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This virus was first discovered in P. vannamei and P. stylirostris in the America, starting in Hawaii. However, it was probably not an indigenous virus, but was thought to have been introduced along with live P.monodon from Asia. IHHNV has probably existed for some time in Asia without detection due to its insignificant effects on P. monodon, the major cultured species in Asia, meaning that nobody was looking for it. Recent studies have revealed geographic variations in IHHNV isolates, which suggested that the Philippines were the source of the original infection in Hawaii, and subsequently in most shrimp farming areas of Latin America.

 

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IHHNV is a small single-stranded DNA-containing parvovirus, which is only known to infect only Penaeid shrimp. “Natural” infections are known to have occurred with P. stylirostris, P. vannamei, P. occidentalis and P. schmitti, while P.californiensis, P. setiferus, P. aztecus and P. duorarum were proven susceptible experimentally in Latin America. Penaeus monodon, P. semisulcatus, P. japonicas and P. chinensis and others are known to be susceptible in Asia. Catastrophic epidemics and multi- million dollar losses in shrimp culture have been attributed to IHHNV and it has had significant negative consequences for cultured P. vannamei in the America. Some indication of its impact may be gauged from work done in intensive culture systems in Hawaii, which improved yields by 162 percent through the stocking of shrimp bred specifically to be IHHNV resistant.

 

IHHNV was also largely responsible for the temporary cessation of Mexican commercial shrimp fishing for several years once it escaped from farms into the wild shrimp populations. IHHNV is now commonly found in cultured and wild Penaeid on the Pacific coast of Latin America from Mexico to Peru, but not yet from the eastern coast of Latin America. It has also caused problems for the Hawaiian broodstock and farm- based culture industries. IHHNV has also been reported from both cultured and wild Penaeid from throughout the Indo-Pacific region. IHHNV is fatal to P. stylirostris (unlike P. vannamei), which, although highly resistant to TSV are extremely sensitive to IHHNV , especially in the juvenile stages. However, IHHNV has not been associated with mass mortalities of P. stylirostris in recent years, probably due to the selection of IHHNV-resistant strains (i.e. the so-called “supershrimp” P. stylirostris. This emphasises the potential benefits offered from the domestication and genetic selection of cultured shrimp.

 

Penaeus vannamei are fairly resistant to this disease with certain modifications in management practices. In P. vannamei, IHHNV can cause runt deformity syndrome (RDS), which typically results in cuticular deformities (partic ularly bent rostrums), slow growth, poor feed conversion and a greater spread of sizes on harvest, all combining to substantially reduce profitability. These effects are typically more pronounced where the shrimp are infected at an early age, so strict hatchery biosecurity including checking of broodstock by PCR, or the use of SPF broodstock, washing and disinfecting of eggs and nauplii is essential in combating this disease. Even if IHHNV subsequently infects the shrimp in the grow-out ponds, it has little effect on P. vannamei if the PL stocked can be maintained virus free.

 

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Some strains of IHHNV, however, have recently been found to be infectious for P. vannamei, including a putative strain collected from Madagascan P. monodon and a putative attenuated strain in an American laboratory. In addition, recent laboratory studies with P. stylirostris has shown that juveniles that are highly infected with IHHNV (by feeding them with IHHNV-infected tissue) were able to show 28-91 percent survival three weeks after subsequent infection with WSSV (by feeding them with WSSV infected tissue), whilst control animals suffered 100 percent mortality within five days. Surviving shrimp were found to be heavily infected by IHHNV, but had at most only light infection with WSSV which was not enough to kill all of them. Similar trials showed that neither IHHNV pre-infected P. vannamei nor IHHNV-resistant P. stylirostris (SPR “Supershrimp”) were able to tolerate subsequent WSSV infections. Nonetheless, these results raise the question whether exposing shrimp to putative strains of IHHNV may prevent them from getting infected by an infectious strain of IHHNV or possibly WSSV.

 

IHHNV typically causes no problems for P. monodon since they have developed a tolerance to it over a long period of time, but they may suffer from runt deformity syndrome (RDS). Penaeus merguiensis and P. indicus meanwhile appear refractory to the disease. They are, however, life-long carriers of the disease and so could easily pass it onto P. vannamei, which typically suffer from slow growth (RDS) when exposed to IHHNV. This presents a potential problem if the two species are cultured in close proximity at any phase of their life cycle. This should be a cause for great concern for P. vannamei farms that are currently being established throughout Asia.

 

As with most important shrimp viruses, transmission of IHHNV is known to be rapid and efficient by cannibalism of weak or moribund shrimp, although waterborne transfer due to cohabitation is less efficient. Vertical transmission from broodstock to larvae is common and has been shown to originate from the ovaries of infected females (whilst sperm from infected males was generally virus-free). Although the embryos of heavily infected females may abort, this is not always true and selection of IHHNV-free broodstock (by nested PCR) and disinfection of eggs and nauplii would help ensure production of virusfree PL.

 

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As with TSV, IHHNV may be transmitted through vectors such as insects, which have been shown to act as carriers for the disease. However, their mode of action is thought to be mechanical rather than real, as insect extracts do not react to in situ hybridisation tests for IHHNV. The probability that IHHNV in frozen shrimp can cause problems is suggested from OIE data that IHHNV remains infectious for more than 5 years of storage at minus 20oC. Gross signs of disease are not specific to IHHNV, but may include: reduced feeding, elevated morbidity and mortality rates, fouling by epicommensals, bluish coloration, whilst larvae PL and broodstock rarely show symptoms.

