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Good to know: Giant freshwater shrimp

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The Macrobrachium rosenbergii is one of the largest freshwater shrimps in the world. Males can reach a body size of 32 cm. The head is large in relation to the body and another striking feature of the large males are the blue claws. In the wild they live in tropical fresh water with adjoining brackish water areas.

This species has been farmed in Southeast Asia for a long time, but modern breeding methods have been introduced since 1960. Bangladesh is considered one of the most suitable countries in the world for freshwater prawn farming because of its favorable soil condition, weather and temperature. Broodstock is obtained from breeding ponds or sometimes from natural sources. A large female can lay up to 100,000 eggs.

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The larvae hatching from these eggs are bred into post larvae (PL) in so-called hatcheries. This metamorphosis which lasts about one month should take place in brackish water. The PL are then transferred to nursery tanks or grow-out ponds. The salinity of the water in the ponds will be gradually reduced. The shrimp are initially fed with algae and plankton from natural inflow. In a later stage they also receive artificial food by means of ‘pellets’ (fish meal, cereal grains, etc.). Intensive farming is not possible due to the level of cannibalism between these prawns.

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After about 10 months the shrimp are ready to be harvested. Harvesting is done from November to February by draining the ponds or by fishing the prawns out of the pond using nets. The quality of the product depends on the treatment after the harvest. The shrimps are killed instantly by immersing them in ice water. Thereafter they are transported very fast to the factory where they are headed, sorted and frozen

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Shrimp is a nutritious, low-calorie alternative to meat and an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Freshwater shrimps are ideal for grilling, but can also perfectly be used in stews or other spicy dishes.

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