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Successful program of genetic improvement of finfish extended to freshwater prawns

WorldFish has expanded its successful program of breeding genetically improved strains of farmed tilapia and carp to include freshwater prawn.

Macrobrachium rosenbergii is one of the most important crustaceans in inland aquaculture, economically important for the poor because it fits well in smallholders’ typical system of prawn polyculture with carp or tilapia in Bangladesh, China, India, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. It does not require expensive high-protein feed, thriving instead on locally procured plants, yet it fetches a much higher price than freshwater fish. Demand is high in domestic and export markets alike.The aim is to develop high-yielding strains with good adaptation to environmental challenges and a high survival rate.

This is the first attempt to genetically improve this prawn species. Implementation entails collecting and evaluating strains, establishing the foundation population, designing and implementing the selection program, developing strategies for effectively disseminating the improved strain, and building the capacity of local scientists. Selective breeding has begun in India, Malaysia and Vietnam in collaboration with national partners possessing the required facilities and skilled personnel. In all three countries, physical facilities have been consolidated, the technique of family identification using visible implant elastomer mastered, and family production begun following the single-pair mating design. The involvement of the three countries ensures that the project captures their wealth of experience. The project will significantly contribute to understanding of the species’ genetics and provide a model for genetically improvng other crustaceans.

Relevant to this story

Article: Genetic diversity in wild stocks of the giant freshwater prawn (Macrobrachium rosenbergii): Implications for aquaculture and conservation (Naga 2003)

Link: FAO Cultured Aquatic Species Information, Macrobrachium rosenbergii

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