After depending on the exotic shrimp species Penaeus vannamei, which is prone to disease outbreak, aquaculturists in the country have opted for Indian white shrimp as it has proven to be more robust and resistant to diseases. This native species will be promoted as an alternative to exotic species under the Make in India programme.
“It has performed very well in terms of growth and disease resistance under culture conditions and has surpassed the growth of P. vannamei during the first two-and-a-half months of culture, though it is non-Specific Pathogen Free (SPF) and has not been subjected to any selective breeding,” said Akshya Panigrahi, principal scientist at the Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA).
P. vannamei, a Pacific white shrimp, was introduced in 2009 after recurrent outbreaks of disease led to loss in the production of another Indian species, P. monodon. “Now P. vannamei has also become a victim of many viral, bacterial and parasitic diseases and suffered slow growth syndrome since it was introduced without proper scientific management practices,” said Mr. Panigrahi, who led a research project on upgrading the breeding and culture of Indian white shrimp.
Successful farming trials of P.indicus have been conducted in six maritime states — Odisha, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Gujarat — under the National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB). The results were encouraging as the productivity level ranged between three and six tonnes per hectare.
On August 3, the farmers’ group signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the CIBA for rearing the Indian white shrimp.
CIBA Director K.K. Vijayan said there was an urgent need to promote the farming of native indigenous species along with the exotic P. vannamei.
Mr. Panigrahi said promotion of P. indicus would dispense with the need for depending on other countries for brood stock. “P. indicus is available all over the Indian coast and breeding of the species is also easy,” he explained.
He said accidental release of non-native species led to a serious impact on the environment and biodiversity posed a serious risk of transmission of pathogens. “Native species like P. monodon have become rare after the introduction of P. vannamei,” he said.
CIBA has submitted a project report to the Union government for development of Indian white shrimp.
It envisages developing a total of 25,000 hectares and additional production of 1.5 lakh tonnes of native shrimp.