 

Diagnosis and detection methods include DNA probes for dot blot and in hybridisation and PCR techniques as well as histological analysis of H&E-stained sections looking for intracellular, Cowdrey type A inclusion bodies in ectodermal and mesodermal tissues. One of the big problems with IHHNV is its eradication in facilities once they have been infected. The virus has been shown to be highly resistant to all the common methods of disinfection including chlorine, lime, formalin and others in both ponds and hatcheries. Complete eradication of all stocks, complete disinfection of the culture facility and avoidance of restocking with IHHNV-positive animals.

 

White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV) will continue in Part 3

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In Shrimp Disease control, they are Six viruses were known to affect Penaeid shrimp, but there are more than 20 viruses were identified as having affected wild stocks and commercial production. The OIE now lists seven viral diseases of shrimp in the Aquatic Animal Health Code, which are considered to be transmissible and of significant socio-economic and/or public health importance.

 

These viral diseases as follows:

 

1.    White spot disease (WSSV).

2.    Yellowhead disease (YHV),

3.    Taura syndrome virus (TSV),

4.    Spawner-isolated mortality virus disease (SMV),

5.    Tetrahedral baculovirosis (Baculovirus penaei - BP),

6.    Spherical baculovirosis (Penaeus monodon-type baculovirus) and

7.    Infectious hypodermal and haematopoietic necrosis (IHHNV)

 

Penaeus vannamei and P. stylirostris are known to be carriers of the following viral diseases: WSSV, BP, IHHNV, REO, LOVV and TSV. These viruses can be transmitted to native wild Penaeid shrimp populations. Penaeus monodon are known carriers of: WSSV, YHV, MBV, IHHNV, BMNV, GAV, LPV, LOVV, MOV and REO.

 

Taura Syndrome Virus (TSV)

 

Perhaps the biggest concern to Asian countries already or currently wanting to import P. vannamei is the possibility of introducing TSV. Despite original work suggesting Taura syndrome (TS) was caused by a toxic pesticide, it is now known that a single or perhaps several very closely related strains (mutations) of the Taura syndrome virus (TSV) are responsible for the TS pandemic in the Americas. TSV is a single strand RNA virus and hence susceptible to mutations, causing more concern, and is closely related to other insect viruses.

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Taura Syndrome Virus was first identified from farms around the Taura river in Ecuador and subsequently spread rapidly to the whole of Latin and North America. TSV spread first throughout Ecuador and to Peru, Colombia (Pacific and Atlantic coasts), Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Hawaii, Florida and Brazil, Mexico, Texas, South Carolina and Belize and subsequently Asia including Mainland China and Taiwan Province of China and most recently Thailand probably through the regional and international transfer of live PL and broodstock P. vannamei.

 

Taura syndrome caused serious losses in revenue throughout Latin America. It has been suggested that TSV caused direct losses (due to shrimp mortality) and indirect losses due to loss of sales, increased seed cost and restrictions on regional trade were probably much higher. Taura syndrome so far appears to occur largely as a sub-clinical infection in populations of wild shrimp. Although P. monodon and P.japonicus appear largely unaffected, the potential impact of TSV on native stocks of P. indicus and P. merguiensis in Asia remains unknown, but a definite cause for concern.

 

The mechanism of spread of TSV is still uncertain, although initial theories concentrated on the spread through contaminated PL and broodstock between farms. Limited data have shown that TSV was introduced to Colombia and Brazil through contaminated broodstock from Hawaii. These broodstock were untested for TSV since it was not yet known that Taura syndrome had a viral cause. Such cases demonstrate once again more of the problems involved with transboundary movements of animals, even supposedly SPF ones. Recent research has shown that mechanical transfer through insect and avian vectors may be an equal or even more likely route of infection. TSV has sometimes been found in tissue bioassays of the water boatman (Trichocorixa reticulata), an estuarine insect common worldwide, and virus-containing extracts of this insect have been shown to induce infection in SPF P. vannamei under laboratory conditions. Patterns of the spread and mortality of P. vannamei in Texas have also suggested that the ingestion of infected insects is the probable mechanism of spread of TSV.

 

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Infective TSV has also been demonstrated in the faeces of shrimp-eating seagulls (Larus atricilla) collected near ponds infected with TSV in Texas, USA. Experimental results have also shown that healthy shrimp can be infected through injection of cell-free homogenates prepared from infected shrimp, and by direct feeding on infected shrimp. Taura syndrome virus has also been shown to remain infective after one or more freeze-thaw cycles, indicating the possibility of regional transmission through infected frozen shrimp. With proper disinfection procedures and controls, however, this route is currently considered to be low-risk.

