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Boosting biosecurity for the shrimp industry

October 8, 2021  By Hatchery International Staff

A new research project being carried out in Australia, “Demonstrating the impact of prawn viruses on prawn aquaculture production”, is focusing on pathogens found on Australian shrimp farms and looks to give producers a better understanding on how to mitigate them in the future.

The $809,000-project is being carried out by the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA), the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC), James Cook University (JCU), and the Australian Prawn Farmers Association (APFA).

The research will build on the data collected from the 2020 CRCNA-funded biosecurity audit, which identified the most common pathogens and viruses found in tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) populations across Queensland, Australia.

Lead by lead researcher, Kelly Condon, the project will determine the impact of purified, sequenced viral extracts (Infectious Hypodermal and Haematopoietic Necrosis Virus (IHHNV)), Whenzhou Shrimp Virus-2 (When-2), and Gill Associated Virus (GAV)) on the survival, growth performance and biology of tiger shrimp.


Looking into these viruses will allow producers to better understand their impact on shrimp farming, allowing researchers to find better ways to manage disease impacts. Additionally, researchers will carry out experiments to determine how various environmental stresses, including water temperature and salinity, may impact the pathogen virulence.

“Having these purified strains means researchers can then develop tests to more easily and accurately identify when pathogen strains are present in commercial and wild-caught shrimp populations. More accurate data and knowledge about pathogen virulence allow shrimp farmers to better manage their breeding stock through improved screening capabilities,” Condon explained. “It means farmers can start to select for genetically resistant strains and then with the knowledge of the resistance genes be able to screen populations and select for the individuals that have the resistant gene.”

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