SPAROS, a Portuguese SME, have developed a new feed that improves the growth and health performance of shrimp larvae, with important benefits for the aquaculture sector, consumers and the environment.
Shrimp is the second most popular type of seafood after salmon, and global demand for this tasty treat continues to grow. However, the shrimp farming industry is currently facing a number of challenges regarding its production methods and environmental sustainability.
The EU-funded MYSIS project addressed these challenges through an innovative weaning diet for shrimp that targets shrimp hatcheries and nurseries around the world. Project coordinator Dr Luis Conceicao says, ‘The feed involves a multidisciplinary approach based on advanced nutrition concepts and cutting-edge technologies such as cold extrusion and microencapsulation.’
New diet outperforms competitors
The technical viability of the MYSIS weaning diet was validated at laboratory scale. It was shown to outperform products that are already on the market by increasing the growth performance and survival of shrimp larvae and their long-term resistance to disease. ‘These benefits will allow producers to reduce the duration of an extremely sensitive stage, increase the production of high quality juveniles and improve operational predictability representing enormous financial savings for users,’ explains Dr Conceição.
SPAROS also carried out a feasibility study to determine the size of the market, potential clients and competitors, legal barriers and regulatory issues. In addition, they examined issues related to intellectual property rights and developed a roadmap for launching the final product. It was revealed that the greatest challenge facing MYSIS concerns the entry of the product onto the two main international markets, China and India.
Benefits for both producers and the environment
‘The MYSIS shrimp larval diet represents a major step forward for aquaculture, resulting in a more sustainable way to produce shrimp,’ claims Dr Conceição. Furthermore, the price will not be more than the average price of competing products, therefore offering a high value for money alternative to what is currently on the market.
Obvious beneficiaries of the MYSIS diet are farmers who will adopt the new diet and feed it to their shrimps. However, by increasing production efficiency, MYSIS will also help to decrease the amount of land used for shrimp farming. An additional benefit is that the technology used to create the MYSIS diet will help to reduce the release of nutrients into effluent water.
MYSIS is therefore expected to have significant positive impacts on the aquaculture industry, the environment, the final consumer and society’s perception of the sector. It will also strengthen Europe’s position as a technology leader in the global aquaculture market. Dr Conceição concludes: ‘The project has enabled shrimp farming to become more sustainable and a good alternative to fisheries trawling for shrimp, which has a major environmental impact.’
More information: http://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/208030_en.html