India’s Shrimp ‘Ranching’ Needs Re-set

India’s Shrimp ‘Ranching’ Needs Re-set

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

And God created great whales, and every living creature that moves, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind … and God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:21)

The Aquaculturists: 20/10/2017: Shrimp farming in India

India may be looking to America for a jump-start to revitalize its shrimp aquaculture industry, according to recent report (May 11, 2020) in the Hindu Business Line.

The report, which was issued by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) looks into a range of measures to improve the export potential of the aquaculture sector. Around 90 % of India’s aquaculture production is generally exported. And, although exports have plummeted since the COVID-19 pandemic, the report warns that producers may struggle to meet demand once the movement of goods and people returns to normal . . . (1)

India’s shrimp-farming operations have two major vulnerabilities—dependence on outside (i.e., outside of India, which now includes lockdown/shutdown facts not previously present in the global marketplace) sources for breeding shrimp and for the kind of food that shrimp larva need to eat, so that they can grow into mature shrimp of marketable size.

The Confederation of Indian Industry has recommended measures to improve the export potential of the aquaculture sector in order to capture a major share of the global market. …  The lion’s share of Indian aquaculture comprises shrimp, for which both broodstocks and larval feeds are imported. With the global lockdown situation, the supply of these has been stalled, which will have a significant impact on production, CII said in its report.(2)

But for restarting India’s shrimp-farming operations, some adjustments to “business-as-usual” will be necessary, both logistically and legally.

To reduce the lag time in the supply of broodstock, CII has recommended re-establishing import of broodstock by expediting air transportation from the US by arranging special cargo flights. It is pointed out that the RGCA [Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture] quarantine facility in Chennai is shut and its holding capacity is not sufficient for large consignments. Hence, the imported broodstock should be allowed to be taken to hatcheries directly and thereafter sampling can be done by RGCA. On approval, hatchery owners can be allowed to use the broodstock.(2)

India-freshwater-shrimp-farming

What a huge undertaking—revitalizing this part of India’s fisheries/aquaculture industry is truly a “big deal”, in the global marketplace. As a fish/seafood exporter India has very serious competition—for almost 20 years China has been the world’s #1 producer of fish and seafood exports.(3)

India is the world’s second-largest [sic] fish producer with a total production of 13.7 million tonnes in 2018-19 of which 65 % was from inland fishing. Almost 50 % of inland fish production is from culture fisheries, which constitutes 6.5 % of global fish production. Shrimp accounts for a majority share of India’s aquaculture, which is growing at a CAGR [compound annual growth rate] of 17.4 % over the past 3 years.(2)

Providing affordable (and available) protein-rich food is a worldwide need.  Harvesting oceanic fish and shellfish—including shrimp—can contribute much to feeding peoples of the world.(4),(5)  Aquaculture (which is comparable to “ranching” sea creatures–like shrimp–as livestock), however, can supplement oceanic finfish and shellfish, for the benefit of many hungry humans.(6),(7)

May God bless America to recover its own economic health—and to do so with such strength that it can once again bless India, and other nations of the world, such as by helping India to jump-start their own now-vulnerable aquaculture industry.(8)

Farmers making a fortune in shrimp farming

References

  1. Staff writer. 2020. Why India’s Shrimp Sector Must Become More Self-Sufficient. The Fish Site. Posted (May 12, 2020) at https://thefishsite.com/articles/why-indias-shrimp-sector-must-become-more-self-sufficient – accessed may 15, 2020.
  2. Kumar, V. S. 2020. CII Chalks Out Steps to Boost Aquaculture Exports. Hindu Business Line. Posted (May 11, 2020) at https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/agri-business/cii-chalks-out-steps-to-boost-aquaculture-exports/article31555206.ece# — accessed May 15, 2020.
  3. Nag, O. S. 2017. Top Fish and Seafood Exporting Countries. Posted (April 25, 2017) at https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/top-fish-and-seafood-exporting-countries.html —  accessed May 15, 2020.
  4. According to the Lord Jesus, fish are good food. Matthew 7:9-11; Luke 11:11-13..
  5. Incorporating actuarial biology insights (pioneered by marine biologist Johan Hjort) has enabled the world’s shrimp industry, including shrimp-farming, to economically maximize productivity. See Johnson, J. J. S. 2019. Northern Prawns, Baltic Prawns, and Brown Shrimp, Illustrating Genesis 1:22 (including Johan Hjort’s Actuarial Biology Research on Pandalus borealis). Nordic Legacy Series (Norwegian Society of Texas, Fort Worth, Texas, February 24, 2019), 15 pages.
  6. Aquaculture now faces new challenges from pandemic politics. See Johnson, J. J. S. 2020. Fish Farming Feeds Scots, But It’s Not Getting Easier.  COVID-19 News. Posted April 21, 2020) at https://www.icr.org/article/fish-farming-feeds-scots-but-not-getting-easier .
  7. Fish-farming, using managed coast water net-pens is one aquaculture method useful in fulfilling the Genesis Mandate. See Johnson, J. J. S. 2013. Fulfilling the Genesis Mandate while Helping the Poor. Acts & Facts. 42(12):19, posted at https://www.icr.org/article/fulfilling-genesis-mandate-while-helping .
  8. Acts 20:35.

 

Shake a Leg (or 2 or 3 or 4), Crab-Eater!

Shake a Leg (or 2 or 3 or 4), Crab-Eater!

