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The government has recently given go-ahead to the experimental production of postlarvae (PL) of vannamei shrimp as Bangladesh has started cultivation of the non-native variety eying higher yields.
This comes a few months after the government allowed commercial cultivation of the shrimp, also known as whiteleg shrimp, as its experimental farming in three farms of the southern coastal region showed severalfold higher yield than that of the locally farmed black tiger shrimp.
The experimental production would cut the import dependency for the postlarvae and raise its availability for the local farmers.
Desh Bangla SPF Hatchery, which is registered under the Department of Fisheries, will conduct experimental vannamei shrimp postlarvae production activities under biosecurity management, according to the department.
In order to carry out experimental vannamei shrimp PL production activities, it is mandatory to obtain permission from the Department of Fisheries for taking necessary steps to import SPF (specific pathogen free) vannamei shrimp brood.
According to the DoF, the experimental vannamei shrimp PL production and existing Bagda shrimp PL production should be carried out in separate parts of the same hatchery in fully confined conditions to avoid any contamination.
Frozen food exporters who had been pursuing the government to allow cultivation of the non-native shrimp in the face of falling export earnings for over a decade cheered the decision.
The DoF, which had been unwilling to grant permission for its cultivation fearing negative impact on biodiversity and environment, started giving permission for experimental culture of the whiteleg shrimp in 2019.
Initially it allowed Shushilan, a nongovernmental organisation, to pilot the first culture of whiteleg shrimp in the southwestern division of Khulna, a major farming region for export-oriented shrimp.
Later, it granted permission to MU Seafood in Jashore and Grotec Aquaculture in Paikgacha in the southwestern division.
In the third phase, it allowed eight firms to conduct experimental culture of vannamei.
Of the firms, Shushilan, MU Seafood and Niribili Fisheries farmed the vannamei between 2021 and 2022, and yields of the shrimp in these farms stood between 8.33 tonnes and 12.34 tonnes per hectare.
Per hectare yield of the locally farmed black tiger shrimp is nearly half a tonne, according to the sector’s people.
‘সারা বিশ্বে ডলার সংকট রয়েছে এবং আমাদের ওপরও এর প্রভাব রয়েছে। কিন্তু তারপরও আমি বলব আমাদের দেশের অর্থনীতি গতিশীল রয়েছে।’