Pond Aquaculture Management and Development (POND)

Integrated aquaculture management for shrimp farming has helped to counter the early boom and bust experienced in shrimp farming and led to efficiency gains in the sector. Management approaches have evolved through research outcomes as well as trial and error. Shrimp farm management aims to control the processes in the pond during the grow-out cycle, through onsite monitoring of key indicators such as dissolved oxygen (DO), Secchi disk depth and feed requirements through the use of trays.
Management strategies for shrimp farming are largely reactive, using measurable quantities to trigger response actions. Shrimps farms can be regulated through improved external forcing and/or reduced internal loading, e.g. utilizing appropriate aeration and water exchange, adjusting feeding requirements throughout the culture cycle or experimenting with different stocking densities.
There is an increasing need to understand the natural processes at the pond scale in order to optimise the operational and environmental components of shrimp farm production. Shrimp farming is a volatile sector and the use of mathematical models provides a proactive tool for management purposes, helping shrimp farms increase margins by identifying potential efficiency and environmental gains, and cost savings.
Mathematical models that simulate crop production and pond biogeochemistry throughout the culture cycle allow shrimp farm managers to:
1) Establish how different pond parameterization affects harvestable biomass and water quality, quantifying risk factors in the pond such as the effects on shrimp growth due to low dissolved oxygen.
2) Hindcast previous production cycles comparing predicted with the observed results in order to optimise production in future culture periods.
3) Nowcast operational aspects, providing a decision support tool used during the culture cycles to optimise the day to day management of the operations.
4) Optimise harvests and reduce costs by simulating feeding and water exchange requirements thus regulating factors that lead to stress in the animals, which in turn reduces susceptibility to diseases such as the White Spot Virus (WSSV).
5) Develop compliance policies to adhere to certification programs and best management practices.
The simulation of the nitrogen cycle enables shrimp farms to calculate how much pressure they are placing on coastal waters with respect to eutrophication. This is relevant not only for existing farms but for discussion support on the licensing process new farms as well as for the expansion of existing farms.
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