 

Taura syndrome virus is highly infective for P. vannamei, P. setiferus and P. schmitti. Penaeus stylirostris can be infected by injection, but appear to be highly refractory to TSV and have demonstrated tolerance to TS in growing areas affected by this disease. Other species including P. aztecus, P. duorarum, P.monodon, P. japonicus and P. chinensis have been experimentally infected, developed the disease and remained carriers, but show some resistance. Interestingly, like P. stylirostris, P. monodon and P. japonicas appear highly refractory to TSV, and although it retards growth rates, they remain asymptomatic and the virus has not yet been demonstrated to cause mortality in these species. However, since TSV is an RNA virus, with a high propensity to mutate, there is no guarantee that it will not mutate into a more virulent form for native Asian shrimp (as it did in Central America)

 

Taura Syndrome Virus has already been detected in P. vannamei in Mainland China and Taiwan Province of China with 19 cases reported to OIE from Taiwan Province of China in 1999, ten (resulting in 700 000 cases and 200 000 deaths) and seven (resulting in 500 000 cases and 50 000 deaths). Recently, TSV has been identified in Thailand. The Taura syndrome virus tends to infect juvenile shrimp within two to four weeks of stocking ponds or tanks (0.1-1.5g body weight) and occur largely within the period of a single moult cycle. In the acute phase of the disease, during pre-moult the shrimp are weak, soft-shelled, have empty digestive tracts and diffuse expansion of the red chromatophores, particularly in the tail (hence the common name - red tail disease). Such animals will usually die during moulting (5-95 percent), although the reasons for the large variability in survival rates remains unknown; adult shrimp are known to be more resistant than juveniles. Those shrimp that survive will show signs of recovery and enter the chronic phase of the disease. Such shrimp will show multiple, randomly distributed, irregular, pitted, melanised lesions of the cuticle. These gross or microscopic lesions will persist, but may be lost during moulting, the shrimp thereafter appearing and behaving normally. However, although the shrimp may then be resistant to recurrence of the disease, they often remain chronic, asymptomatic carriers of TSV for life, as has been shown by bioassays.

 

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Standard histological and molecular methods may be used for detection, diagnosis and surveillance, although specific DNA probes applied to in situ hybridization assays with paraffin sections currently provide the greatest diagnostic certainty of this virus (OIE website). RT -PCR assays can also be used providing advantages of larger sample sizes and non-lethal sampling for broodstock. Additionally, live shrimp bioassays and serological methods with monoclonal antibodies can also be used for diagnosing infections with TSV.  Eradication methods for TSV in culture facilities are possible and depend upon total destruction of infected stocks, disinfection of the culture facility, avoidance of reintroduction of the virus (from nearby facilities, wild shrimp and carriers) and restocking with TSV-free PL produced from TSV-free broodstock. Other methods suggested for controlling the virus include: switching to the refractory P. stylirostris, and (similar to those suggested for other viruses): maintenance of optimal environmental conditions, weekly applications of hydrated lime (CaOH) at 50 kg/ha, polyculture with fish (to consume dying and dead carriers) and development of TSV resistant lines of P. vannamei. In the past few years, considerable success has been achieved in the development of families and lines of P. vannamei which are resistant to TSV.

 

Most of the SPF P. vannamei suppliers from Hawaii and Florida now offer stocks of P. vannamei which have demonstrated resistance to TSV (SPF and SPR). Genetic selection programmes run throughout the Americas have also resulted in the production of SPR lines for TSV. The use of such SPR lines enabled the Latin American industry to recuperate from the worst of the TSV pandemic within three to four years. However, importation of such lines must be done with caution, since non-SPF animals, even though resistant to TSV, may still act as carriers and can result in the introduction of TSV into areas of Asia currently free from the disease.  Aquacultural establishments, zones within countries, or countries that are considered TSV-free, are those which have been tested in an official crustacean health surveillance scheme for a minimum two years using the procedures without detection of TSV in any susceptible host species of shrimp 19. Additionally for aqua cultural establishments, they must be supplied with water that has been suitably disinfected and have barriers preventing contamination of the establishment and its water supply. New or disinfected facilities, may be declared free from TSV in under two years if all other requirements are met.

 

Whilst this degree of control may be possible in large-scale highly organized shrimp farms, the reality is that most farms are too small or disorganized to undertake such comprehensive measures. The lack of supporting infrastructure in regulation, testing and diagnosis is an additional constraint. This problem is not confined to Asia where farms are typically very small, but also occurs in Latin America where farms are far larger.

 

 

IHHNV Viral disease will continue in part 2……

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Rickettsial Infections

 

This infection is not recorded yet from Indian waters, systemic rickettsial infections were reported from cultured P. monodon from Malaysia and Singapore. In P. monodon, the rickettsia occurred within large cytoplasmic vacuoles where it formed-microcolonies of 19 to 33 f.lm in diameter. In heavy infections, cells with rickettsial inclusions were widespread in mesodermally and ectodermally derived tissues, but absent in endodermally derived tissues such as midgut, hepatopancreas and caeca. Experimental treatment using medicated feeds containing 1.5 to 2. 0 kg of oxytetracycline per 1000 kg offered was found to be successful in reducing monalities.

 

Vibriosis

 

Vibrio sp. were found to constitute the predominant normal microflora of the culturable species of shrimps. Due to their rich presence in the shrimp's microflora, researchers have found Vibrio sp. as frequent and opponunistic pathogen of the shrimps. The opponunistic pathogenic Vibrio sp. establish lethal influence as a result of other primary conditions such as other infectious diseases, nutritional disorders, extreme environmental stress and wounds. However there are a few Vibrio sp. which are true pathogens.

