Freshwater Prawns In Myanmar


Fujimura (1966)

USA (other States)



Ling & Costello (1979)

a The species is also indigenous in these countries.

a The species is also indigenous in these countries.

the recruitment of Michael New by the FAO in 1979, he and Somsak Singholka managed this project jointly until 1981, after which the Thai government continued this initiative alone. Here, as in Hawaii, the major stimulus for the development of prawn farming was the provision not only of technical advice but also of free PL for stocking the initial commercial grow-out operations on each farm. Freshwater prawns were soon being distributed all over Thailand.

Farmed freshwater prawn production expanded from less than 5t in 1976 to an estimated 400t in 1981 (Boonyarat-palin &Vorasayan 1983). By 1984, annual Thai production had exceeded 31001 (FAO 2008), a truly explosive expansion that was aided by the development of'backyard' hatcheries (Kongkeo, New & Sukumasavin 2008).

This alone was a significant development within Thai aquaculture. However, this project also generated information for a technical manual (New & Singholka 1982, 1985), which the FAO published in English, French and Spanish and which was translated by others into Vietnamese and Farsi. In addition, several workshops, conferences and reviews made important contributions to the early development of freshwater prawn farming. A leaflet on this topic was published in England (Forster&Wickins 1972) andthis subject, combined with marine shrimp biology and culture, was reviewed by Wickins (1976). Workshops on freshwater prawn farming in the western hemisphere were held in 1974 and 1976. A summary of the proceedings of the 1974 meeting was published (Goodwin & Hanson 1975) and the proceedings of the second workshop in the USA formed part of a book by Hanson & Goodwin (1977), which included one of the earliest bibliographies on the biology and culture of Macrobrachium spp. (Trimble & Sandifer 1977). An international conference on this topic was held in Vietnam in 1975, in which Takuji Fujimura also had a hand.

However, 'Giant Prawn 1980' was probably more influential in stimulating further global research and development, commercial farming, and personal contacts in this field than any other conference. With the aid of the FAO project on the expansion of freshwater prawn farming, the Thai Department of Fisheries hosted this meeting, the first international aquaculture conference ever held in Thailand (New 1982). One hundred and fifty-nine participants attended from thirty-three countries, and a further two hundred local farmers participated in a special session in the Thai language. One of the two original Macrobrachium pioneers, Takuji Fujimura, by then working in Hong Kong, was an active chairman of the discussions on practical prawn farming. The other, Shao-Wen Ling, though unable to attend personally, sent a welcoming address.

'Giant Prawn 1980' was convened by the author of this chapter, and was attended by several of its other chapter authors, namely Sterling (Ken) Johnson (Chapter 14), Spencer Malecha (Chapter 15), and Patrick Sorgeloos (Chapter 6), and others who have contributed information for this book, especially Chapter 17. Participants in 'Giant Prawn 1980' also included others who led freshwater prawn farming developments, including Bill Fitzgerald (Guam), I-Chiu Liao and Nai-Hsien Chao Liao (Taiwan), Lee Chan Lui (Malaysia), the late Rogene Thompson and Jean-Marie Huron (Mauritius), Paul Sandifer (USA), and many colleagues from Thailand. Many years later, a participant from Myanmar, Nyan Taw, stated that 'commercial farming of freshwater prawns actually started to take off in 1980 after the first international aquaculture conference "Giant Prawn 1980"' (Taw 1997). Unfortunately, the proceedings of this meeting (New 1982) are now out of print. However, a new conference is being planned - 'Giant Prawn 2011', which may be held in Qingdao, China, in conjunction with World Aquaculture 2011; this will provide an opportunity to review progress in the intervening three decades and to report current research and commercial activities.

Since 'Giant Prawn 1980', in addition to the FAO manual already mentioned, which was completely rewritten with updated information in 2002 (New 2002) and has been issued in Chinese and Arabic, with other languages programmed, many other manuals were published (Valenti 1985; Cavalcanti etal. 1986; Hollshmit 1988; Gray 1990a,b; Griessinger et al. 1991; Chowdhury et al. 1993; Sebastian et al. 1993). Freshwater prawn farming has also been reviewed in a number of other publications (New 1990, 1995, 1998, 2005, 2007; Valenti 1990, 1998; Brown 1991; Lee & Wickins 1992; McVey 1993; Wickins & Lee 2002; New et al. 2008) and further conferences specifically devoted to this topic have been held, for example in India (Silas 1992; Thakur et al. 1994; Nair et al. 2005, 2007) and in Brazil in 1995 (see the Preface to this book). In addition to the people mentioned above, and the teams that worked with them, many other people were early pioneers in the introduction of commercial freshwater prawn (M. rosenbergii) culture around the tropical world, including Keramat Ali (Bangladesh), J.D. Ardill (Mauritius), Lourinaldo Cavalcanti (Brazil), Dan Cohen and Adrian Barnes (Israel), Michael Fujimoto and Dale Sarver (Hawaii), Roy Jenson (Martinique), Somphong Suwannatous and Piamsak Menasveta (Thailand), and Nyan Taw (Myanmar), as well as others whose names will be found in the reference lists of this book.

In the western hemisphere, a number of activities that aimed at exploring the possibility of intensive freshwater prawn farming in temperate areas, including Europe and the USA, were begun in the 1960s. M. rosenbergii was introduced into England in 1966 by the economist Keir Campbell, with whom the author of this chapter worked from 1969 to 1971, when Ranks Hovis McDougall (a flour, bakery and animal feedstuff manufacturer) was exploring the potential of its culture under environmentally controlled conditions. These studies proceeded in parallel with the research of John Forster, Terry Beard and John Wickins in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food laboratory in Wales (Goodwin & Hanson 1975). In 1972 Michael New initiated similar work for a pharmaceutical company, Syntex, in California and in Mexico, where Mike Choud-hury (later FAO aquaculture specialist in Bangkok) was also involved. The author's Syntex team continued these studies under the leadership ofEd McSweeny. However, while environmentally controlled culture proved technically feasible, the cost of heat made it economically inadvisable and attention mainly reverted to semi-intensive farming in tropical areas. One exception has been the interest in the culture of freshwater prawns using thermal waters, which was exhibited in a number of countries, including Italy and the USA. New Zealand is the only country where this activity has become commercial but others are expected to follow (Chapter 17).

Another exception has been the development of M. rosen-bergii farming in temperate areas where summer temperatures in open ponds are sufficiently high. Following the early work of Paul Sandifer and his team in South Carolina, this has shown considerable commercial potential in the USA (Chapter 10). Much of the substantial production of freshwater prawns from aquaculture in China comes from areas where the grow-out of M. rosenbergii is only feasible in summer months, or from the culture of M. nipponense, which is more tolerant of lower temperatures (Chapter 21). There is also a limited grow-out season in some regions of other producing countries, for example in the South and part of the Southeast of Brazil.

Despite these research and commercial initiatives, a considerable proportion of global freshwater prawn farmed output still originates from areas where year-round grow-out is feasible, such as the Indian sub-continent, Southeast Asia and the tropical areas of Latin America. The expansion of commercial freshwater prawn farming (see section 1.2) has been aided by many individual research workers and developmental projects. Their achievements are numerous and have included the development of practical recirculation systems for hatcheries, improved understanding of the management of the heterogeneous prawn populations in grow-out ponds, and a recognition of the special requirements of freshwater prawns during harvesting and processing to ensure that only high-quality products reach the market. The other chapters of this book are devoted to recording these and many other developments in this field that have occurred.

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