Armando Leon, president and chief executive officer of Aonori Aquafarms, has just completed a pilot harvest that demonstrates the potential for growing Pacific brown shrimp (Farfantepenaeus californiensis) in ponds covered with a mat of macroalgae (Ulva clathrata). The shrimp feed on the algae and the small organisms that live in it, and the algae recycle shrimp waste products and produce oxygen. The algae is harvested as a high-value crop to produce seaweed snacks. Thus far, Armando has built sixteen ponds and a hatchery. To stock his ponds for the pilot growout, he produced postlarvae from wild broodstock.
He decided to work with F. californiensis because it’s a cool water
species that’s native to the area where he plans to build farms and
because of research done at Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del
Noroeste (CIBNOR) in La Paz, Baja California, Mexico, that shows that
macroalgae and brown shrimp grow well together. Both species grow well
at temperatures from 20 to 30 degrees centigrade and can be grown for
most of the year at his location. In addition, a big market and
commercial fishery exist for californiensis from southern California to
We have just completed the first harvest from out pilot farm on the
Pacific coast of Baja California near the town of San Quintin. We
believe this is the first time pond-raised Pacific brown shrimp (F.
californiensis) has been sold commercially. The product quality (sweet
flavor, firm texture and deep pink color) is excellent, and we believe
it is the best farm raised shrimp in the world.
learned a lot this year.
After considering six geographic options around the Baja California
Peninsula, a reliable source of californiensis broodstock was found
close to our farm (within ten kilometers). The shrimp, captured with a
permit from the Mexican Government (CONAPESCA), were whitespot free
(analyzed by polymerase chain reaction) and certified by CESABC (the
Aquatic Animal Health Committee). Female size was 60-97 grams, male size
was 40-50 grams.
We produced our own postlarvae using wild-caught broodstock from San
Quintin Bay. We found no need for eye-stalk ablation with the
californiensis females. The hatchery got off to a slow start with some
initial problems with our temperature controls and a few other details,
but once it was running, things worked out quite well. Postlarvae (PLs)
survivals were 80%, and we had more than enough PLs to stock our ponds.
This success is due in large part to the assistance we received from Dr.
Francisco Magallon at CIBNOR.
We used 16 ponds (each 1,750/m2) to test several different stocking densities and culture conditions. Stocking densities ranged from a low of about 10 to a high of 50 animals per square meter, with an average of 30 m2. It seems, at least with our current state of knowledge, that stocking densities of 50 per square meter, or even 40 m2, are too high for our system.
Our overall feed conversion ratio (FCR) was about 0.8. We expect that
this number will go down as we get more experience in managing our
ponds. Shrimp in our ponds get a lot of nutrition from pond
productivity, so we expected a low FCR, but how low depends on the
quality of forage available in the pond and on feed quality. The average
growth rate was about 0.64 grams per week. That’s a lower growth rate
than farmers are getting with Penaeus vannamei, but we are just getting
started with the domestication of californiensis, so all things
considered it seems like a good number. The proprietary feed formulation
(thanks to Elizabeth Cruz of Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León)
contains no marine ingredients, part of our effort to qualify for a
green tag sustainability rating.
We have some preliminary data on shrimp behavior in our ponds, but
only for the day light hours. Brown shrimp are primarily active at
night, but it’s a lot harder to take movies at night. Please click on
the following link to view a video of shrimp behavior in our ponds:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sn2xs53YXtE. You will see that the shrimp
are active and engage in exploratory behavior. They are surprisingly
unafraid of our diver (Enrique Leon). They stay mostly on the bottom,
either in the sand or in bottom growing Ulva. They will hunt in the
floating mat as well, but they don’t spend as much time there. They
don’t seem to be very aggressive, and we have not observed fighting.
Shrimp will congregate in favored areas to some degree, but feeding
seems to be primarily solitary.
In September and October 2012, we had some low oxygen levels so aeration was necessary, costing about $6 per day per hectare (5-HP/ha for 10 hours a day) and adding about $100 a ton to production costs.