 

Luminescent Vibrio in hatcheries

 

In hatcheries, larval mortalities associated with luminescence are reported in epizootic proponions in P. monad Oil and P. merguiellsis. The causative bacteria are strains of Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Vibrio alginolyticus, V. harveyi and V.spiendidus. The affected larvae refuse to feed. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) studies indicate that the vibrios colonise specifically the feeding appendages and oral cavity. Rigorous management and sanitation helps to control the infestation. The separation of mother shrimps and their faecal matters from the eggs has to be done as soon as possible after spawning. Anemia nauplii being used as live feed should be rinsed before introducing into the hatchery during feeding. Chlorination and other forms of water treatment such as ultraviolet irradiation and filtration should be done to reduce the initial load of the rearing water. The affected shrimps are treated using antibiotics such as chloramphenicol, sodium nitrostyrenate and the nitrofurans (furazolidone, nitrofurazone and prefuran)

 

Vibriosis in P. indicus and P. monodon culture ponds

 

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In India two species of Vibrio are found to be pathogenic to the shrimps. These include, Vibrio anguillarum and Vibrio alginolyticus. In shrimps moralities were reported to begin towards the end of the growout period as the shrimp reach marketable size of 25 to 35 g or 2 to 3 months after stocking PL-20. Dead shrimps can be harvested in the morning from the pond edges. It is estimated that at harvest 5 to 30 percent of the

production only could be attained. Most of the surviving shrimps also exhibit stunted growth. Indian white prawn, P.indicus cultured in brackishwater ponds are affected by Vibrio anguillarum. Blackening or whitening of the basal pan of the antenna, the oviduct and edges of the abdominal shells are the symptoms. Frequent water exchange, feeding with compounded diets containing antibiotics chloramphenicol help to control the disease. In addition to the above furacin at 1 mg per liter of water, terramycin at 40 mg per kg of biomass for 10 to 15 days through feed or feeding tylosin or tiamutin at 100 mg active ingredient per kg offced for two weeks help to contain the sickness.

 

Tiger prawn, Penaeus monodon cultured in ponds are affected by V. alginolyticus. Septicaemic conditions followed by loss of reflexes and cuticular fouling by epibionts are the symptoms. The gills are often brown in colour. Early signs include, body reddening, extended gill covers and slight melanized erosions of the uropods, pleopods and periopods. Affected shrimps reveal empty stomachs and midguts and in some cases white watery liquid oozes out. Reducing the biomass (by panial harvest) and increasing the water exchange help to contain this disease. For the subsequent production cycle, it is advisable to dry the pond bottom until the bottom soil cracks. If excessive detritus is noticed the same has to be physically removed. Quicklime (CaO) is normally applied at the rate of 0.5 kg/m' of pond bottom. The treatment pattern is much the same as that of Vibrio anguillarum infections.

 

Brown spot shell disease / burned spot disease / rust disease / shell disease / black spot disease

 

The above-referred names are synonyms of bacterial disease caused by a group of bacteria. In majority of cases, Vibrio, Pseudomonas and Beneckea have been known to cause this disease.

The disease is recorded from the freshwater prawns as well as from Penaeus sp. cultured in India. Providing better water quality, removal of infected and dead prawns, reducing the stock and adequate nutrition help to control the disease. Feeding terramycin incorporated feed at 0.45 mg per kg of feed for two weeks, bath treatment using 0.05 to 1. 0 mg of malachite green per litre of water are suggested.

 

Fungal diseases, diagnosis and management:

 

Fungal diseases have been reported to cause extensive morality ranging from 20 to 100 percent. Several fungi are known to be shrimp pathogens. Three groups of fungi commonly infect the larval stages of shrimps while another one attacks the juvenile or larger shrimps. The common fungus affecting the larval shrimps is Lagenidium. Apart from this species, Siropodium and Haliphthoros also affect the larvae. These fungi

generally require a thin cuticle which is noticed only in shrimp larvae. The most common fungi affecting the larger shrimp belongs to Fusarium sp. Environmental factor such as low salinity prevailing in the monsoon season is found to precipitate fungal infections in the hatchery as well as growout systems.

 

Fungal infections in shrimp larvae:

 

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In the case of larval fungal infections (larval mycosis), it is interesting to note that the infection starts from a fungal spore which attaches itself to the egg of the shrimp and then germinates. The germling (mycelium) then grows as the larva of shrimp grows, ramifies through the body wall of the larva and develops rapidly inside it replacing the muscles and soft tissues of the larva. Ultimately the entire body of the larva becomes a mess of mycelia of fungus. P. monodon, P. indicus and P. merguiensis (banana shrimp) are affected by the fungi Lagenidium and Fusarium sp. To prevent this disease in the hatchery, the inflow water has to be thoroughly filtered. Chemical and ultraviolet irradiation of inflow water is also effective. Application of malachite green at 0.001 to 0.006 mg per litre of water and treflan at 0.01 mg per litre are also found to be effective.

 

Mycosis of adult shrimps:

 

Although the exact extent to which the mycosis of adult shrimps caused by Fusarium sp. affect the shrimp aquaculture is not known, it is certainly considered as a potential threat. Almost all the culturable shrimps are known to be affected. The Fusarium sp. may be identified by the presence of canoe-shaped microconidia and also due to the presence of cotton wool like growth.

