There is a clear difference between the shrimp postlarvae traits that are economically important in Central and South America versus those of Asia, creating a challenge for breeders to satisfy the somewhat opposing breeding goals the regions demand.
Although not universally practiced, the potential benefits of selective breeding in aquaculture outweigh all other options for improving animal performance. The genetic potential of aquaculture animals is plastic and can be improved over a relatively short timeframe.
One of the largest shrimp maturation operations in Ecuador is working with five major shrimp producers to improve growth rates.
Shrimp aquaculture could improve its position through more accurate and consistent identification and counting of postlarvae.
In China, fleshy shrimp have had much higher market value than other shrimp species. China’s aquaculture scientists and fishery agencies have therefore worked closely with shrimp farmers to rebuild the farming industry for F. chinensis.
Although the application of selective breeding and genetics can yield dramatic results, the use of genetically improved stock varies widely among aquaculture sectors. Virtually all Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout producers use improved stock, while use of genetically improved tilapia
Through a genetic selection program started in 2006, significant advances have been achieved in the development of a specific pathogen-free L. vannamei line in Brazil.
In Brazil, shrimp hybrids – crosses of imported specific pathogen-free lines and a genetically improved and locally adapted line – outperform their parents.
The continued application of genome research to aquaculture will provide unprecedented accuracy for genetic selection of performance and production traits.