The US Marine Shrimp Farming Program USMSFP was formed in 1984 to conduct shrimp aquaculture research and to transfer technologies developed from this research to industry stakeholders in an effort to support a domestic shrimp farming industry. US shrimp farmers must rely on advanced technologies to offset advantages enjoyed by foreign producers. Most foreign producers have a competitive cost advantage due to cheaper land and labor, and less restrictive laws to protect the environment. However, production methods used by many foreign shrimp farmers are not environmentally sustainable or economically viable in the long term.
Massive shrimp diseases continue to plague the global shrimp farming industry resulting in millions of dollars in lost revenue, and shrimp products exported from some foreign producers contain antibiotics. Antibiotic residues in farmed shrimp products have direct human health consequences. In 1988, the USMSFP began to focus its research efforts on developing technologies that have been used successfully in other US agricultural industries, particularly the poultry and swine industries. These industries rely on the production of Specific Pathogen free SPF, selectively bred animals which are reared under biosecure conditions and fed formulated diets designed to meet their nutritional needs. <P>The USMSFP has provided US farmers with the tools and knowledge to apply these technologies on their farms. Specifically, the USMSFP has disseminated SPF, selectively bred shrimp to US hatcheries and US broodstock suppliers. Shrimp have been selectively bred for rapid growth and disease resistance, using breeding technologies and disease diagnostic tools developed by USMSFP researchers. SPF status is confirmed using these disease diagnostic tools, and USMSFP researchers continue to identify new shrimp pathogens and develop ways to mitigate their impact.<P> In addition, USMSFP researchers have developed biosecure production technologies to rear shrimp under super-intensive conditions with minimal water use. These technologies will allow US shrimp farmers to grow shrimp at inland locations away from sensitive coastal areas, and with a small environmental footprint. Also, these technologies will allow US shrimp farmers to produce shrimp closer to major markets, thereby reducing transport costs and the number of "food miles", which is a measure of environmental impact. <P>Among the USMSFP members, Oceanic Institute has the primary responsibility of managing the shrimp breeding program and in maintaining the SPF status of the breeding stocks. Tufts University has the lead in molecular immunology and gene marker development. The University of Arizona and the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory focus on disease research and the development of disease diagnostic tools. Waddell Mariculture Center and Texas AgriLife Research work on developing biosecure production systems, nutritional research, and assisting local shrimp farmers. Finally, Nicholls State University focuses on waste remediation in pond and raceway culture systems. The integration of these advanced technologies should allow US shrimp farmers to produce high-quality shrimp at competitive prices.
NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: Shrimp are the most preferred seafood in the US. In 2007, per capita consumption of shrimp was 4.1 pounds. Although the domestic demand is high, domestic production is low, especially from farmed shrimp. In 2007, US shrimp farmers produced an estimated 6.0 million pounds, representing 0.08% of total world production for that year. The disparity between domestic demand and domestic supply has resulted in a reliance on imported products and a growing federal trade deficit in shrimp. Imported shrimp may be inferior to domestically grown shrimp and there are human health concerns about antibiotic residues which may be present in some imported products. The US Food and Drug Administration is charged with inspecting seafood imported into the US, but this agency is only able to inspect a small percentage of products that are for US markets. In light of a growing federal trade deficit in shrimp products, and concerns about food safety, there are compelling reasons to support a US shrimp farming industry. Expanding the US shrimp farming industry using traditional approaches is not feasible due to concerns about environmental pollution, disease transmission, and cost of production. Traditionally, shrimp have been cultured in coastal ponds where flow-through water exchange is used to maintain acceptable water quality. However, influent water can serve as a vector for virulent shrimp pathogens and pond effluent can adversely affect coastal water quality. In addition, expanding shrimp farms in coastal areas may cause multiple-use conflicts and traditional shrimp farms are restricted to more southern latitudes because of the warm-water requirements of the shrimp. This restriction increases transport costs to major markets and increases the number of "food miles", which is a measure of environmental impact. In order for the US shrimp farming industry to expand, US shrimp farmers must rely on advanced technologies modeled after other successful US agribusinesses, such as the poultry and swine industries. These industries are based on the production of Specific Pathogen free (SPF), selectively bred animals which are reared under biosecure conditions and fed formulated diets designed to meet their nutritional needs. The US Marine Shrimp Farming Program (USMSFP) will focus its research efforts on developing these technologies and transferring them to US stakeholders. The USMSFP will disseminate SPF, selectively bred shrimp to US hatcheries and US broodstock suppliers. Shrimp will be selectively bred for rapid growth and disease resistance, using advanced breeding technologies and disease diagnostic tools developed by USMSFP researchers. USMSFP researchers will confirm SPF status, identify new shrimp pathogens, develop ways to mitigate their impact and will develop biosecure production technologies to rear shrimp under super-intensive conditions with minimal water use. This will allow US shrimp farmers to grow shrimp at inland locations away from sensitive coastal areas, and with a small environmental footprint. The integration of these advanced technologies will allow US shrimp farmers to produce high-quality shrimp at competitive prices for a US market.
APPROACH: The US Marine Shrimp Farming Program's FY09 Implementation Plan supports research that addresses challenges which constrain the US shrimp farming industry. The Plan targets three major objectives: Stock Improvement, Disease Control, and Sustainable Culture Technology. Stock improvement efforts will focus on improving shrimp growth and survival in recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) under super-intensive conditions, and improving shrimp survival after exposure to Taura syndrome virus (TSV). For the first time, efforts will be made to assess shrimp survival after exposure to Infectious myonecrosis virus (IMNV) and Necrotizing Hepatopancreatitis (NHP). Genetic correlations in shrimp family survival among these three pathogens will be determined. Disease control efforts will be made to characterize hemocytes from shrimp families with different susceptibilities to TSV, using monoclonal antibodies. This work may lead to the development of molecular markers for disease resistance. USMSFP researchers will continue to work with national and international organizations to disseminate information about shrimp health and diseases, provide disease diagnostic services to industry stakeholders, and develop and refine disease diagnostic procedures for viral and bacterial pathogens. Efforts will be made to better understand the epidemiology of TSV and NHP, and work will continue on the pathology of several viral and bacterial pathogens. This will include investigating the genetic diversity of major shrimp viruses and determining if antibiotic resistant bacteria emerge after using medicated feeds. Disease control efforts also will include evaluating the efficacy of commercially available immunostimulants and feed additives which have purported shrimp health benefits. Sustainable culture technology efforts will continue to focus on reducing production costs in super-intensive RAS. Work will be done to improve the accuracy of standing crop estimates, better understand the microbial ecology of these systems, and refine technologies to treat solid wastes. In addition, shrimp nutrition work will continue. Efforts will be made to determine the essential amino acid requirements for shrimp and to better understand the effects of feed processing on feed nutrition. Finally, efforts will continue to develop SPF, domesticated stocks of Penaeus setiferus in response to industry requests to explore the potential of bait shrimp production in the U.S.