya mentioned that the symptoms of severe growth retardation were noticed in 2nd and 3rd month of culture and that the horizontal spread in the farm is a reality. With the development of SWP PCR, a highly specific diagnostic method has been developed for EHP. BIOTEC has developed novel spore viability assay and has suggested increasing the pH of the soil as a practical means of for spore germination at the farm level and a method of inactivation of EHP spores and prevent EHP carry over. Dr. Kallaya also mentioned of EHP presence in animals affected with severe white faeces syndrome.

Dr. Oliver Decamp, Product Manager, INVE Aquaculture, Belgium elaborated on ‘’The Emergence of White Faeces Syndrome and possible measures to prevent it”. He said that new pathogens have dramatically and drastically affected, shrimp farming for the past five years in Asian as well as Latin American regions. Some of them were by defined causative agents like EMS, EHP, etc. while a few others were requiring more investigation, like running mortality syndrome and white faeces. Potential causative agents for White faeces can be mycotoxins, gregarines, cyanobacteria, microsporidians and vibrios. He concluded that prevention of pathogen transfer from one phase to another should be attempted and also (re)colonising of pathogens by waste removal/control.

Mr Anil Ghanekar, General Secretary of SAP, thanked all the speakers, delegates and expressed the organisation’s indebtedness to its sponsors for facilitating to organize the conference in style.

The participants acknowledged Aqua India 2018 as a grand event in terms of quality of the topics and speakers selected for the event.



Source: Aquaculture Spectrum

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