Since 2000 the global farming of Macrobrachium rosen-bergii has expanded considerably, production of a second major species (M. nipponense) has soared to essentially equivalent levels in China, and other species of existing or potential commercial importance (M. malcolmsonii and M. amazonicum) have also emerged. By 2007, total annual global production of all freshwater prawn species was nearly 460,000 t, with a value exceeding US$ 1.86 billion. Further expansion has undoubtedly occurred since 2007. These developments prompted our publishers to suggest the preparation of a book on this topic. The result is a compendium of information on every aspect of the biology and farming of freshwater prawns. Coverage includes biology and taxonomy; hatchery and grow-out culture systems; nutrition, feeds and feeding; genetics; size management; commercial developments around the world; post-harvest handling and processing; marketing; economics and business management; and sustainability. A team of 44 exceptionally well-known and internationally-respected authors have contributed cutting edge chapters covering all major aspects of the areas of interest. Although the book focuses on the giant river prawn Macrobrachium rosenbergii, significant information about other commercially significant species, including M. nipponense, M. malcolmsonii and M. amazonicum is included.

In deciding the content ofthe book and selecting authors of each chapter, we decided to provide a summary not only of all facets of the biology and husbandry of freshwater prawns but also the processing and marketing of the final product. In fact, unusual for a scientific text, the reader will also benefit from the inclusion of some recipes to prepare freshwater prawns for consumption.

This comprehensive review of the status of freshwater prawn farming research, development and commercial practice, in addition to complementary biological research with potential commercial application, is intended to educate and likewise stimulate further increases in knowledge and understanding.

Readers should find our book to be a useful reference text and teaching aid, and those who farm, sell, market, and consume freshwater prawns will find that it contains informative and thought-provoking material relevant to their businesses. Any form of aquaculture research has little or no value unless a marketable product can be produced, a requisite which is sometimes unconsciously overlooked by scientists. Currently, the importance of ensuring that aquaculture is a responsible and sustainable enterprise is constantly being stressed. Freshwater prawn farming is that type of aquaculture, with low environmental impact and offering substantial socio-economic opportunities. Therefore, we agreed that it is particularly important and timely that an up-to-date review of the principles of freshwater prawn farming be published.

Michael B. New Marlow, Bucks, UK August 2009

James H. Tidwell Frankfort, Kentucky, USA August 2009

Methil N. Kutty Palakkad, Kerala, India August 2009

Wagner C. Valenti Jaboticabal, SP, Brazil August 2009

Lou R. D'Abramo Mississippi State, USA August 2009

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