1 Shrimp biology and culture
China has a great diversity and abundance of marine shrimp. There are about 100 species, among which 40 have a high commercial value (Liu, R.Y.1955; Liu and Zhong, 1986). Due to overfishing, production of Penaeus chinensis in the Bohai Sea and the Yellow Sea declined from 32 896 mt in 1980 to 7 324 mt in 1982. In order to meet the increasing demand and to protect natural resources, shrimp farming and enhancement became priority subjects from the late 1970s to the early 1980s. (a) Farmed shrimp species Nine species of shrimp belonging to three different genus are farmed in China: Penaeus chinensis Metapenaeus ensis Litopenaeus vannamei (syn. P. orientalis) P. penicillatus P. merguiensis P. japonicus P. monodon M. affinis L. stylirostris

L. vannamei and L. stylirostris are exotic species, introduced from America. They have become very popular (especially L. vannamei) for farming in inland areas, using brackish water initially and then gradually diluting it until obtaining fresh water. But in China, research has concentrated much longer on the farming of Chinese shrimp (Penaeus chinensis syn. P. orientalis) and it is this species which will be considered in the next sections. (b) Obtaining broodstock Shrimp broodstock may be obtained from three sources: - Soon after the spawning migration, it may be captured on spawning grounds. Presently, this is the main source of broodstock in northern China. Shrimp can be spawned soon after capture and they are the least expensive. But there is concern that continued use of such broodstock is threatening wild stocks and that it impacts on ocean fishery production negatively. - Broodstock may be captured during its reproductive migration, before being sexually mature. It is then held in ponds until it becomes ready to spawn. - Broodstock may be collected either from farm ponds at the end of summer or from the sea during the wintering migration. Shrimp are then overwintered in tanks or ponds. They are spawned the following spring when they become sexually mature. At present, this method is widely used. It has the least impact on natural resources.

Total ammonia nitrogen content: below 0.7 million eggs during its spawning season. pond construction. Egg production per spawning varies from 400 000 to 500 000.Temperature: 18 to 20°C . several cultural systems are used to farm shrimp. without excessive mortality. PVC plastic bags filled with water and oxygen are also used. predator control. shrimp monoculture with feeding and pen culture in open waters (see Chapter 3). A 10-litre bag can hold 10 000 to 20 000 PL for 10 hours or more. such as site selection. . Environmental requirements also change as the larvae develop. In China. good hatching conditions are defined as follows: . a female can spawn four to five times. feeding. Their transfer from the hatchery to the farm is done by truck. in canvas barrels. postlarvae (PL) are ready for pond stocking 20 days after hatching. disease control and harvesting. chinensis is a typical multiple spawner. before becoming a juvenile similar in shape to the adult shrimp. Since spawning usually occurs at night. gravid females are selected and placed in spawning tanks in the afternoon or at dusk. Transport of postlarvae Depending on water quality and temperature. water quality management. shrimp go through four developmental stages and 26 moults during their larval and postlarval development. (d) Farming techniques Successful pond farming of P. chinensis depends on a series of procedures which should all be optimized.6 mg/l After hatching. normal embryonic development and production of healthy nauplii. PL transport and stocking. In China. A barrel of 1 m diameter containing 20°C aerated water can hold 300 000 to 400 000 PL 7 to 10 mm long. One female can produce about 1. including: fish pond polyculture.Dissolved oxygen content: above 4 mg/l . They are then typically 7 mm long. for six to eight hours. Fertilized eggs are collected on the next morning. Hatching and larval development Water quality and ambient conditions are especially important for ensuring a high hatching rate.(c) Breeding techniques Spawning P. Under hatchery conditions. shrimp monoculture without feeding.Salinity: 25 to 35 ppt . at the average interval of 15 days (range: 5 to 20 days).

