Improving sustainable breeding, Ecuador leading the way with first strategic shrimp breeding operation

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By Milthon Lujan

by Julie Kuiack, Hendrix Genetics
Hendrix Genetics begins the first cycle of sustainable shrimp production in Ecuador at state-of-the art strategic shrimp breeding operation. The Macrobio hatchery is making waves in the Ecuadorian shrimp industry with a more sustainable approach to shrimp breeding.

First to market with a closed cycle breeding operation, with concept of producing clean, Specific Pathogen Resistant (SPR) shrimp, when our global shrimp genetic brand ‘Kona Bay’ will be introduced. This project began to improve and accelerate genetic progress within the industry. Breeding healthy, efficient offspring tailored to meet the needs of the market. We support the global food challenge with high-quality animal genetics to provide better breeding today for a brighter life tomorrow.

With the strategy to support sustainable market growth, Hendrix Genetics partnered with Nutreco (aquaculture division Skretting) and Ecuacultivos (a medium sized Ecuadorian shrimp farming business) to invest in upgrading the Macrobio hatchery in Ecuador. This new strategic breeding operation will offer solutions for challenges currently facing the region.  With the initial cycle of shrimp produced and entering this closed cycle breeding program, the first generation of improved shrimp genetics will be ready by the end of the year. This will serve as an opportunity for local production to access the most advanced and high health animal genetics.

Sustainable approach

A sustainable future is fundamental to all of Hendrix Genetics breeding activities. Located in the western region of Ecuador, one of the largest shrimp production regions in the world, sustainability is key. With a countrywide initiative for improved sustainability, our shrimp breeding strategy sets us apart from the rest in the region.


What makes this initiative unique is that our partners also see sustainability as a priority.  Our partners are highly progressive compared to others in the region. With strong farm management systems, biosecurity, high quality feed and innovative technology we have created a powerhouse partnership for success. By producing more efficient and healthy offspring that thrive in challenging environments we can increase profits for all involved and expand regions that have struggled with production in the past.


Using improved animal genetics to deliver shrimp with superior performance back into the commercial market we produce more with far less. A strategy that will strengthen Ecuador’s shrimp industry by producing healthy, disease resistant, high-quality animals from the start.

Farming with sustainability in mind is important to all of our breeding operations. We recognize the impact sustainable breeding can have on the environment and consciously make an effort to support climate action in all of our projects.

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Disease resistance

Ecuador is a region highly impacted by disease and aquaculture struggles to excel because of this. For years, farmers have maintained their operations by producing shrimp in low densities to help combat these disease challenges. A method that works but is not sustainable. Even with low levels of pathogens, disease recycles to future broodstock. This impacts Ecuador’s ability to grow.

Hendrix Genetics has entered this initiative with the objective of creating disease free, but also highly SPR shrimp. Breeding shrimp with high performance, fast growth and good harvest characteristics that we can deliver back into the industry. Antibiotic free and with improved growth so farmers can optimize land use and produce more with less.

Salmon-izing the shrimp industry

With plans to deliver accelerated genetic progress much faster than traditional selection methods, Hendrix Genetics brings expertise, skills, and knowledge from over 30 years of experience in the salmon industry to help steer a successful path in shrimp breeding. By maximizing genetic gain, we improve efficiency in outputs and increase overall profitability for all involved.

Neil Manchester, Managing Director of Aquaculture at Hendrix Genetics, refers to the term of ‘salmon-izing’ the industry. A term described as using the salmon industry to help advance shrimp breeding and production. With salmon breeding often referred to as the most advanced and sophisticated for breeding innovation and technology, there is a lot that we can transfer into shrimp breeding. Combining years of tried and tested knowledge, expertise and skills, Hendrix Genetics accelerates genetic gain and delivers enhanced genetics to market much faster.

Macrobio general manager, Claudio Cerda, also comes from a strong background in the Chilean salmon industry. Claudio is perfectly placed to transfer this experience into creating a formidable team, developing an efficient and productive facility. This creates a customer experience unlike anything on offer in the shrimp industry today.

We expect to have the first generation of genetically enhanced shrimp by the end of the year. Afterwards a selection based on harvest characteristics like growth, disease resistance and spawning frequency will be made for future generations.  We aim to provide high quality, reliable shrimp genetics and to grow our market share progressively.

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Supporting the global food challenge

Hendrix Genetics supports the global food challenge through high quality animal genetics. In all species and breeding programs we strive to contribute to a sustainable future. Ensuring the well-being of present and future generations.

From upgrading our distribution in laying hens and turkeys, to our investment in Bon Accord’s swine breeding center and now delivering sustainable shrimp solutions in Ecuador, Hendrix Genetics supports efficient and proven farming practices. Delivering a positive and lasting impact on the animals we breed, the people we work with, and the environment in which we operate.

Using strengths discovered in other areas of our business, we are able to find efficiencies and innovations that can be applied to other species. Collaborating to find solutions and increasing results for all.

We contribute to the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals by partnering for the goal to produce reliable supply, reducing world hunger. This initiative also supports our goal of increasing awareness of climate action and increases sustainability for the entire industry with responsible production.

As leaders in global multispecies animal breeding, we understand that we can achieve more together and look forward to a providing Better Breeding Today. Brighter Life Tomorrow.

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