Theses and Dissertations


Name: Mays, Robert Michael

Degree: MS

Chair: D. Allen Davis


University: Auburn University

Location: Auburn, Alabama

Date: 2003

Pages: 99

Keywords: Production,live market, bait


The demand for live bait shrimp by coastal recreational and professional fishermen exceeds supplies. A solution to the problem of inadequate supplies of live shrimp may be the use of aquaculture practices to produce native shrimp for the live bait market. This project was designed to provide basic information on nursery and pond production, harvest techniques, and markets along the Gulf coast of Alabama for farm raised bait shrimp. Two nursery trials were conducted in an outdoor tank system in which eight-day-old postlarvae (PL) were stocked. The first nursery trial was an 11-day growth trial designed to evaluate the effect of stocking density (30, 40, 50, and 60 PL/L), on the growth and survival of Farfantepenaeus aztecus PL. No significant differences (P>0.05) between the treatments with respect to final mean weight (11.2 mg), survival (58.6%), and estimated feed conversion ratio (0.77) were found. The second nursery trial was conducted over 22 days and was designed to compare the effects of two different salinities (16 ppt and 32 ppt), and the effects of EDTA treatment of the water on the growth and survival of F. aztecus PL. At the end of the nursery trial (day 22), the 32 ppt treatment exhibited significantly higher survival (32 ppt, 51.3%, 16 ppt, 44.4%), whereas the 16 ppt treatment exhibited significantly higher mean weight and FCR (32 ppt, 11.8 mg, 1.75, 16 ppt, 21.2 mg, 2.09, respectively). The treatment of EDTA did not influence growth or survival. Nursed shrimp were harvested and stocked into two pond production trials. The first production trial was designed to compare the performance of the PL subjected to high (88 shrimp/m2) and low density (44 shrimp/m2), and the second trial evaluated the performance of these shrimp at 28 shrimp/m2. Once a market size of 5 grams was reached, ponds were harvested using several methods including seining, cast netting, trapping, and a hydraulic pump and harvester. Percent survival, final yield, estimated feed conversion ratio (FCR), and growth were 8.3%, 576 kg/ha, 22.9, 0.71 g/wk for the high density treatment, and 16.0%, 490 kg/ha, 11.4, 0.69 g/week for the low density treatment. There were no significant differences due to stocking density, and the poor survival in this trial was primarily due to the evaluation of partial harvest techniques. Percent survival, final yield, FCR, and growth in the second production trial were 41.1%, 559 kg/ha, 6.1, and 0.68 g/wk. Of the several harvest methods that were utilized, the hydraulic harvester was clearly the most effective in terms of labor requirements and shrimp health. A total of 50,050 shrimp were test-marketed over a 4-month period, for a gross value of $4,856. Test-marketing conducted during this research resulted in positive comments made by retailers about the hardiness and overall health of the farm raised shrimp. Results from the market survey indicate that the Gulf coast live bait market appears to accept the introduction of farm raised bait shrimp. Of the 72 surveys distributed, 17 were returned completely filled out, achieving a return rate of 23.6%. The majority of retailers surveyed confirmed that there was demand for shrimp year-round, and that there were times during the year when the supply of live bait shrimp did not meet that demand. Further research should focus on the refinement of production techniques to improve shrimp survival in the culture systems, as well as the identification of production costs. Due to the high demand, inconsistent supply, and improving aquaculture technologies, growth in this emerging industry is increasingly likely and should be encouraged.

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