Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture Produces Specific Pathogen free L.Vannamei Broodstock for the First Time in India
Specific Pathogen Free (SPF) Litopenaeus vannamei broodstock developed for the first time in India by Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture, the R & D arm of the Marine Products Export Development Authority in association with the Oceanic Institute, Hawaii, USA, is ready for supply to hatchery operators at reasonable rate. The primary objective of this initiative is to produce selectively bred Litopenaeus vannamei shrimp broodstock (mother shrimp) that exhibit good hatchery performance for producing high quality shrimp seed which should exhibit fast growth and high survival on commercial shrimp farms in India.
Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture is a Society functions under the Marine Products Export Development Authority, a statutory body set up by the Government of India under the MPEDA Act 1972, under the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Govt. of India, for promotion of export of marine products from India.
During the financial year 2011-12, for the first time in the history of Marine product exports, the export earnings have crossed US$ 3.5 billion. Exports aggregated to 0.86 million tonnes valued at Rs. 16597.23 crores and US$ 3508.45 million. Compared to the previous year, seafood exports recorded a growth of 6.02% in quantity, 28.65% in rupee and 22.81% growth in US$ earning. Frozen Shrimp is the major export value item accounting for 49.63% of the total US dollar earnings. The above was achieved during a period of recession in the international market. One of the major reasons for the increase in production and higher export turnover was due to the introduction of SPF L.vannamei shrimp for Aquaculture production.
Considering the established infrastructure for farming shrimps in India, it is reasonably easy for L.vannamei farming and can substantially contribute to marine product export from the country. However, one of the major obstacles for increasing the L.vannamei production is the non-availability of quality SPF broodstock in India in required quantities.
Currently shrimp hatcheries import L.vannamei broodstock from Broodstock Multiplication Centres in USA, Thailand and Singapore with high shipping cost and transit loss due to mortality. Average cost of broodstock when it reaches the hatchery is estimated at Rs.5000/- and the higher cost of broodstock and transportation ultimately get transferred to the shrimp farmers who purchase seeds at a higher price (Rs. 0.6 per seed). High cost of broodstock is also prompting some hatcheries to source broodstock from shrimp ponds which ultimately results in the production of poor quality seeds and subsequent crop loss to farmers. About 80% of the shrimp farmers are marginal and small scale farmers with 0.5 to 5 Ha water spread area and the success of the crop largely depends on the quality of seeds supplied to the farmers. Hence for sustaining the productivity and profitability of shrimp farmers, it is essential that quality seeds are provided to farmers at reasonable rate.
In this circumstance, MPEDA initiated a collaborative project through RGCA and Oceanic Institute, Hawaii, USA, an affiliate of Hawaii Pacific University and engaged in Aquaculture research since 1960 is a not-for-profit research and development organization dedicated to marine aquaculture, biotechnology, and coastal resource management, to produce selectively bred Litopenaeus vannamei shrimp broodstock that exhibit good maturation/hatchery performance. The production unit of SPF L.Vannamei Broodstock of RGCA is functioning from Mangamaripeta, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.
Though L.vannamei is a native to the Pacific coast of central and south America, one of the major reason for L.vannamei’s popularity among shrimp farmers world-wide is due to the availability of selectively bred fast growing improved quality specific pathogen free (SPF) and specific pathogen resistant (SPR) seeds. Selectively bred SPF L.vannamei also has the potential to grow under intensive culture conditions, tolerates a wide range of salinities & temperatures and require only lower protein diet and can also utilize the natural productivity of shrimp ponds in intensive culture conditions. It is generally considered to be more resistant to diseases and can mate and spawn easily under captivity and the survival rates during hatchery rearing are generally higher.
Specific Pathogen Free Post larvae imported from Nucleus Breeding Centre of Oceanic Institute, Hawaii, USA, shall be grown from PL to 40 gms in MPEDA/RGCA facility Vizag.. Six to eight months period is required for growing PL to 40 gms size. The above project has the capacity to produce 45000 number of broodstock annually.
This project shall help Indian farmers to produce 1.35 lakh MT of additional shrimp for export worth around Rs. 4000 crores per annum by utilizing about 10,000 Ha water spread area for two crops per annum.
Most importantly, this initiative of MPEDA will deliver quality broodstock to shrimp hatcheries and thus ensure the supply of quality seeds required for several thousands of small and marginal farmers at affordable price.
The first batch of around 20000 Nos. of high quality SPF L.vannamei broodstock produced at RGCA facility at Visakhapatnam is ready for supply to approved shrimp hatcheries in India at half the price of imported stock.