2 Mud crab biology and culture The mud crab. But for curing these diseases. decreasing pH and solubilizing iron and aluminium. It has been widely cultured in China. and it does not crack excessively when dry. especially in the southern regions such as the Fujian. Other factors to consider when siting a farm include availability of labourers. water pH should be in the range of 7. Gammarus spp. a disaster year for the shrimp industry in China. Precautions should be taken to minimize shrimp losses due to diseases and predation. and polychaete worms are also widely used. are stocked in ponds. For best results with P. with low yields and limited economic efficiency. temperature) and post-harvest processing. For pond culture. Scylla serrata (Figure 14a). Other food organisms such as Unciola spp. . these extensive systems have been widely preferred because both risks and production costs are lower. to this end.6 and salinities from 5 to 35 ppt. existing treatments are still unsatisfactory. Zn2+ 0. vehicle access to the ponds. In China. reliable source of postlarvae for stocking.The first two systems are extensive.8 to 8.017 mg/l.9 ppt. Corophium spp.7 to 26. giving good results. but they also bind phosphorus and thus lower pond productivity. increasing natural food production in ponds improves shrimp growth and lowers production costs. But since 1993 (epidemic viral disease).3. chinensis. is an economically important crustacean occurring in tropical regions of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. soil conditions and water quality. site selection is most important. Sandy clay makes the best pond bottom: it is firm and impermeable. Since 1993. 2. great efforts have been made in the prevention of viral diseases. Metal ions should not exceed the following values: Hg2+ 0. Cu2+ 0. (e) Shrimp stock enhancement Experiments on the enhancement of shrimp stocks through stocking of postlarvae were carried out from the 1980s to the early 1990s (Section 3. Even if recapture rate was reported to be as high as 8 percent. Guangdong and Hainan Provinces. Optimum salinity ranges from 13. local climate (precipitation. These last two ions are not only toxic.2 ppt.03 mg/l and Pb2+ 0.8). Thorough drying of the pond bottom between crops will help reduce pathogens and solubilize nutrients in non-acid soils.16 mg/l. such as using Special Pathogen Free (SPF) broodstock and applying chemical treatments to reduce the risk of epidemics and great financial losses. the project was stopped because such method was judged to be too unreliable. When salinity decreases below 7 ppt. Our full understanding of all processes involved in such enhancement is still far from being complete. Acid sulphate soils are not suitable because their oxidation forms sulphuric acid. they often dig holes to survive adverse environmental conditions. (a) Life habits and reproduction behaviour Mud crab is a euryhaline animal which can tolerate water salinities ranging from 5 to 33. especially with respect to elevation and topography.0002 mg/l. In extensive farming systems.

Then. newly moulted crabs cannot swim and lay on the bottom. A grey-red spot appears on their tergum and. Usually. but in tropical regions. In southern China. Mating occurs mostly at night. they can be found almost throughout the year. Figure 14. After mating. as water temperature increases above 39°C. For mating to be successful. .8 cm and its body weight over 100 g. as water temperature rises up to 35°C. Moulting occurs only when water temperature is at least 15°C. females consume a large amount of food to support rapid ovarian development. Both female and male crabs do not feed during the mating period. Mud crab (a) and a berried female (b) Mud crab (a) Berried female (b) Crabs moult 13 times during their life span: six times during the larval stage. Generally. female crabs carrying eggs are few in winter. Crabs will survive in holes when water temperature drops as low as 12°C. the aperture genitalis is blocked by ovarian secretions. the mud crab reaches the reproductive stage when its shell width is greater than 7. Scylla serrata is a carnivorous animal. they breathe rapidly. The male inserts his copulating apparatus into the female¶s aperture genitalis and ejaculates sperm into the spermatheca. When crabs moult. Reproduction season varies according to local water temperature. a period which may vary from nine hours to three days.5 cm and body weight over 130 g). mating lasts for one or two days. As water temperature continues to drop to 7°C. For two to three hours. water temperature should preferably be higher than 18°C. Mating occurs about one hour after moulting of the female. its preferred food consisting of small molluscs. The male turns the female on its back and climbs upon its abdomen. After mating. the female opening its abdominal plate. they stop feeding and become dormant. they feel obviously unadapted. it grasps the female with its walking legs. their oxygen consumption being higher. erecting their body and keeping their abdomen away from the earth when crawling on the sea beach. but preferably when it is above 18°C. females being normally a little bigger than males (shell width over 8. During the hot season. ovulation may take place 30 to 40 days later.Optimum temperature ranges from 180°C to 32°C. Feeding rate decreases when water temperature drops below 18°C. they gradually emaciate until death. trash fish and other crustaceans. especially at the beginning of the high tide. Under suitable conditions. six times during the grow-out stage and once during reproduction.

