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Meet held on shrimp farming practices

Experts call for migration from unsustainable techniques to eco-friendly alternatives

Aquaculture experts have called for an urgent migration from unsustainable shrimp farming practices to eco-friendly alternatives to ring in the ‘blue revolution’ in the fisheries sector.

Participating in an Indo-Mexican conference on “Developments in aquaculture: Nutrition and Disease Management” hosted by the Department of Microbiology, Pondicherry University, the key speakers pointed out that unsustainable methods such as those used in shrimp aquaculture would only generate short and medium-term profits at the expense of long-term ecological balance and social stability.

The two-day conference stressed the need for comprehensive planning with long-term goals and perspectives for broadbasing sustainable, eco-friendly aquaculture.

A.S. Ninawe former Advisor to Department of Biotechnology, inaugurated the two-day event. Vice-Chancellor Gurmeet Singh of the Pondicherry University, in his presidential address pointed to the uniqueness of aquaculture practice in India and the major economic role played by India in this domain.

L. Elizabeth Cruz Suarez, Director, Programa Mariculture, explained the importance of the development of good antibiotics without any side effects related to aquaculture and disease management.

According to a press note from the university, aquaculture played a very important role in the Indian agricultural economy. Besides, aquaculture nutrition has a vital contribution to the sustainable development of the ecosystem. The main objective of the conference was to develop better aquaculture nutrition and proper disease management.

A majority of shrimps are farmed commercially in two regions, S. America and Asia/SE Asia with the major export markets being the US, Europe and Japan. Over 50% of shrimps farmed are Penaeus vannamei (the Pacific white shrimp or king prawn) and these provide an important source of dietary protein and as of this year, have replaced red meat as the primary source of animal protein.

This trend is likely to continue and shrimp aquaculture has intensified considerably. In India which is the focus of this application nearly 11 lakh/ha are available for potential shrimp aquaculture. Shrimp production in India is around 6 lakh tonnes per year, raising visions of a Blue Revolution after the Green and White Revolution.

Production of healthy shrimps that are pathogen-free and disease resistant is one of the strategies towards sustainable aquaculture. Use of highly digestible, low protein, highly efficient quality feeds and adoption of appropriate feeding strategies would reduce wastage and would greatly enhance the scope of ecofriendly aquaculture. Therefore, sustainable aquaculture practices require multi-dimensional approaches which have been mostly lacking in the available literature/reports, speakers said.

P. P. Mathur, Dean, School of Life Sciences, Pondicherry University, said research was currently under way to diagnose diseases in shrimp.

The ongoing studies were also more focused on the production for better probiotics that help in better aquaculture production, etc, he said.

Joseph Selvin, organising secretary and Maheswaran Mani, assistant professor, also spoke.

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