The anticipated arrival of a Specific Pathogen Free (SPF) Black Tiger shrimp being bred in Brunei could carve a niche in international high value seafood markets.
During the Sixth Aquaculture Seminar organised by the Fisheries Department on Saturday, the local shrimp industry was informed that the SPF process is nearly complete with genetically improved post-larvae available in September.
Dr George Chamberlain, Technical Director of Integrated Aquaculture International (TAT) disclosed the information in his update of the three-year project which has seen the TAT develop advanced aquaculture technology to produce large black tiger shrimp for export.
Stocks of black tiger shrimp have been established and moved from primary quarantine to secondary quarantine toward potential SPF status.
Once established, the breeding of SPF black tiger shrimp will be set to begin, marking a new chapter in the history of Brunei's fairly infant shrimp industry.
The importance of the SPF black tiger shrimp, which is also known as Penaeus monodon, to Brunei shrimp industry revolves around the challenges faced by the local shrimp farmers.
High costs for post larvae, feed and labour, coupled with low international prices for shrimp means that for exports will need to target a different market.
During the seminar, Dr Chamberlain outlined that the industry needs to "produce large high value shrimp for the premium markets".
The Monodon is a larger shrimp and even locally is sought after; however despite being on the verge of something potentially big, Brunei will also need to convince the International market.
Plans to acquire Hazardous Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) and EU Certifications are also in the pipeline, with continuing contacts with large buyers in North America and participation in international seafood shows and markets are also ongoing to further develop the brand image of Brunei's shrimp.
The results of the venture between TAT and the Department of Fisheries are not mutually exclusive to specific-pathogen-free shrimp but also genetically-improved post-larvae, high-performing feeds, and sustainable farming systems and techniques aimed to produce quality shrimp for premium markets.