This zoea stage is made of five sub-stages. hatching occurs after 25 to 15 days. The moulting process depends on body size and environmental factors. Then. Strong stimuli or mechanical damages often result in the loss of appendages. 30 percent and 41 percent respectively. Because of their phototaxic behaviour. New appendages can be regenerated several times. Development of fertilized eggs is accelerated by an increase of water temperature. It takes two to three hours for soft-shell individuals to regain this swimming ability. Eggs are released from the aperture genitalis to meet the sperm released from the spermatheca. shell width. moulting of big crabs takes longer than for small ones. The selected individuals should be healthy. Newly moulted mud crabs lose their swimming ability and sink to the bottom of the pond. between 0500 h and 0800 h. and by disease pathogens. After fertilization. it takes 11 days only. reaching the berried stage and bringing the eggs close to hatching. while at 32°C. the zoea larvae developing into megalopa larvae (Figure 15 B) through five moults. these megalopa larvae metamorphose into juvenile crabs (Figure15 C). the outer one being a secondary ovarian membrane. (b) Larval development A newly hatched embryo of Scylla serrata is called a zoea larva (Figure 15A). Berried females are not selected as broodstock due to a lower fertilization rate and their contamination by parasites.Normally. such as ciliates. Normally. two-membrane layers are formed to protect the fertilized eggs. Concrete tanks and earthen ponds can be used for this purpose. The inner one is a yolk membrane. larvae are often attracted by light at night. The megalopa larvae gradually adapt themselves to a benthic life. Hardening of the shell lasts six to seven hours. through another moult. One female crab can produce about 2 million eggs. Broodstock rearing consists in ensuring maturation. With each moult. three to four days being needed to complete this process. with a body weight of over 300 g and ovaries having reached development stage V. Figure 15. At 18°C to 28°C. The facilities and equipment used for shrimp rearing in ponds are particularly well adapted for . spawning occurs early in the morning. Fertilized eggs stick to the bristles of the abdominal legs of the female which is then called a ³berried´ crab (Figure 14b). it takes 23 to 24 days at 26-29°C for the zoea larvae to develop into young crabs: 4 to 5 days from sub-stage I to sub-stage V and 6 to 7 days from megalopa to juvenile. shell length and body weight generally increase by about 28.4 percent. For example. Development of mud crab from zoea larva to juvenile (c) Breeding techniques Selection and rearing of broodstock Crab broodstock can be collected either from the wild or from farm ponds. a process called self-cutting.

stocking density is usually less than two crabs per square metre. When this last egg colour is reached. Spawning and hatching Under good management.65 40 . A higher density could result in fights and injuries. Optimum salinity ranges from 26 to 31 ppt.20 15 . it is very important to feed berried females a high quality food.45 30 .30 18 . to control water quality and to keep a rational stocking density. it indicates that the larvae will hatch soon. The duration of the incubation period depends on water temperature as shown in Table 20. After spawning and during the whole incubation period. this colour varies from bright orange. Artificial aeration is needed in concrete ponds and there should be one complete water exchange daily.18 10 . even if well selected. Crabs are fed in the evening and feeding rate is determined by the amount of food left over on the next morning.15 Larval rearing . Similarly. With the development of the embryos.35 25 . crab. development is slower at water temperatures below 20°C and crab will die at temperatures higher than 32°C. A rich and diversified food is required. Table 20. fish. which includes small mussels. If salinity is lower than 22 ppt. shrimp. Duration of incubation period according to water temperature Duration of incubation period Water temperature (egg fertilization to hatching) (C) (days) 16 18 20 22 24 25 30 60 . In concrete ponds. Observing the colour changes of carried eggs is an important routine work. ovarian development slows down. except that shelters made of bricks or stones should be added on the bottom of the ponds. mature female crab should be reared about 10 days before spawning. etc. to grey and to dark-grey.rearing crab broodstock.

