The Rise, Fall and Resurrection of the Black Panther Shrimp

man on stage
Robins McIntosh charts the fate of black tiger shrimp over the past 40 years


PSB تصوير Photography

Speaking last week world shrimp forumMackintosh – a senior vice president CP . foodsand one of the world’s preeminent shrimp farming experts – he gave an insightful presentation on the fate of the monodon sector and why it is expected to rebound after two decades of decline.

changing of the guards

McIntosh explained that shrimp farming began in earnest in Asia around 1985, with the black panther – then obtained from wild mothers and wild animals – as the first species. However, it has begun to be replaced by imported white legged shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) around the turn of the millennium, due to poor monodon genetics, resulting in lower growth rates and sizes.

“By 2002, the black panther lost money to everyone, so it had to change. The change was we brought in the white shrimp because it had already been domesticated… If we domesticated the black panther, the white shrimp would never come, but we couldn’t And so the white shrimp filled the gap,” MacIntosh explained.

Meanwhile, some companies, including CP (in 2003) and Moana (in 2001), have begun to domesticate the black panther.

“Taking the tiger was much more difficult than anyone expected. White shrimp – bring it in and it’s almost ready to go and pick. It takes eight generations for the black panther to be picked. But at the same time we have continued to work with the black panther and see what we can do,” he added. .

In order to create the SPF, the CP had to ensure a clean stock, resulting in as much genetic variation as possible from around the range of species. Once domesticated, eight or nine years later, they were able to start a selection program at their breeding center in Thailand. Now in her 14th generation, McIntosh has been able to chart how survival rates rise from about 30 percent to 85 percent. As the performance improves, the rate of assimilation by farmers also improves.

tiger shrimp
The Marbled Paralysis tiger shrimp breeding program has seen survival rates rise from about 30 percent to 85 percent.

“With this domesticated animal, we have reversed the downward trend,” he noted, explaining that global production of this species had fallen from 700,000 tons in 2004 to 300,000 tons in 2018, before rising to 500-600 thousand tons today.

Major countries that have benefited from the new domesticated subspecies of monodon include China, Thailand, Vietnam, India, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Madagascar, and Macintosh observed a meteoric growth rate of 42 percent in the species between 2019 and 2021.

Pros and cons of black shrimp

The main advantages of the black panther, according to Mackintosh, is that the species tolerates both EMS / AHPND and EHP.

“In Vietnam, or India, or Thailand when [white] The shrimp are dying and not doing well, I put the black panther in it it seems to be working fine so that’s a great motivation to put the black panther in it. They require less capital investment – I call the black tiger poor man shrimp – you don’t need liners, intense aeration, you don’t need all the upgrades you need with white shrimp, so more farmers can do that. He said it has a very good market value.

Comprehensive farming system
Tiger shrimp do not require upfront capital investment like white prawns and can be farmed in large scale systems.

© Ernesto Jacques Morales

The disadvantages of black tigers include the relatively low yield and low growth rates, although McIntosh believes these may surpass the white shrimp within 10 years as the breeding program catches up with the tigers.

“If we go up 10 years, we will probably see the monodon catch and overtake the white shrimp,” he predicted.

case studies

McIntosh cited a number of CP farms in Thailand where black tiger shrimp did particularly well – individual crops reaching 45g in 115 days.

“Storage density is lower than white shrimp, but survival rates are good, trophic decomposition rates can be very good. Yields? It is not white shrimp but there is nothing wrong with getting 12 tons per hectare.”

“The performance today is much better even than it was in the best days of the Black Panther in the late ’80s and early ’90s,” he added.

Meanwhile, Macintosh explained how more and more ponds in China, where crops for white shrimp have failed, are now being successfully stocked with black tiger – with offers on par with Thailand’s black tigers and better prices than white shrimp.

Black Panther Shrimp
Some ponds which failed to produce white prawns are able to produce tiger prawns successfully

He recounted how a CP client in China came to his office with a box of the country’s finest green tea and told him that “this is the best thing that has happened to Chinese aquaculture in the past 10 years”.

New strategies for tiger prawn breeding

The Macintosh then identified a number of new production technologies. This included a polyculture system where white prawns are added to black tiger ponds 6-7 weeks after laying the latter.

“You have to start with the black panther or else Fanami will kill them,” Macintosh explained.

Another method involves the rotation of black tiger with white shrimp to reduce pathogen loads.

“What we found in Thailand is that we had three courses – there is a clean and dry course before the first course, which works for the white prawn, but the second course for white shrimp is a failure, and the third course for white prawn is a failure before it gets clean again. But if we put the black tiger Instead of vannamei in the second cycle, we can have a successful second cycle, it reduces the pathogen load and the third cycle can be successful again with white shrimp.”

Black Panther in the Americas

The Macintosh also raised the intriguing possibility of breeding the black panther – a species native to Asia – in the Americas.

“Black tiger in large ponds at low densities is wonderful. Asia learned to take white shrimp [which is native to South America] at high densities and they did a good job there. If the Americans had taken the black panther and put it in their ponds of 10 hectares at three or four per square meter, they would not have had so many problems, but they always thought that the black panther was an exotic species and did not. He doesn’t want it,” he ponders.

Now that populations of black tigers have established themselves in the wild across vast swathes of the Americas — from northeastern Brazil, where there are populations large enough to support commercial fisheries, to North Carolina — Macintosh wonders if regulations for cultivating them might change by too long. .

“I tested this black panther, it’s clean, it’s a black panther SPF in the Americas. If the regulators left someone alone to domesticate this American panther, I think that would be pretty good for some big, failed ponds in the Americas. It’s just a matter of time.” “Black Panther does very well in semi-intensive puddles, so for me Black Panther is the perfect match,” he added.

tiger prawn mothers
tiger prawn mothers



While Macintosh has spent a lot of time — and CP cash — improving the prospects for the monodon sector, he feels that their efforts have not paid off their fair rewards.

“I spent 12 years on a monodon without a dime profit, and one year later people take it and they reproduce it… I think we have to be smarter about letting mommy companies that invest big keep some of their intellectual property and it benefits everyone. Because if There was no interest so there is no need to continue investing.


While McIntosh doesn’t think the black panther will surpass white shrimp production levels globally, he does see the species have a bright future in a range of geographies now that genetics has been improved.

“Today it is easier to run a domesticated black panther in a pond or in a hatchery like a vanami, which was not the case in 2001-2001. So it will have its niche and will continue to grow. Especially if there continue to be problems with the white shrimp in Asia, because the black panther It appears to have some trait that allows it to survive when the white shrimp isn’t.

Rob Fletcher

Senior Editor at Fish website

Rob Fletcher has written about aquaculture since 2007 as editor at fish farmsAnd the fish farming expert And the fish site. He holds an MA in History from the University of Edinburgh and an MA in Sustainable Aquaculture from the University of St Andrews. He currently lives and works in Scotland.

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