 

The fungus gains entry into the body through the already eroded areas or cracks on the cuticle. Preventation and treatment courses are much like that of larval mycosis.

 

Protozoan diseases, diagnosis and management:

 

Protozoan parasites and commensals of shrimp are found to occur externally or internally. The externally occurring ones are considered harmless unless they are present in large numbers. Those present internally can cause disease and are representatives of Microsporidia, Haplosporidia and Gregarina.

 

Cotton shrimp disease/milky disease of shrimps:

 

The cotton/milky shrimp disease is caused by the protozoan parasite belonging to Microsporidian group. Almost all the culturable shrimps are affected. The muscie tissue becomes milky. The microsporidians are abundant in the infected shrimp and cause the white appearance. No eggs are found in milky shrimps and it is inferred that the microsporidians infection render the shrimp incapable of reproduction. Microsporidians are present in the affected shrimp in the form of spores which are microscopic. These spores are transmitted horizontally. Providing better water quality in the hatcheries and growout ponds and following strict farm husbandry practices prevent this disease. Although no satisfactory treatment is evolved yet, experimental results indicated the usage of 0.0075 mg of malachite green per litre of water in static condition for the Post Larvae and addition of commercial bleach to the culture system are successful.

 

Ciliate infestation:

 

The Ciliates, Zoothamnium, Epistylis and Vorticella and suctoreans, Ephelota gemmipara and Acineta may invade all the life stages of the shrimps and cause respiratory and locomotory difficulties when present in large numbers on the gills and shell. In the pond grown shrimps, the ciliates may form a fuzzy mat on the shell as a result of the deterioration of the culture water. Ciliate infestation can be prevented by avoiding heavy silt, high nutrient load, turbidity, and low oxygen tension. Affected shrimps can be treated with baths of chloroquin diphosphate or formalin to remove the ciliates.

 

Gregarine disease:

 

Gregarines are common parasites of the digestive tract of shrimps. Their presence in large numbers in the gut interferes with particle filtration to the hepatopancreatic ducts or through the gut resulting in large scale mortalities. Providing better water quality conditions prevents this disease.

 

DISEASES INFLUENCED BY DIETS:

 

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Pond grown shrimps are more often subjected to nutritional disorders than their younger stages in hatchery or nursery rearing period primarily because of the culture facility. In the case of unfed shrimps, they lose their normal full and robust appearance. The shell becomes thin and flexible as it covers the underlying tissue such as tail meat that becomes greatly resorbed due to lack of nutrients. The moulting is curtailed and in

due course of time the shell and gill become darker.

 

Chronic soft shell syndrome:

 

This disease occurs among the juveniles and adults. The affected shrimp is characterized by a persistently soft and thin exoskeleton, weakness and greater susceptibility to cannibalism. Inadequate amounts of nutrients such as calcium and potassium is known to create this sickness. Dietary and environmental manipulation prevents the occurrence of this disease. This occurs among the juveniles to adults. Affected shrimps have bluish exoskeleton which is also soft and thin. The shrimps also become lethargic. Low levels of the carotenoid astaxanthin in the diet, poor soil and water qauality are the causative factors. Reducing the stocking density, feeding with high quality feed and frequent Water exchange in the culture system prevent this disease.

 

DISEASES OF UNKNOWN AETIOLOGY

 

Inflammation and melanization:

Instances of tissue darkening is observed in shrimp farming. The blood· cells congregate in particular tissue areas (inflammation) where damage has occurred and this is followed by pigment (melanin) deposition. An invasion by infective agent, injury or presence of toxins causes this defect.

 

Gills are prone to darkening due to their fragile nature and their function as collecting site for elimination of the body's waste products. Gills darken readily upon exposure to toxic metals or chemicals and also as a result of infection by fungi like Fusarium sp.

 

Cramped shrimp: Shrimps exposed to a variety of cuIture conditions develop cramped nature. The tail is drawn under the body and becomes rigid to the point where it cannot be straightened. The cause and remedy are not yet studied in detail.

 

VI. DISEASE INSPECTION AND CERTIFICATION

 

The rapid growth of shrimp farming in recent years has led to increase in the live transport ofthe shrimp young ones from one region to another. Such large movements inevitably pose a potential risk of introduction of hitherto unknown pathogens. With the improvised culture techniques, the chances of spreading of the disease is increased. The spread of viral pathogens in shrimps world over and Epizooti Ulcerative Syndrome

(EUS) in the case of the fish in Asia can be taken as the best example in this regard. Transfer and introduction of different stages of shrimps has to be controlled by suitable. regulations. This will reduce the risk of transferring pathogens from one place ot another or from an imported stock to the native stock. Regular inspections on the health status and sanitary conditions of the shrimp farms are to be carried out by trained personnel. The International Office ofEpizootics and Animal Health Problems in Aquaculture, of late has dealt with crustacean pathogens through the Fish Diseases Commission (de Kinkelin, 1992).

 

The listed shrimp pathogens include: MBV, BP, BMNV and IHHNV. The approach for health control in aquaculture involves:

 

(i)   assessment of health status of animals in a production site based upon inspections and standardised sampling procedures followed by laboratory examinations conducted according to the OlE codes.