pelleted feeds are commonly used. Normally. At present. daily feeding rate should equal 5 to 7 percent of the mud crab biomass present in the pond. trash fish. Nursing of young crabs Megalopa larvae moult to become juvenile crabs living on the bottom. But to be stocked in earthen ponds they should be reared for about another 10 days. this diet should be complemented with brine shrimp nauplii. although many farmers still prefer to use cheap meat of molluscs. Optimum temperature for growth being 25°C. During later stages. eggs and trochophores of bivalve molluscs. giving them a healthy look for the seafood market. but sometimes they also eat rotten plants. at the density of 60 rotifers /ml. they can either be transferred to other nursing tanks or grown in farm tanks. discarding those which are not able to reach the water surface. A sandy clay bottom is good for crab. (d) Farming techniques Site selection for pond culture Estuarine and flat tidal areas can be selected for farming mud crab. shrimp and crab to feed farmed mud crab. On the contrary. . a substrate such as netting should be placed in the tanks to prevent cannibalism. When zoea larvae become megalopa larvae. rotifers. Brackish water with a salinity ranging from 13 to 25 ppt is pumped into the ponds. Appearance and feeding habits of the latter are the same as those of adult crabs and they can feed on meat of shrimp. as well as transportation means. for example if trash fish is used. Gradually reducing water salinity to 15-20 ppt can accelerate moulting and growth. They are transferred to rearing tanks where stocking density varies from 20 000 to 50 000 per cubic metre. It has been reported that rotifers are good food for zoea-I and zoea-II. but from the zoea-III stage. body weight: 18-32 mg). it should be sharply reduced when temperature is higher than 30°C or lower than 13°C. Zoea I larvae start feeding mostly on unicellular algae. when they should be 13 mm in width and 5 g in body weight. natural food is gradually replaced by artificial feed. The necessary supplies of juveniles and feeds should be reliable. feeding rate should be increased as the water temperature reaches 18°C and above. Feeds and feeding Scylla serrata are carnivorous. When young crabs reach development stages II and III (shell width: 6-7 mm. Towards the end of the larval rearing period. Feeding rate depends on water temperature and water quality. crab and fish. larvae are fed brine shrimp nauplii and copepods.The phototaxic behaviour of the zoea larvae is used to collect them.

and to prevent diseases. on sunny days. Table 21. so as to reduce competition and fighting. Growth in weight of farmed mud crab Group 1 2 Mean body weight (g) 10 days 60 days 75 days 96 days 180 days 5 120 177 340 574 . Feeding behaviour should be regularly checked and the leftovers should be removed to ensure a high growth rate and a good survival rate. Mud crab should never be fed at noon when water temperature is high. In winter. Routine management of ponds In subtropical regions. It depends on water quality. in particular on dissolved oxygen and ammonia nitrogen contents. Pond water should be changed daily or at least every two to three days. 60 to 80 percent of the daily food ration should be distributed in late evenings and the rest in early mornings. it is advisable to lower the water level to increase the temperature of pond water. the presence of deep water helps avoiding too high temperatures. it usually takes four to five months to produce 250 to 400 g individuals. Commercial value of male crabs mainly depends on individual body weight and size. Harvesting Farmed Scylla serrata grow rapidly as shown in Table 21. Depending on the size of the juveniles initially stocked. Female crabs whose ovaries are fully developed (called yolk crabs) fetch the highest price in seafood markets. regulation of water levels in rearing ponds is routinely done in order to keep a suitable water temperature. In summer. Food should be evenly distributed along the edges of the ponds.Since Scylla serrata feeds mostly at night. An adequate diet helps to reduce cannibalism and to maintain good water quality.

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