World Aquaculture 2023

May 29 - June 1, 2023

Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia


Krishna R. Salin *, Ataguba Gabriel Arome


Aquaculture and Aquatic Resources Management (AARM)

Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Klong Luang

Pathumthani 12120, Thailand.


The total production of freshwater prawns of the family Palaemonidae stood at 562,969 tonnes in 2020, valued at US$ 4.7 billion. This production volume and value make freshwater prawns economically important. The giant freshwater prawn (Macrobrachium rosenbergii) is an important species in this family with a well-developed production system and value chain. These prawns are farmed across Thailand, but the central drainage basins of the Chao Phraya River is where most of the industry is located; it mainly flourished when local laws prevented marine shrimp cultivation in interior locations, and farmers shifted their focus to prawn culture.

Sustainable aquaculture has now added the concept of welfare as a yardstick for certification and value chain improvement, particularly in Asia, where most aquaculture production occurs. Welfare issues related to M. rosenbergii are also similar to those in marine shrimp aquaculture. They include the artificial culture environment, high stocking density, diseases and infections, feeding and sustainability of ingredients, poor water quality, and cruel stunning/slaughter methods.

Feeding and utilizing sustainable ingredients can be handled by research into alternative feed ingredients and feeding regimes that promote better growth and welfare of the organisms under culture. The effect of improved feeding can be measured through immune response and stress markers. Poor water quality and high stocking density compromise the immunity of the species under culture conditions, while this confers a welfare advantage for freshwater prawns that are farmed at less-intensive culture conditions than marine shrimp. To overcome the disease challenge, real-time smart water quality monitoring systems can be used, and stocking density adjusted accordingly. The transportation, stunning, and killing of prawns (cold shock in ice or direct application of heat) constitute another welfare concern for this species. Advances in live transportation have been reported. Welfare indicators for this species include metrics on feed composition, environmental enrichment, stocking density and culture space, water quality, and stunning/slaughter. However, the methods that must be used to obtain data for these indicators need to be non-invasive. Some certification schemes have included these indicators in their audit process. Future research must consider reproductive welfare and vaccination against emerging diseases.