We have done both partial and complete harvests. For partial harvest,
traps that use light to attract the shrimp gave good results. For total
harvest it was necessary to harvest all the Ulva and drain the ponds,
allowing us to harvest the shrimp from a collection point with a pump.
To determine how the ponds and shrimp perform over the winter, we didn’t
harvest five of the ponds that contained 8-to-10-gram shrimp. They will
be harvested in March 2013. Our shrimp production was 2.5 tons per
hectare, 1.5 tons below our target for this year. We believe this
difference was mainly due to a 12-week delay at the beginning of our
We are now beginning the next production cycle with wild broodstock.
We will use some of our larger shrimp from the 2012 cycle for breeding,
but very few of them are sexually mature yet. Most of the breeders will
be wild caught for the 2013 season. The following year, 2014, we expect
to rely mainly on domesticated breeders. We expect to make incremental
gains in FCRs, feed costs, growth rates and yields in the 2013 season,
based on improved feeding practices, better ingredient sourcing, better
control of pond conditions and an earlier stocking date. With a FCR of
0.7, a growth rate of 0.75 grams a week, a stocking rate geared to a
harvest density of 25/m2 and a growing season of 34 weeks, we expect to
be able to harvest five tons per hectare of about 23-gram animals. With
economies of scale and continued improvement in growth rate and FCR this
puts us on track to meet our business model goals of 6 tons per hectare
Next year, with the support of our scientific advisors, Dr. Francisco Magallon and Dr. Ricardo Perez, we plan to introduced new, wild broodstock to our broodstock population. This will help maintain good genetic diversity and reduce inbreeding. We also plan to add the best animals from our growout ponds to the broodstock pool, which should result in annual improvements in growth rate, survival, food conversion—and reinforce in the habit of eating Ulva in the ponds.
Shrimp News: Armando mailed me four pounds of frozen, shell-on,
medium-size shrimp from the pilot harvest. I defrosted one pound of them
at room temperature, boiled them for about two minutes and gobbled them
down in about five minutes, some of them with their shells still on
because I was really hungry at the time and taking the shells off was
slowing me down. Just like the picture below, they cooked up to a bright
red and the flavor and texture were excellent. I plan to share the other
three pounds with my family on Christmas.
Information: For a video of Armando Leon discussing the history,
potential and future plans of Aonori Aquafarms, click on the following
Information: Armando Leon (firstname.lastname@example.org ) and Benjamin Moll
(email@example.com), Aonori Aquafarms, Inc., 8684 Avenida de
la Fuente, Suite 11, San Diego, California, USA 92154 (phone
1-619-785-3905, cell 1-408-439-4752, Skype: ArmandoALeon, in Mexico
52-664-687-4656, webpage http://www.aonori-aquafarms.com/home).
Sources: 1. Email to Shrimp News International from Armando Leon. Aonori Aquafarms Undate. Benjamin A. Moll, Ph.D. Aonori’s Chief Scientific Officer. December 13, 2012. 2. Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International, December 15, 2012.
Oceanic Institute Sells Penaeus vannamei Breeding Technology to
In the afternoon Dr. Amir Sagi presented the Mono-Sex prawn culture
with power point slides to Myanmar prawn farmers at MFF's meeting
hall(1). Also Mr. Haim Avioz presented the red Tilapia culture in China.
21.03.12 Dr. Amir Sagi and Mr.Haim Avioz were site seeing to Twantae near the Yangon City for prawn hatchery and Grow-out farm and discussed with owner for mono-sex culture in Myanmar.
22.03.12, Dr. Amir Sagi and Mr.Hail were presented the mono- sex
culture of prawn at Zoology Department, University of Yangon and in
the evening leaved form Yangon to Isreal.
