Cubicle tanks at the Aquatic Quarantine Facility operated by the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquatics, an institution under the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA).
Cubicle tanks at the Aquatic Quarantine Facility operated by the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquatics, an institution under the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA).

MPEDA’s Aquatic Quarantine Facility receives consignment of Whiteleg shrimp broodstock from USA

Kochi, June 13, 2020

For the first time since its inception in 2009, the Aquatic Quarantine Facility (AQF), a premier institution of RGCA-MPEDA, received 3,600 nos. of L. vannamei (Whiteleg shrimp) broodstock imported by India’s shrimp hatchery operators from Hawaii, USA in June, providing a firewall against the entry and spread of pathogens in animals through rigorous quarantine measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The import of broodstock, which came as a single consignment from a single source, was facilitated by a chartered flight by six hatchery operators on June 4. The broodstock were successfully quarantined for five days and handed over to the hatchery operators with 97.12% of survival on June 8.

Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) Chairman K S Srinivas said all the broodstock were confirmed their SPF (specific pathogen free) status by screening of OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) and non-OIE- listed pathogens.

Although the broodstock arrived at the airport 10 hours later than the scheduled time, the strict bio-security protocol followed in the AQF ensured their successful quarantining and secured the high survival percentage, a press release from MPEDA said.

The brooders were brought through cargo flights instead of passenger flights and the animals were under severe stress due to longer travel time, it said.

“However, the dedicated and positive efforts of AQF team ensured better survival of the brooders during difficult times of quarantine, and such an initiative was highly appreciated by the hatchery operators and farmers,” he noted.

Srinivas said the remarkable feat would play an important role in sustaining the shrimp farming sector in the country. He also appreciated the help rendered by Coastal Aquaculture Authority (CAA) of the Ministry of Fisheries, Government of India, for the successful operation of AQF in these difficult times.

India holds second position in shrimp production in the world mainly due to L. vannamei species and Chennai-based AQF has rendered unstinted service in supporting the Whiteleg shrimp farming sector in the country.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic and prolonged lockdown, AQF was made open for the hatchery operators in May and meticulous planning was done to accommodate maximum hatcheries and import maximum broodstock to ensure that the hatcheries get adequate brooders to produce seeds,” he said.

AQF is being operated by Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquatics (RGCA), an institution under MPEDA. At present, 20 cubicles are established for quarantining 4,12,500 nos. of L. Vannamei broodstock in a year and an average 2.5 lakh of broodstock are being quarantined in the AQF every year. It has so far quarantined more than 15 lakhs of Whiteleg shrimp broodstock imported by shrimp hatchery operators in the country.

The facility also caters to the needs of quarantine of Post Parental Larvae (PPL) of Whiteleg shrimp and facilitates quarantine of imported broodstock of P. Monodon (giant tiger prawn or Asian tiger shrimp) as well.

Srinivas said that the announcements made by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on April 23 with regard to AQF operation during the COVID pandemic, such as rebooking of quarantine cubicle for cancelled consignment, condoning of delay up to one month in the arrival of the consignment and extended period of SIP (Sanitary Import Permit) for three months up to June this year, have been complied successfully.

He lauded the service rendered by the AQF team which worked round the clock during the COVID-19 pandemic to support the shrimp sector.

So far since the re-opening of AQF in May this year, 46 hatcheries have brought 25,496 nos. of broodstock from various overseas suppliers and one entrepreneur brought 40,000 nos. of Parental Post Larvae (PPL) for their Broodstock Multiplication Centre. All these were quarantined in the facility. Further, another 25,000 nos. of broodstock are expected to be quarantined by the end of June, which will support L. vannamei aquaculture sector in India, the release added.


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