Photo credit: Kevin Fitzsimmons (USA)
Technical review: Abdel Rahman El Gamal (Founder of the website)
In the late 1990s, shrimp production in Ecuador was severely affected by the White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV) that caused a drastic decrease in shrimp production and so in the value of exported shrimp. The significant contribution of shrimp exports to total private exports in Ecuador (about 6%), national research system launched research projects to address the problems caused by WSSV. Ecuador’s Centro Nacional de Acuicultura e Investigaciones Marinas (CENAIM) has been the leading institute in charge of WSSV research.
The research findings revealed a positive impact of elevated water temperature in a greenhouse system on the survival of shrimp against the infection by WSSV especially when compared to open ponds where the infection by WSSV and so the mortality of infected shrimp was high.
Based on field observation, greenhouses maintained water temperatures 3-5 C above open pond temperatures whereas temperatures of pond water under greenhouses reached 29-32 during the colder July – November season.
The greenhouse system accompanied by the high growth rate and so survival justified the intensification of shrimp culture in which the stocking density went up to above 120 000/ha. As expected, specialized formulated feed is being used in that intensive system. It has been recommended to use greenhouses as a viable production system for shrimp in Ecuador and elsewhere.