Myanmar Shrimp Association (MSA)'s
president U Soe Tun, vice president Dr. Kyaw Tun Myint and U Maung
Maung Naing were left Yangon to Rakhine State on the March 15th
2012. The delegation group arrived at Sittwe airport at 13: 50 p.m.
local standard time. The Rakhine State Shrimp Association (RSA)'s
Chairman and party and Department of Fisheries Rakhine State head of
department and authorized persons were warmly welcomed at Sittwe
The delegation of MSA was called the meeting of State Livestock, Fisheries and Agriculture Minister U Kyaw Thein at 15:00 p.m. At the meeting MSA president discussed the
activity of MSA and present statues of shrimp culture in Rakhine State and globalized situations. The vice president of MSA discussed the aim of delegation and how to improve the Raphine's shrimp culture. The vice president said culture of Tiger shrimp was disease problem in world wide and within year 2011 Asian countries where as China, India, Vietnam and Indonesia were lost the billion of US$ and this disease problem was started in Rakhine since later 2004. Now Rakhine Shrimp farmers can survive species diversion. Instead of Tiger prawn (P, monodon) to White working legs shrimp (P.vannamei) and our MSA aim was going to environmental friendly culture in the State. Our MSA was none profitable organization and could not developed the state shrimp without NGO, INGO, UN organization and any other donors participation. And also need the participation and enforcement of Rakhine State Government. The Rakhine State shrimp culture main constraints were (1) Main dike construction (2) Cultured Species (3) Disease problem (4) Technical knowhow and MSA was tried to solved these constraints collaborated with Rakhine Shrimp farmers and State Government. MSA would like to introduce the Vannamei shrimp culture for Rakhine's shrimp farmers because of the Vannamei shrimp was specific pathogen free (SPF) or specific pathogen resistant (SPR) strain. IF it is culture in the state, there were be stopped the losses of beneficiaries and reduced the poverty of shrimp farmers. In this trip MSA would be done the site selection for demonstration pond of vannamie shrimp culture.
Meeting with the Minister of Rakhine State Livestock,
Fisheries and Agriculture
The meeting was finished at 15:30 p.m. and the delegation group visited to Shrimp seed production Hatchery ( Ye Chan Pyin) and head of the hatchery Staff officer Daw Than Than Aye presented the situation of hatchery operation. MSA's president and vice president were advised how to improved the hatchery operation.
In the second day (16.03.12) the delegation group visited to shrimp culture farm near the Min Chaung Bridge with RSA's chairman and party for demonstration pond. After the site seeing the delegation group was went to Kon Taung village and meets the shrimp farmers and discussed the current shrimp farm situations. At the focus group discussion shrimp farmer U Kyaw Thaung said they were started to join this shrimp culture since last 20 years and that time they got 20viss/acre (72 kg/Ha) and on the time being they got below average 5viss/acre (18kg/Ha). Also he said there had no technical knowhow and training program for the shrimp culture. They used natural fry when beginning of this
Meeting between shrimp farmers, RSA and MSA party
culture and tail to now but could not get sufficient amount since last five years and they bought hatchery fry for balance stocking amount for them. They could get the hatchery fry from DOF (Myanmar) and Bangladesh fry but their practices of these fry were collapsed stocked after one month. The objective of we came to here was what happened in shrimp culture in this region and how to assist the rehabilitations of shrimp culture development said by MSA's president. And he also said the species of Tiger prawn was disease problem in worldwide and the Asian country of China, India, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia were faced disease and looses the billion of US$. Vise president said, our mission was tried to species divested of P.monodon to P.vannamei for Rakhine's shrimp farmer why we said this P.vannamei was introduced in lower Myanmar area since 2006 and this species never faced the disease problem within the 7 years because of this species was specific pathogen free (SPF). Although you were interested, we would like to support the fry and technique for your region rehabilitation of shrimp culture. The villagers replied that they interested this news. The delegation party was seeing to U Kyaw Thaung's farm.
Meeting with Shrimp farmers at Sittwe DOF meeting hall
Discussion at Sittwe DOF meeting hall
In third day (17.03.12) MSA's president and vice president meet the RSA and Sittwe district's area shrimp farmers at meeting hall of Sittwe district DOF and presented the P.vannamei shrimp culture proposed plan by power point slides. The audiences were discussed the proposed plan and vice president answered behalf of MSA were following-
- MSA would support the P.vannmei fry and feed costs to farmers with RSAs' recommend and after harvest repay to for this costs without interest.
- Pond construction and preparation would be done by farmers.
MSA would like to many thanks for RSA and Rakhine State Government and their helps for this trip.