Monday, 3 March 2014

Seafood exports to get a shot in the arm with successful domestication of Black Tiger shrimps

Black Tiger Shrimp

Port Blair, February 28:

Scientists at the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture (RGCA) have achieved a major breakthrough in boosting the country's seafood export industry by successfully domesticating and selectively breeding the Black Tiger Shrimp, an indigenous species that has a huge demand in the International seafood market. The move is expected to generate atleast $1 billion per annum over the coming years and expand Indian
seafood exports in a big way.

Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Anand Sharma dedicated the Nucleaus Breeding Centre of the Domestication of Tiger Shrimp Project of the RGCA to the nation at a function held here on Friday and said that the successful breeding of the Black Tiger Shrimp was an important milestone in Indian seafood industry.

"Farmed aquaculture contributes 65% of the total seafood exports in the country that generates US $ 4 billion annually. Shrimp production alone contributes 80% of the total farmed aquaculture products. With the successful breeding of pathogen free Black Tiger shrimps, we hope to increase our exports substantially," Anand Sharma said.

Black Tiger Shrimp is an indigenous species that has been captivated by farmers and been bred in farms extensively for decades. Use of non domesticated wild brood stock resulted in the shrimps contracting a deadly virus called the White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV) sometime during the mid 1990's wiping out entire farms resulting in huge losses
for thousands of shrimp farmers. As the virus spread, seafood export industry suffered heavy losses prompting Indian aquaculture farmers to start breeding the American White Leg shrimp, an alien species that was successfully domesticated and selectively bred in the United States during the 1980s.

"Although we had a superior quality shrimp indigenous to India, our farmers had to go for breeding American White Leg shrimp (L Vannamei) as we did not have the technology to domesticate the Black Tiger Shrimp. This project was conceived to bring back the Black Tiger shrimp in India in 2006," said Ms Leena Nair, Chairman of Marine
Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) who championed the project to completion. She added that domestication and selective breeding programmes were sustaining eco friendly Aquaculture.

Black Tiger Shrimp is one of the most difficult species to domesticate and currently there are only four ongoing programmes for domestication of Tiger Shrimp across the world.

Multiplication centre in Kanyakumari will mass produce and supply Black Tiger shrimps to hatcheries

The Tiger Shrimp Domestication Programme of the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture (RGCA) here is a fully pedigreed selective breeding programme for the production of high quality Specific Pathogen Free
(SPF) shrimps.

Domestication is defined as the process by which livestock are genetically improved over successive generations of breeding to develop livestock that are genetically improved over successive generations of breeding to develop trains such as fast growth, high survival rate and resistance to diseases.

RGCA's project was initiated in the Andamans considering the genographical isolation of the area and the excellent bio-security it offered. The institution has achieved path breaking scientific advancement in domesticating the Black Tiger Shrimp by achieving production of sixth generation of shrimps. This enables the country to join elite club of Tiger Shrimp domestication ventures, say officials at the RGCA.

The stock (SPF shrimps) generated here would be sent to the Brood Stock Multiplication Centre for Tiger Shrimps at Kanyakumari, foundation stone for which was also laid on the same day, for mass
production and easy supply to shrimp hatcheries across the country. "The completion and commissioning of the Multiplication Centre would facilitate production and supply of over 50,000 SPF Tiger shrimps per
annum to the industry which would result in production of 100,000 MT of quality tiger shrimp through acquaculture which is worth USD 1 billion. 

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