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Mitsubishi, Thai Union to put $35m into shrimp deals, new sites

December 19, 2012, 7:40 am

Mitsubishi Corporation and Thai Union Frozen Products will invest in acquiring shrimp farms as well as setting up new ones, as part of their joint venture plan, announced Tuesday.

“The total project cost is estimated at JPY 3 billion ($35.58 million), including plans to purchase existing mid-scale shrimp farming companies and set up new ones along the Thai coast, all giving due regard to environmental concerns,” said Mitsubishi.

The project targets a total annual increase in production capacity of up to 10,000 metric tons by fiscal year 2018.

The companies also plan to use the JV to enter the hatchery business from fiscal year 2013 for “full traceability and food safety”, said Mitsubishi.

Current global demand for both wild and farmed shrimp is approximately 6.5 million metric tons per annum.

“However, due to economic growth and increasing populations in emerging countries, demand is expected to rise, outstripping supply in the coming years. Safety and security requirements for shrimp products are also likely to become more stringent,” said Mitsubishi.

Mitsubishi and Thai Union “will work together through the JV to grow the shrimp business, covering operations from upstream to downstream, with the aim of securing safe and reliable shrimp”.

The statement cited Mitsubishi’s entry into the salmon farming business in Chile last year as a venture linked to this.

“The goal is to be well positioned to respond to imminent increases in global demand for shrimp products, while maintaining a high level of traceability,” it said.

Mitsubishi will hold 49% of shares in the JV, while Thai Union Feedmill (TFM), a Thai Union subsidiary and the second largest shrimp feed manufacturer in Thailand, will hold 51% of shares.

Aonori Aquafarms A New Way to Farm Shrimp

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 northern Peru.

Dr. Francisco Magallón at CIBNOR has been working on this concept for the past fifteen to twenty years. Aonori has an agreement with CIBNOR to develop the technology.

Results of the First Pilot Harvest
By Dr. Benjamin Moll, Aonori’s Chief Scientific Officer

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.

We 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: 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 production cycle.

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 in 2014.

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 link:

Information: Armando Leon ( ) and Benjamin Moll (, 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

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 China

The following news report originally appeared on a web page of the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences. I [Bob Rosenberry] used Google to translate the report into English and then ran the translation by someone fluent in Chinese before I edited it. There could be some errors in it. The original report—in Chinese—appears below my report.

On November 30, 2012, in Yangjiang, a prefecture-level city in southwestern Guangdong Province, China, Hawaii’s Oceanic Institute (USA), which has developed fast-growing lines of the western white shrimp (Penaeus vannamei), signed an agreement to transfer core shrimp breeding technology and genetically improved P. vannamei broodstock to Wanshida Aquatic Co., Ltd., which exports nearly $200 million worth of shrimp a year. Wanshida will own the intellectual property rights to the technology in China, and it will set up a research and breeding base in Yangjiang. The agreement also includes a strategic cooperation agreement with the South China Sea Fisheries Research Institute, part of the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences, for the training of researchers.

Myanmar Fisheries Federation (MFF) and American Soybean Association (ASSIM) held the Workshop to introduce the Sea bass culture on 10th February 2012.
The ASSIM joined together held the "Introduced the Sea bass culture "with MFF on Friday 10th February 2012 in No.1 meeting hall at MFF building, Yangon Myanmar. Lukas Manomaitis (ASA-IM SEA Technical Director – Aquaculture) and Taiwanese Aquaculturist Mr. Shorn deeply discussed the sea bass culture and how to do in Myanmar.
This trip was second time visited for ASSIM and they came to Myanmar 5th September 2011 and held the Shrimp Culture workshop joined together with Myanmar Shrimp Association (MSA).

Prawn Culture Mono- sex

DR. Amir Sagi, Professor of Ben-Gurim University Isreal and his partner Business man Mr. Haim Avioz was arrived to Yangon on 19.03.12. Myanmar Shrimp Association was invited to him for the Mono- sex culture formed in Myanmar. 20.03.12, Israeli Ambassador of Myanmar, Dr.Amir Sagi and his partner were meet MFF and MSA's EC members at MFF VIP meeting room and discussed the Aquaculture sector jointed together between these two countries.

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.

Goodwill Delegation of "Myanmar Shrimp Association" For Rakhine State

(West coast of Myanmar) Shrimp Culture Rehabilitation Development programme

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 Airport.
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.


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