(ii)   constraints of restocking open water and farming facilities only with products having a health status higher than or equal to that of animals already living in the considered areas,

(iii) eradication of disease when possible, by slaughtering of infected stocks, disinfection and restocking with pathogen free animals, and

(iv) notification by every member country of its particular requirements, besides those provided by the code, for importation of aquaculture animals and animal products.

 

CONCLUSION

 

A number of diseases of shrimps cultured has been enumerated in the preceding discussion. The diseases pose threat to obtain maximum production. In many instances the poor water quality conditions of the culture system only predispose the candidate species towards diseases. Maintenance ofbest water quality could therefore be described as 'health maintenance' and be given top priority in shrimp farming. This will reduce the harmful effects of chemoprophylaxis as well as chemotherapy in farming activities.

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Litopenaeus vannamei is the most commonly cultured shrimp in Latin America and Southeast Asia, representing over 90 % of total shrimp production. India with its 8,118 km of coastline and 1.24 million Ha of brackish water area is the second shrimp producer in the world, with Andhra Pradesh being India’s largest vannamei farming area. Andra Pradesh, situated on the southern coast of the country, has 974 km of coastline and 175,000 Ha of brackish water. Andhra Pradesh has gradually increased its share in total marine exports of the country, with the United States and Vietnam as the main export markets.

Currently, the state’s L. vannamei aquaculture is facing different issues and challenges to achieve sustainability related to diseases outbreaks, lack of availability of quality seed, high feed costs, unauthorized farming, international price fluctuations, less demand in the domestic market, and others. If farmers implement Better Management Practices (BMP) and biosecurity in L. vannamei culture supported by the Government policy measures then sustainability can be achieved. This article discusses the present culture practices, major problems, future perspectives and suggestive measures for sustainable L. vannamei farming in Andhra Pradesh.

A brief history of L. vannamei:

 

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Shrimp farming started as an initiative of the Government of India (GoI) with a study of brackish water fish farming in the late 1970’s. Due to the economic benefits from shrimp farming, the culture of Penaeus monodon developed rapidly during the early 1990’s. The intensification of culture systems and the lack of biosecurity led to disease outbreaks of White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV) in 1994. The P. monodon culture almost collapsed in the late 1990’s so in 1999 the fresh water prawn, ‘scampi’ Macrobrachium rosenbergii was introduced as an alternative to P. monodon. The 1990’s are well known as the “era of virus disease” and Andhra Pradesh’s shrimp aquaculture was not the exception.

In 2001- 2002, fresh water prawns faced severe disease outbreaks that affected the state’s production significantly. This is when the Litopenaeus vannamei was proposed as an alternative species due to their disease resistance and tolerance to high stocking densities, low salinity and temperature, as well as their high growth rate. At the same time a risk analysis was carried out by the Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA) and National Bureau of Fish Genetics and Resources (NBFGR) with the aim of evaluating the feasibility of the introduction of this new species.

After the experimental studies and due to the constant pressure of growers and traders for the introduction of L. vannamei due its potential in the export market, in 2009 the Coastal Aquaculture Authority (CAA) approved vannamei culture through import of Specific Pathogen Free (SPF) brood stock and strict regulatory guidelines. In order to reduce the risk of adverse effects of the introduction of this exotic shrimp, the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture (RGCA) created the “Aquatic Quarantine Facility of L. vannamei” (AQF) at the behest of Ministry of Agriculture, which is a state-of-the-art facility located in Chennai, Tamil Nadu for quarantine of L. vannamei broodstock imported to India.

L. vannamei in Andhra Pradesh 

For over 25 years, the P. monodon was the mainstay of Indian aquaculture but since L. vannamei’s introduction in 2009, its production and culture area has gradually decreased while L. vannamei has increased.

Potential for development of L. vannamei culture

The production of L. vannamei shrimp is concentrated in East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna, Prakasam and Nellore state districts. Andhra Pradesh produces more than half of the country’s farmed shrimp and still has a lot of potential to exploit this resource by expanding culture to low salinity waters and through the rehabilitation of abandoned farms in Krishna district. Currently, Srikakulam (the northernmost district of the Andhra Pradesh Coastline) is considered as the ‘sunrise’ of the state’s shrimp farming.

Nursery, culture and feeding practices

 

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The CCA recommends a density of 60 shrimp/m2 but depending on the pond and soil conditions as well as the farmers’ experience the culture densities vary, occasionally reaching 2,000,000 to 6,000,000 Post Larvae (PL) per hectare. Prior to stocking, the pond is tested in order to maintain a pH of 6.5-7. The PL 10 -12 is regularly stocked in high salinities with more than 10 ppt, while PL 15 is stocked when the salinity is low. During the production cycle the water temperatures are maintained between 24-32ºC and the Dissolved Oxygen at 4-5 ppm. The culture cycles in the region range from 90 – 120 days and producers regularly have 2 cycles per year, with stocking in February-March and later in September-October. Shrimp of 17 – 19 grams are considered as a marketable size for the species. Currently the farmers are practicing partial harvests after 60 – 70 days of culture to overcome the slower growth rates of L. vannamei after reaching a size of 19 grams and the increase of operational cost as the days of culture increase. According to the Department of Fisheries of Andhra Pradesh the average production per hectare in the state is 3,000 to 4,000 kg.

