According to research, shrimp is the world’s most valuable traded marine product. Today, farmed shrimp make up for 55% of the shrimp produced globally. Production is growing at an approximate rate of 10% annually, which is one of the highest growth rates in aquaculture.
It has dawned on many people that producing freshwater shrimp in their own aquaculture fish farms can be a profitable business. If you want to join the bandwagon, you need to be conversant with the specifics of raw shrimp nutrition requirements. This will help you to boost growth and the health of your shrimp while lessening the environmental impacts resulting from uneaten feed and animal waste.
Importance of Shrimp Nutrition
Nutrition plays a crucial role in the aquaculture industry by:
- Positively influencing the health and growth of shrimp
- Improving the quality of seafood produced
- Enriching aquaculture environment
Being a successful shrimp farmer takes a lot more than just knowing the nutritional requirements of the species you have and meeting them with dietary supplements. You must also observe appropriate feeding practices. Doing so will enable you to choose cost-effective feeds that offer balanced nutrition to support normal growth while reducing ecological effects.
Essential Components of Shrimp Nutrition
Like all animals, shrimp need a variety of nutrients in order to grow and remain healthy. The following are the essential components of shrimp nutrition and their function:
Proteins are generally highly digestible energy sources. If a sufficient protein source is not provided through the diet, there will be a rapid loss of weight and reduction of growth. Therefore, shrimp need to consume sufficient protein to provide a constant supply of essential amino acids for growth and maintenance.
Just like other animals, shrimp have to consume energy in order to sustain normal activities prior to investing it in growth. As a result, sufficient energy intake is crucial for both survival and growth. Carbohydrates are the most cost-effective source of energy, which is why most shrimp feeds contain carbohydrate sources such as sorghum, wheat, and corn.
Lipids are another vital component of shrimp nutrition because they supply a concentrated energy source as well as essential fatty acids. While dietary lipids are vital nutritionally, the types and levels of lipids used in shrimp feeds are normally dictated by factors such as economics, product quality, and constraints of production procedures.
Research has also shown that vitamins are vital for the health and growth of shrimp. Even so, shrimp require vitamins in very small quantities in order to sustain vital functions. Shrimp feeds are usually supplemented with vitamin premix in adequate quantities to surpass the estimated vitamin requirements. Quantities above those required for optimal growth help facilitate the ability of shrimp to manage stress.
Practical shrimp feeds generally contain a substantial amount of endogenous minerals. As a result, complete mineral premixes are not necessary. Apart from phosphorus, macrominerals are normally not supplemented to commercial shrimp feeds.
Sustainable Sources of Shrimp Feed
Customarily, aquaculture feeds were based on fish meal and oil derived from relatively cheap fish species like mackerel, herrings, sardines, and anchovies. Fish oil is rich in long-chain, polyunsaturated fatty acids like omega 3 fatty acids. Therefore, shrimp fed with fish oils are a great source of these vital components.
On the flip side, the increasing demand for aquaculture feeds puts marine resources at the verge of extinction. As governments and consumers become increasingly aware of the environmental repercussions of such an eventuality, it has been concluded that alternatives to fish oil and meal from marine resources are needed.
There are various sustainable alternatives that have been found to offer similar desirable qualities as those of fish meal and oil. Possible alternative sources of protein include products from single cell proteins, land animals, and plant protein sources such as feeds made from legumes, grains, or oilseeds.
Unfortunately, most of these alternative sources are not rich in amino acids that satisfy nutritional requirements of shrimp. It’s therefore important for you to only rely on shrimp feed producers that are able to formulate recipes that meet all the raw shrimp nutrition requirements using the available raw materials.