Tiger shrimp culture, a million-dollar export industry in the nineties, struggles to recover
Production of tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) in the Philippines suffered a drastic decline back in the late 1990s. The country used to rank among the top 10 shrimp-producing countries in the world with production peaking at 90,426 metric tons in 1994. In 1995, government estimated the production output at 88,815 tons valued at 19 billion pesos.1
However, the industry was ill-prepared for intensification and the rampant use of unapproved chemicals and release of untreated wastewater into the environment triggered the emergence of a series of shrimp diseases that plague the industry until now.
Despite its high value, tiger shrimp production in 2018 stood at only 44,780.22 metric tons.2
- Promotion of eco-friendly strategies and effective biosecurity
- Production of high quality shrimp larvae
- Despite mainly extensive production, the tiger shrimp industry is still worth at least P15 billion
- Rehabilitation of the industry could at least double the production with less impact to the environment
- Tiger shrimp is a high-value commodity with high demand both in the domestic and export markets
1Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, 1996
2BFAR Online Information System 2018
What has SEAFDEC/AQD been doing? (2018-2020)
Enhanced biosecurity in new shrimp hatchery
The shrimp hatchery complex was prepared to provide high quality shrimp fry to be stocked in ponds. Enhanced biosecurity operations were implemented beginning with a spawner/broodstock facility. The facility is located outside the shrimp hatchery and serves to quarantine newly-arrived spawners and to sample spent spawners for the possible presence of pathogens. After spawning and analyses, nauplii from positive spawners are chlorinated and discarded while nauplii from negative spawners are stocked in the larval rearing facility located at the shrimp hatchery.
The hatchery is equipped with biosecurity features to prevent or lessen the accumulation of pathogens. A disinfection building was built for hatchery staff and visitors. Visitors are not allowed to enter the facility within 48 hours after visiting other hatcheries or farms. Rapid sand filters, UV sterilizers, filter bags, and enclosed larval rearing facilities ensure good quality rearing water. Larval rearing tanks are divided into two modules which allows resting of the other module after a run. Rearing water is sampled twice a week while the stocked fry are sampled at PL 5, PL 10 and PL 15 stage to make sure that they are disease-free before harvest.
Demonstration of eco-friendly pond culture
The technology demonstration projects for this program was divided into two phases. The first phase began in the Dumangas Brackishwater Station with the technology demonstration runs of low or partial discharge and closed-recirculating system of shrimp farming using environment-friendly schemes at the intensive, semi-intensive, and modified extensive levels of production. Successful technology demonstration runs will then be followed by the implementation of Phase 2 where demonstration will be done in private commercial shrimp farms.
In July 2019, disease-free fry were stocked in DBS to begin the experimental grow-out run using environment-friendly strategies. In October 2019, over 2.8 tons of tiger shrimp were harvested from a 0.5-hectare pond. After 113 days of culture, 93.3 % of the 100,000 PLs survived and attained an average body weight of 30 grams.
In November 2019, another 4.4 tons of tiger shrimp, with an average body weight of 30 g, were harvested from a 0.8-hectare pond after 120 days of culture, yielding a survival rate of 89.7 %. More runs will be conducted to verify the culture system in 2020. Once verified and proven effective, the technology will be adopted by BFAR Region 6 to be demonstrated in their technology outreach stations in Negros and Aklan and will be introduced to fish farmers.
Revival of tiger shrimp farming gets boost from PH gov’t
The Philippine Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) lauded the series of harvests by SEAFDEC/AQD which hauled a total of 7.2 tons of the prized tiger shrimp in October and November.
“Impressive, because this is really what I wanted to see the performance of tiger shrimp culture,” remarked BFAR-6 regional director Remia Aparri, who came to witness the harvest at the Dumangas Brackishwater Station on Nov. 13, 2019.
Aparri expressed support BFAR-6 Dir. Remia Appari (second from left) during the shrimp harvest in Nov 2019 for the Oplan Balik Sugpo initiative of SEAFDEC/AQD, the banner program of Chief Dan Baliao, that aims to revive tiger shrimp farming in the Philippines which was a multi-million-dollar industry in the nineties.
“The fact that it’s almost two decades that we stopped in sugpo farming, this will provide information to fisherfolks, clients, LGUs and to BFAR so that we can now, again, culture sugpo,” Aparri added.
The regional director also mentioned that the technology from SEAFDEC/AQD, once verified and proven effective, will be adopted by BFAR-6 to be demonstrated in their technology outreach stations in Negros and Aklan, and will be introduced to fish farmers who would wish to venture in the farming of sugpo.