As a consequence of the intensification of L. vannamei culture systems in recent years, higher Feed Conversion Ratios (FCR) have been registered, ranging from 1.5:1 to 1.8:1. The feeding frequency in the state is typically 2-4 times per day.

Challenges for sustainable L. vannamei farming

 

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The growth of L. vannamei in the state has been impressive but for further expansion and sustainability the main issue is the lack of availability of quality seed from Specific Pathogen Free brood stock. By 2015, in Andhra Pradesh the CAA has given permission to 192 L. vannamei hatcheries and the Government of India permitted 17 hatcheries for nauplii rearing in facilities outside the jurisdiction of the CAA. For the last couple of years, L. vannamei farms started to develop their own brood stocks from grow out ponds and began producing seed; these seed are sold in the market as SPF and due to the lack of proper testing facilities is impossible for farmers to known the real quality of the seeds. Disease outbreaks are another issue that L. vannamei farming is facing nowadays; they have increased the economic risks and slowed the industry’s development. The White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV) and Yellow Head Virus (YHV) resulted in catastrophic losses in Asian and Latin American shrimp farms. However, no major disease outbreaks have been registered in Andhra Pradesh.

WSSV, White Faeces Syndrome (WFS), Loose Shell Syndrome, Black Gill Disease (BGD), Running Mortality Syndrome (RMS) and White Muscle Disease (WMD) are the most common diseases that have affected L. vannamei in Andhra Pradesh. And most recently, Enterocytozoon hepatopenaei (EHP) which does not cause mass mortalities but has been shown to reduce growth. Globally, the feed prices are gradually increasing as a consequence of the rise of raw materials and fishmeal price hikes and Andhra Pradesh shrimp producers are resenting this situation, reflected in the increment of their operational costs.

In Andhra Pradesh, small farm holdings are the most common. Price fluctuations and the lack of information on international prices and demand have generated economic losses for small-scale producers. The uncertainty of market prices has made farmers unable to buy high quality feed, which is very costly. In addition, the quality of more economical feed is often unknown and has to be tested but there is a dearth of technical manpower and laboratories.

Suggestions for achieving sustainability

The shrimp farming industry in the region has been consolidated over the years, but to achieve sustainability it is necessary to increase the Aquatic Quarantine Facilities (AQF) and create more SPF brood stock and nauplii rearing centers. At the same time, it is important to prevent the operation of unauthorized hatcheries and nauplii rearing centers. It is also fundamental to generate protocols and guidelines for probiotic use in soil, water and feed; as well as promote the implementation of best management practices and biosecurity in shrimp culture. The installation of reservoir ponds in L. vannamei farms should be a must, as well as effluent treatment. The government should incentivize the rehabilitation of abandoned shrimp farms and expansion of culture areas as well as promote the development of alternate species with culture systems and hatcheries for mud crabs, sea bass and cobia. Techniques for reducing bacterial loads in shrimp culture systems should be addressed, among other topics.

The Andhra Pradesh L. vannamei aquaculture sector is characterized by small-scale farms, therefore it is important to organize shrimp producers into Farmer Producer Organizations to provide technical support and training in Best Management Practices and Biosecurity, as well as information about the national and international market.

Conclusions

The potential of shrimp culture in Andhra Pradesh is extraordinary; it generates a great number of direct and indirect jobs in the region, represents a great opportunity for rural development and brings a significant economic impact. Thus, it is important for all shrimp farmers to practice responsible aquaculture by only purchasing seed from authorized hatcheries, implementing strict biosecurity protocols and following strict quarantine measures and best management practices in culture systems. This way crop losses will be reduced, as well as the risk of disease outbreaks. Andhra Pradesh has the possibility to become an aquaculture hub in India, that’s the reason why the State government has considered incentives and subsidies to foment aquaculture and its sustainability.

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In light of the devastating disease problems currently plaguing the global shrimp farming industry, water exchange has apparently become a risky management option for maintaining acceptable water quality. The biosecure shrimp farming system is an evolving culture practice which provides means to achieve a higher degree of biosecurity. Biosecurity in aquaculture is the sum of all procedures in place to protect living organisms from contracting, carrying, and spreading diseases and other non-desirable health conditions, with biotherapeutic agents like probiotics.

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The Central Institute of Brackish water Aquaculture (CIBA) has developed a Bio secure Shrimp Farming Technology (BSFT) based on three years of study, which includes several yard experiments and two pond trials, involving investigations on utilization of bio therapeutic agents, water and sediment quality parameters in relation to modifications in culture practices. It differs from conventional farming with regard to practices on water utilization, biosecurity measures followed and in addressing disease concerns without the use of antibiotics and chemotherapeutics. In a way, this is a modification of the widely practiced zero water exchange system relying more on increased provisions of biosecured environment even in the absence  of reservoir ponds. It is also advantageous over the existing zero water exchange system due to reduction in disease risks and input costs. The technology has been successfully tested in on-station field trials with improved productivity and feed conversion ratio (FCR) achieved by using defined biotherapeutic agents. This technology is more suitable for states like West Bengal, Orissa, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra, since it takes advantage of good monsoon precipitation.

