8th March, 2006 - In spite of disease problems with viruses - namely WSSV, TSV and IHHNV - very high larval stocking density in intensive cultivation allowed Thailand to produce 340,000 tons of marine shrimp in 2005. Profiled and inexpensive ingredients are however needed to reduce commercial feed costs and standard formulations for nutritionally balanced farm-made feeds are required, delegates at the Aquafeed.com conference in Thailand were told this week.
In her welcoming address at the Aquafeed.com 'Optimise for Profit Feed Technology' workshop held in Bangkok, Thailand, Dr. Juadee Pongmaneerat, Senior Expert in Aquatic Animal Nutrition at the Thai Department of Fisheries said 330,000 tons of shrimp were expected to be produced in 2006.
Total production of freshwater aquaculture in 2003 was about 361,125 tons, valued at 13,171 million Baht, Dr. Juadee said.
Freshwater species in Thailand that have the highest economic value are giant freshwater prawns, Nile tilapia, catfish, striped snake-head fish and common silver barbs. Freshwater shrimp and Nile tilapia are Thailand’s main and most important aquatic animals.
Feeds for all of these species need to be developed for least cost formulation. Feed has inevitably played a major role in production costs: some 30-40% of the cost of Thai aquaculture comes from the cost of feed. Various feeds are exploited in aquaculture farming in Thailand, such as fresh, farm-made feed and commercial feeds. Commonly used fresh feeds are trash fish, fishery by-products, poultry by-products and kitchen waste. These fresh feeds are easily spoiled and transmit disease.
Dr. Juadee told more than 130 delegates that attended the meeting held alongside Victam Asia 2006, that standard formulations for nutritionally balanced farm-made feeds that incorporate local raw materials are required, in addition to good processing practices.
Today 149 feed facilities have been registered as meeting the Feed Quality Act for aquatic feeds with the Department of Fisheries, including premix, supplemental feed, concentrate feed and complete aquafeed. In 2006 there are 64 complete feed manufacturing plants: 31 shrimp feed mills, 15 fish feed mills and 18 mills that produce both fish and shrimp feed.
Eight shrimp feedmills, eight fish feedmills and five shrimp/fish feedmills have been added. This increase in aquatic feed manufacturing is claimed to be driven by the epidemic of Bird Flu, which allegedly has raised demand for aquatic animals. In addition, because of drug and chemical residue problems, farmers who culture freshwater shrimp have turned to using more commercial feed instead of on-farm mixed feed. The culture of white shrimp has also expanded.
The Department of Fisheries has realised the importance of developing a system leading it to GMP and HACCP standards. At present, the Department of Fisheries has accredited six aquatic feedmills according to GMP standard and three aquatic feedmills according to HACCP standard; while six aquatic feedmills are pending in the accreditation process (three plants according to GMP and three according to HACCP standards). In the near future, CODEX will establish a Code of Practice for Good Animal Feeding and encourage Thailand to use the same standards.
The Aquafeed Production Workshop “Optimise for Profit” was organized by Hawaii-based Aquafeed.com, the aquaculture feed information portal, in association with Victam Asia 2006 and was supported by the Thai Department of Fisheries. The next Optimise for Profit Workshop will take place during Victam International 2007 in Utrecht, the Netherlands, in May 2007.