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Increasing Density and Yield in Shrimp Farming

The density of shrimp populations in ponds has a direct impact on growth performance in aquaculture. Yet increasing the density of a shrimp farm can cause health issues and delayed growth in shrimps if it is not planned properly. What are the ways to increase the density and yield of a shrimp farm without degrading the health and living conditions of its inhabitants?

The density of a shrimp farm depends on many factors:

  • the degree of intensification
  • the environment;
  • the energy, human and material resources available;
  • the health context;
  • the species;
  • legislation and the conditions of certifications.
Aquaculture system classification based on stocking density and extent of inputs

Degree of intensification
In order to characterize the type of farming considered, a classification based on stocking density and extent of inputs is often used (see table):

Depending on the chosen scale of farm intensity, shrimp outputs may range from a few hundred kilograms in extensive systems up to several dozen tons per hectare and per cycle in most intensive systems.
Increases in outputs can only be achieved by resorting to specific and expensive methods, tools and resources: aerators, genetics, high performance feed along with a skilled workforce. Such choices involve significant investments. These should be calculated in the light of three factors: the available funds, the level of production allowed and the likely return on investment given by market conditions.

Environmental parameters
The environmental parameters concerned are mainly the following:

  • climate (sunniness, temperature, precipitation)
  • water (salubrity, oxygenation, salinity)
  • tidal amplitude;
  • pond soil

Energy, human and material resources available
The more intensified the farm is, the more important it is to have access to qualitative and reliable resources, i.e. energy, human and material resources. It is also important to be able to obtain a quality feed at a reasonable price. Intensifying a shrimp farming system also means reducing the share of natural ingredients in the feed. The feed used should therefore provide all the nutrients needed in order to maintain the animal in good health and to attain satisfactory growth performance.
Another essential element of farming intensification is the hiring of a skilled and motivated workforce. Indeed, an increase in shrimp outputs per unit and per area requires an upgraded level of expertise in the management of these farms.

Health context
This aspect is particularly important in carcinoculture. It has a definite impact on the threshold of maximum densities allowed in a pond. The health impacts of intensification need to be assessed on an ongoing basis; health problems can thus lead a farm to question its practices, and a larger disease outbreak can require a whole sector to review its current methods.

Cultivated species
Choice of the cultivated species, when it is possible, is likely to impact the threshold of maximum densities accepted within a pond. Higher densities can be the object of different stress depending on the species. Moreover, the physical proximity between animals is conducive to disease diffusion as it favors the transfers of pathogens. The densities chosen should therefore be compatible with the species bred.

Jurisdiction and certification
A farm is subject to the relevant legislation and regulations of the jurisdiction in which it is located. Moreover, most existing certifications set maximum density thresholds. So upon planning the breeding cycle, it is important to ensure that rules or specification recommendations given are followed.

Whatever your environment and your stage of intensification, the TECHNA Group will assist you in upgrading your farming methods and rationalizing your practices. For more information please contact our experts!

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