The biosecure shrimp farming technology can be applied to extensive, semi-intensive or intensive shrimp aquaculture. The salient features of this technology are:

• High scoring for biosecurity compared to conventional farming and zero water exchange systems

• Reduced operational costs (no use of antibiotics, chemicals, water exchange and related feed costs)

• Use of efficient biotherapeutic agents

• Reduced risk of disease outbreaks

• Growth and production performance at par or better than conventional farming and zero water exchange systems

• Better feed conversion efficiency as there is no loss of in situ nutrients

• Efficient water budgeting and utilization of  harvested rainwater

• Better profitability and rate of return

Farming technology

The following gives the various steps to be followed with regard to site selection and pond design, biosecurity features, pond preparation, stocking, water and soil quality monitoring, feeding strategy, health management, harvesting and post harvest measures. These are steps unique for BSFT along with standard procedures followed in conventional farming.

Site selection and pond designing

➢ Good monsoon precipitation is one of the prerequisites for this farming to compensate evaporation or seepage loss throughout the culture period.

➢ Site must be free from pollution by industrial effluents and domestic discharge.

➢ Good quality brackishwater (salinity 10- 25 ppt, temperature 25-31o C) and optimum soil quality parameters are essential.

➢ Electricity and communication accessibility  is indispensable  as this technology requires heavy aeration throughout the production cycle.

➢ Rectangular pond with strong non porous high dykes is recommended.

➢ Sluice gate of the simple type with minimum cost compared to the heavy structural investment required in conventional system can be used.

Biosecurity features

➢ With minimal or zero water exchange a high degree of pathogen exclusion is maintained.

➢ Biosecurity barriers or fences around the pond, prevention of the carrier/vectors including birds, disinfection of intake water, avoidance of cross contamination, use of certified healthy seeds, quality feed, use of allowable chemotherapeutics, strict feeding management, water quality monitoring and overall hygiene including that of the equipment and personnel are some of the in-built features of this farming system.

➢ A key step in BSFT is the introduction of a defined microbial community in to the  culture environment which can work synergistically to enhance the overall productivity of the shrimp ponds without resorting to commercial probiotics.

Pond preparation

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➢ Pond preparation is to be started with the drying of the pond bottom till it cracks and surface soil scraped to remove the black soil accumulated from the previous crop since it results in the deposition of considerable load of organic matter.

➢ Soil amendment measures like lime application must be practiced (depending on soil  pH) similar to any other conventional shrimp farms.

➢ Water intake is to be done after proper screening and a higher depth of at least 1.5 m is maintained unlike conventional systems.

➢ Disinfection is recommended with application of Calcium hypochlorite (Ca (OCl) @ 60 ppm.

➢ Optimum natural productivity should be maintained using inorganic fertilizers (Urea: SSP: 2:1 @ 3 ppm) in frequent doses, if necessary; yeast based extract or some good biotherapeutic agents like Bacillus spp. can also  be used for start up a good bloom.

Stocking

➢ Ponds should be stocked with healthy seeds (postlarvae) from a certified hatchery.

➢ 12 nos./m2 postlarve is considered ideal for the BSFT system

➢ Proper acclimatization is to be done to avoid any kind of stress during stocking.

➢ The crop should be scheduled to take advantage of the monsoon rain.

Water and soil quality monitoring

➢ Maintain a stable environment with effective recycling of nutrients and other metabolites through the use of farm made probiotics.

➢ Good aeration is required for supporting the detritus food chain and effective mineralization of the higher level of organic matter in this closed system. .

➢ Parameters influencing productivity like alkalinity, pH and dissolved oxygen are to be maintained within optimum range.

➢ Nutrients like phosphate and nitrate are maintained at higher levels in the BSFT system throughout the culture, resulting in optimum levels of natural productivity.

Feeding strategy

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➢ Feed requirement is to be appropriately estimated through regular sampling (growth and survival) and check tray observation.

➢ Over feeding should be avoided at any cost to prevent eutrophication and associated additional operational costs.

➢ During molting or any other stressful conditions, restricted feeding should be adopted.

➢ The pond bottom in the feeding area should be monitored periodically and if necessary bottom treatment including application of lime mixed with sand is to be adopted.

Health management

➢ Periodical health monitoring with due consideration to proper biosecurity measures is required.

➢ Beneficial microorganisms (such as Lactobacillus spp, Bacillus spp, Pseudomonas spp. and probiotic yeast Saccharomyces spp.) are to be applied as either in single/multi-strain for effectively controlling the pathogenic microorganisms and maintaining the water quality parameters in the optimum range.

➢ Best management practices (BMPs) like care for preventing pathogen carriers, pond bottom

managements, certified healthy seeds, quality feeds and non use of antibiotics /chemicals must be incorporated in the practices followed.

Harvesting and Post harvest measures

➢ There should be minimum stress during harvesting.

➢ After chill killing, the shrimps must be packed in good quality ice and must be transported to processing factory which adopts Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles.

Conclusion

This biosecure shrimp farming system is a better farming practice for the coastal ecosystem for its high scoring on biosecurity measures and avoidance of antibiotics and banned chemicals. Effective recycling of nutrients and other metabolites which results in a stable environment  are features of this system. A reduced level of nitrogenous metabolites and better water quality could be maintained even with no water exchange. This BSFT system is amenable for control of disease through best management practices. This evolving farming practice with all its biosecurity features and effective utilisation of biotherapeutic agents can pay rich dividends with reduction in input cost coupled with higher level of production, besides its environment friendly features of utilising harvested rainwater.

 

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