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

YellowCrowned-NightHeron-eating-crab.BioWeb-photo

Yellow-crowned Night Heron eating crab in marshy grass (BioWeb photo credit)

He sends forth His commandment upon earth; His word runs very swiftly.  (Psalm 147:15)

Do you usually think of God’s Word as “running very swiftly”? Maybe not, but the psalmist portrays God’s commandment as being sent forth with a speed that is so fast it is comparable to someone running.  In fact, God rules the world’s weather by issuing meteorological mandates that are executed with lightning-like rapidity:

He gives snow like wool; He scatters the hoarfrost like ashes. He casts forth His ice like morsels; who can stand before His cold?  He sends out His word, and melts them; He causes His wind to blow, and the waters flow. (Psalm 147:16-18)

When we think of running, we think of fast motion. Young children and young adults run; old folks like to walk (Isaiah 40:31).  Of course, lots of animals move pretty quickly, too.  Legs are pretty important, if you want to do any serious running around!

The fastest-footed bird of Africa is the Ostrich, a running ratite with a galloping gait. Here in Texas (where I live), we have a much smaller bird, nonetheless swift-legged, the Greater Roadrunner.  Earlier this evening I saw two Roadrunners scooting around by the east side of my house – may God bless them as they hunt snakes and other varmints!

Speaking of varmints, there are varieties of rodents that run around quite nimbly – mice, rats, squirrels (which I don’t really consider “varmints” unless they are chewing electrical system components), voles, prairie dogs, etc.  Rabbits (and other lagomorphs, like the Pikas of the Rocky Mountains) can move with serious speed, especially when fleeing in fear when chased by a predator.

Many of the larger mammals can hoof it – pronto! — such as the fleet-footed pronghorn of the prairie plains (or its antelope-like “cousins”, Africa’s gnu and India’s blackbuck) or feral felines like North America’s cougars (or Africa’s lions and cheetahs).  Even Australia’s kangaroos can hop at speeds over 40 m.p.h., like race-horses.  Actually, as goofy as moose sometimes look, don’t casually assume that you can outrun them  —  especially if turf-defending attitude is an issue (and I recall that cautionary caveat as one once nicknamed “Dances with Moose”).

Yes, even at tidal beaches there are a lot of God’s creatures that can scurry furtively about. Consider, for a moment, the decapod crustaceans we call “crabs”. There are many different varieties of crabs (Ghost Crabs, Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs, Fiddler Crabs, Dungeness Crabs, Tanner Crabs, King Crabs, etc.) – and they have nimble legs for swift and purposeful maneuvering, both on land or in water!

Yet what if those crab legs are rudely amputated?   –  the crab becomes near-hopelessly vulnerable to a quick end, inside a decapod-dining predator.  No running away then!

Which leads us (“finally”, you say) to our featured bird of the day, the YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT HERON, because it is known to seize upon and amputate crab legs, prior to consuming its hapless crustacean prey.

Although night-herons are named for their habit of hunting from dusk until dawn, the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron quite commonly also hunts through daylight hours [if it’s not sleeping!], particularly when there are hungry mouths to feed [sound familiar, parents?].  Its secretive habits, choice of dense, concealing habitats and nearly motionless hunting strategy combine to make this bird a challenge to locate and observe.  The Yellow-crowned Night-Heron’s partiality for crustaceans has earned it the name “Crab-Eater in some parts of its [almost exclusively coastal] range.  It will typically grab a crab by its legs or pinchers [!] and shake vigorously until these fall off, making the crab more manageable.   [Quoting Wayne R. Petersen& Rogers Burrows, BIRDS OF NEW ENGLAND (Lone Pine Publishing, 2004), page 100, emphasis added.]

YellowCrowned-NightHeron-eating-crab.BioWeb-closeup

Yellow-crowned Night Heron eating crab (BioWeb photo credit)

So, if the caught crab is too big to swallow, shedding a few appendages might reduce it to an ingestible size – and then “down the hatch” it goes!  Also, if the seized crab were to fall out of the heron’s beak-grasp (onto the beach), while the bird was trying to position the struggling crab for swallowing it, a legless or crippled crab (if dropped) will have quite a challenging time trying to make a successful getaway!

Wow! That gives a new twist to the phrase “shake a leg!”

By the way, how did the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron know that thrashing and breaking off crab legs was a good strategy to reduce a crab in size, for more-manageable swallowing?  — or a good strategy for preventing the crustacean prey from escaping if dropped?  — or a good strategy to diminish a crab’s ability to resisting being eaten?  The night heron’s targeted practice of immobilizing the crab is not just behavioral “dumb luck”!  God designed the bio-machinery and behavioral abilities of the bird.  God taught (i.e., programmed the “software” that drives the “hardware” of) the heron how to quickly catch, keep, and consume its shellfish snack.  Crunch! Crunch!  Crunch! GULP!

Just another eye-catching example of God’s creation in action, appreciating a few small details within a super-complicated-and-interactive coastal food web  —   with all of these interactive details, both  separately and together, exhibiting our great God’s ecological and bioengineering genius, as His critters live to be “fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth”. God is really, really clever!

That’s it for now  –  gotta “run”!

YellowCrowned-NightHeron-eating-FiddlerCrab.10000Birds-photo

Yellow-crowned Night Heron eating Fiddler Crab (10,000 Birds photo credit)