Vietnamese – Australian Prawn Broodstock: Excellent Quality after 10 Generations

11:26:58 AM | 12/20/2019

Prawn is a key stock of the Vietnamese seafood industry, accounting for nearly half of the sector’s export value, but the product has been heavily dependent on imported broodstock for a long time. From the perspective of the prawn chain, from broodstock, prawn seed, feed, commercial prawn and processed prawn, the investment for broodstock is the most sophisticated step in this industry.

Imported stock: Expensive and risky

Currently, for giant tiger prawn, over 50% of broodstock is imported from abroad and 50% is harvested from the wild, but this source has a very low rate of disease-free broodstock. For white-leg shrimp, Vietnam used to rely entirely on imports.

Broodstock import has revealed three disadvantages: (1) limited supply, or even no supply available at peak reason; (2) high price; and (3) unguaranteed quality.

Thus, the excessive reliance on broodstock imports has caused shrimp farmers in Vietnam pay a very dear price, notwithstanding potential risks.

Breaking down dependence to secure supply

To ensure the best and safest development for broodstock, feed plays an important role. Currently, Viet - Uc Corporation has invested in a maritime earthworm system to feed broodstock which has a very high demand for nutritional feed to reproduce larvae of the best class.

Under the patronage of the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), since 2010, Viet - Uc Corporation is the only company to bravely invest in broodstock.

After many years of genetic research and breeding selection under the strict supervision from reputable State agencies and CSIRO, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development officially allowed Viet - Uc Corporation to commercialize whiteleg shrimp broodstock, marking a new breakthrough for the Vietnamese shrimp industry.

Currently, Vietnam - Australia Genetics and Breeding Center has selected and produced many generations of healthy shrimp with a high survival rate and robust growth. Two genetic and breeding centers, located on over 2 ha in Binh Thuan province and 15 ha in Ninh Thuan province, breed and produce over 65,000 high-quality broodstock prawns in a closed biosecurity process that meets strict breeding requirements.

Excellent growth

Over many generations of genetic selection and successful application of molecular biotechnology, especially single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) technology, the centers have significantly increased genetic sources by improving growth traits, survival, resistance, adaptability and fertility. The centers successfully applied molecular genetics and quantitative genetics technologies which, based on genetic knowledge, can decode entire shrimp genes combined with applying electronic communication technology to implant chips on every shrimp and assign identity to each of them; and analyze, monitor and filter inbreeding coefficients to produce the most superior broodstock.

The perseverance and investment of Viet - Uc Corporation came to fruition. After 10 generations, all families in the vannamei broodstock population at Viet - Uc increase in average weight by 60% from the original population, in which 50% of good families grow up to 66% in weight and good individuals can gain 73% in weight from original breeds.

Weight percentage gain of broodstock selected for breeding in Viet - Uc

Beside growth traits, good adaptability traits in “low temperature and low salinity” conditions are also developed by Viet - Uc Seafood Corporation during its breeding process. To date, the company has successfully selected broodstock populations adaptable to “low temperature and low salinity” and continue to improve this adaptability.

Program benefits for farmers and for shrimp industry

Achievements of broodstock selection program mean a lot for the shrimp industry of Vietnam.

First, this program has helped solve a major concern for importers, businesses and authorities: Traceability. This is of great significance, that is to say, making production transparent, ensuring disease prevention, and controlling shrimp seed quality before being sold to farmers. Thereby, farmers will feel more secure about seed quality, origin, feed and growth.

Applying electronic chip implant technology to assign “identity card” to monitor shrimp

The active supply of broodstock helps produce highly survivable, resistant, adaptable seed sources. For example, shrimp farmers in the northern region where the climate is severe and changing must be well-adapted to environmental conditions. Most farmers in northern and central regions buy Viet - Uc shrimp seed and highly appreciate the good adaptability, rapid growth and big size of shrimps, thus helping bring high productivity and profitability for farmers.

Ha Khau Cooperative in Quang Ninh province, owned by Mr. Nguyen Dang Toi, always trusts in Viet - Uc prawn breeds. His three ponds produce 22 tons, at size of 36-30 heads per kilogram. The farming duration is 96-110 days.

Mr. Nguyen Huy Binh in Dong Nai province still achieves good result even during off season when he uses Viet - Uc highly resistant, well-grown prawn seeds. His two ponds harvest 16 tons, with 28 heads per kilogram. His profit is VND1.4 billion.

Dr. Greg Coman - Senior Research Scientist at Aquaculture and Animal Research Program, Agriculture & Food Research Division, CSIRO; Director of Cooperation Program on Whiteleg Prawn and Tiger Prawn Breed Selection with Viet - Uc Corporation

Strain selection is key to increasing productivity, economic efficiency and sustainability of aquaculture and fishery sector. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) has been very experienced in conducting applied strain selection and operating breeding programs using detailed data for various aquatic species. The strategic cooperation between CSIRO and Viet - Uc Corporation has been developing strongly and sustainably, utilizing each party's unique strengths to develop this breeding program. The great opportunity for this program is the production of individually selected shrimp seeds suitable for farmers in different regions in Vietnam.

Dr. Nguyen Tan Sy, Deputy Director of the Institute of Aquaculture and Head of Brackish Water Aquaculture Department - Nha Trang University

Currently, Viet - Uc Corporation has confirmed broodstock quality after 10 breeding generations with superior quality and significantly improved genotypes as compared to the first generation. With broodstock of superior quality, Viet - Uc has been able to produce superior quality shrimp stock compared to its post larvae in previous years and met farmers’ expectations throughout the country, especially in the North and North Central regions, characterized by extreme climatic sub-regions. The performance of Viet - Uc broodstock program has greatly helped the success of the Vietnamese shrimp industry, currently and in the years to come.

B.T (Vietnam Business Forum Magazine)