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Organic Farming of Marine Shrimp: A Holistic Approach to Management of Feeds & Microbial Dynamics


<OL> <LI>Explore the inter-relationships between organically certifiable diet formulations & characteristics of water column microbial floc communities in terms of shrimp growth, system productivity & edible tissue nutritional profiles. <LI>By controlling inputs of organic certifiable fertilizer & organic certifiable shrimp feed, C/N ratios will be modified to explore effects on the functional dynamics of system microbial floc communties.<LI> Model the funtional role of microbial floc communities in determining system water quality stability, efficiency of nitrogen & carbon assimilation into shrimp & production of dissolved & particulate waste. <LI>Deliver applied production information producers through commercial scale on-farm demonstration, seminars & publications.

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Non-Technical Summary: The US imports increasing quantities of shrimp of variable quality. Some imported products have been associated with contamination and/or environmentally unsustainable production practices. Holistic organic approaches for farming of shrimp will be developed. New organic certifiable plant-based diets will be applied in an integrated farming system designed to maximize natural productivity while minimizing waste. <P> Approach: Organic certifiable cultured shrimp can command competitive prices & can be raised in a sustainable manner that ensures high nutritional quality safety from chemical contamination,& minimal environmental impact from wastes. The proposed work builds on our recent success in raising shrimp on an organic certifiable, plant-based diet, as well as many years of experience developing high density, zero exchange production systems. The goal is to produce organic certifiable shrimp with all the nutritional quality of wild shrimp while managing the water quality & nutrient wastes in an environmentally sustainable, economically viable manner. The proposed project will develop, disseminate, & demonstrate protocols for a holistic approach to driving the functional dynamics of microbial floc communities in zero exchange shrimp aquaculture ponds by managing feed formulations & nutrient inputs. Using this ecosystem based approach, increasing shrimp growth, productivity & product quality can be achieved through food formulation integrated with naturally derived nutritional supplemention. It will also reduce export of wastes to the environment through enhanced nutrient cycling, as well as reduce both economic rish & livestock stress by stabilizing water chemistry. The goals will be achieved by a stewise process. First, feed composition will be varied in a microcosm system to explore the integrated effects of distinct microbial floc communities & diet formulation on shrimp growth, production & fatty acid composition. Second, carbon & nitrogen budgets will be modeled for a series of replicated mesocosm tanks in which shrimp stocking density & system nutrient inputs are varied in a controlled fashion. This will provide data for optimizing the timing & composition of organic fertilizer & organic shrimp feed for different production intensities. With the assistance of extension professionals, the results will be synthesized & disseminated through scientific publications presentation & extension fact sheets as well as by commercial scale farm demonstration trials in cooperation with two commercial producers. With the pending establishment of USDA standards for organic aquaculture, the timing of dissemination of practicl results of this research will be opportune to yeild verfiable increases in organic shrimp production.

Browdy, Craig
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
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