The black tiger prawn is a delicious crustacean which was once mainly harvested from the wild. Scientists working with the CSIRO have created a new “breed” of black tiger prawn, Penaeus monodon, which is easier to breed and faster to grow. By selectively engineering the offspring for multiple generations they have created an aquaculture gem which is hardier in captve conditions. The new Black Tiger Prawn has the promise of quick growout, low feed requirements, readily breeds in captivity, and of course it is tasty. Captive culture of this species could be a boom in aquaculture as farmers would no longer need to collect wild breeding stock each year. The future of these prawns to worldwide markets is yet to be seen but the impact to Australia’s market should be immediate. About half of the prawn market in Australia is imported from Asia, it is expected that much of that market share will shift to local aquaculture farms as their operators become more proficient at raising this new strain of black tiger prawn. The efforts of the CSIRO team parallels those of early marine fish breeders who find that captive raised fish are in turn easier to breed and grow in captivity. Hopefully some dedicated reef aquarists could do the same with the captive breeding of popular ornamental crustaceans such as cleaner shrimp or fire/blood shrimp. Read more about this development here.
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