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Brazilian Journal of Oceanography

Print version ISSN 1679-8759

Braz. j. oceanogr. vol.62 no.4 São Paulo Oct./Dec. 2014 



Marcelo Barbosa Henriques1  * 

Pedro Mestre Ferreira Alves1 

Oscar José Sallée Barreto1 

Marcelo Ricardo de Souza1 

1Instituto de Pesca - Secretaria de Agricultura e Abastecimento do Estado de São Paulo, (Av. Bartolomeu de Gusmão, 192, 11030-906 Santos, SP, Brasil)


The Litopenaeus schmitti and Farfantepenaeus paulensis shrimp captured in estuaries are marketed as live bait for recreational fishing. As an alternative to shrimp extractive activities, the authors evaluated the rearing of these species in a recirculation culture system. For each species, the grow-out study was carried out in two 120-day production cycles, using 3,300 juveniles of an average length of 25 mm and weight of 0.9 grams in each, distributed in 12 tanks of 1,500 liters and 1.32 m2, at a population density of 208.3 shrimp per m2. The growth parameters were obtained using the von Bertalanffy model based on the length (mm) and age (weeks) data. The adjustments were made in the R environment of the non-linear least-square method. The von Bertalanffy growth model showed a proper fit, with determination coefficients of 0.900 for L. schmitti and 0.841 for F. paulensis. The values of L∞ and k were 172.66 and 0.027 mm for L. schmitti and 110.13 mm and 0.050 for F. paulensis, respectively. In the current study, L. schmitti showed negative allometric growth (p=4,314x10-18) and F. paulensis isometric growth (p=0.267). The growth of shrimp obtained in the proposed recirculation system can supply live bait for the sport fishing market.

Key words: Growth curve; Length-weight relationship; Live bait; Marine shrimp farming; Pink shrimp; White shrimp


Os camarões Litopenaeus schmitti e Farfantepenaeus paulensis capturados pela pesca artesanal nos estuários são comercializados como iscas vivas na pesca esportiva. Como alternativa à atividade extrativista foi avaliado o cultivo dessas espécies em sistema de recirculação de água. Para cada espécie foram realizados dois ciclos de produção de 120 dias, utilizando 3300 juvenis em cada um, com média de 25 mm de comprimento e 0.9 gramas em peso, dispostos em 12 tanques de 1500L e 1.32 m2, na densidade de 208.3 camarões m2. Os parâmetros de crescimento foram obtidos utilizando-se o modelo de von Bertalanffy baseado nos dados de comprimento (mm) e idade (semanas). Os ajustes foram feitos no ambiente R utilizando o método não-linear de mínimos quadrados. O modelo de von Bertalanffy apresentou ajuste adequado, com coeficientes de determinação de 0.900 para L. schmitti e 0.841 para F. paulensis. Os valores de L∞ e k foram 172.66 mm e 0.027 para L. schmitti e 110.13 mm e 0.050 para F. Paulensis, respectivamente. No presente estudo L. schmitti apresentou crescimento alométrico negativo (p=4.314x10-18) e F. paulensis crescimento isométrico (p=0.267). O crescimento obtido dos camarões no sistema de recirculação proposto atende ao mercado de iscas vivas da pesca esportiva.

Palavras-Chave: Curva de crescimento; Relação comprimento-peso; Isca viva; Carcinicultura marinha; Camarão rosa; Camarão branco


Recreational fishing is on the increase in Brazil thus generating a market opportunity for extractive activities for small and medium-sized producers. The rapid growth of the live bait market has disrupted the supply of juvenile shrimp, leading to intensive fishing activity for them in estuaries (BARBIERI, 2010). This disordered extraction in natural shrimp nurseries, besides leading to overfishing, is responsible for the direct progressive depletion of natural stocks, because the extraction is undertaken in both the substrates of the population, with the capture of juveniles in estuarine areas and adults in oceanic waters (VALENTINI et al., 1991).

The penaeids are an important resource for fisheries and aquaculture worldwide, playing an important socio-economic role in the South Atlantic (BARBIERI, 2010). The decline in catches observed on the Brazilian coast in recent decades has stimulated the development of cultivation technologies as an alternative to this scenario (LOMBARDI et al., 2001; WASIELESKY et al., 2004; FÓES et al., 2011).

The production of marine shrimp in water recirculation systems, in accord with the quarantine protocol for pathogen and diseases control, seeks to mitigate both environmental and epizootic impacts, since no effluent is discharged into a body of water, thus complying with the standards of the International Organization of Epizootics - The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

The rapid growth of the live bait market has disrupted the supply of juvenile shrimp, causing overfishing and predatory fishing in estuaries. As an alternative means to meet this demand in Brazil, the Pacific white shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) has been adopted as the main live bait in recreational fishery, characterizing a direct introduction of an exotic species. Both situations are highly worrisome and may cause environmental damage.

The economic indicators used to assess the investment in water recirculation systems for the production of live bait has shown an Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of 11.74% for the trade price of US$ 0.50 (BARROS et al., 2014).

This system follows the trend of modern shrimp farming to increase production through increased stocking density (GODDARD, 1996). In addition, the recirculation of water prevents the introduction of pathogens into the system, mitigating environmental problems and contrasting with the methods of other users of the coastal area by not discharging effluents into water bodies (DAVIS; ARNOLD, 1998).

The growth analysis of penaeids is a tool for the assessment of fishery stocks (ARREGUÍN-SANCHÉZ, 1981; KNEIB; HUGGLER, 2001; PASQUIER; PÉREZ, 2007) and economic viability (ADAMS et al., 1980; WYBAN et al., 1988; TIAN et al., 1993). In aquaculture, studies have been based on the growth of zootechnical performance aimed at improving productivity (CAVALLI et al., 2008; SOUZA et al. 2009; MÁRQUEZ et al., 2012; ANAND et al., 2013).

This study sought to obtain growth parameters and analyze the weight-length relationship of white Litopenaeus schmitti and pink Farfantepenaeus paulensis shrimp cultivated in the water recirculation system for the live bait market for sporting fishing.


The study was carried out during the years 2012 and 2013 in the Mariculture Laboratory of the Fisheries Institute (LabMar - IP), located in the municipality of Santos, São Paulo State (23º59'23"S; 46º18'23"W). The total area of the Laboratory covers 130 m2 and contains twelve fiberglass tanks or production units (PU), with 1500 L of total capacity and area per unit of 1.32 m2. There are also six other fiberglass tanks of a total of 2400 L capacity that act as a biological filter (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1 Layout of water recirculation system for the production of marine shrimp. Arrows indicate the water flow direction. Black line – seawater collected and stored in decantation tanks (DT) and passage tanks (PT); Gray line – water filtered by biological filters (BF); Dashed line – waste water of production units (PU); and pump house – containing a 1 HP motor-pump and a heat exchanger for each subsystem, a 5 HP radial compressor (blower) for the entire system, a sterilization system of ultraviolet radiation and a sand filter. 

The water recirculation system was adjusted to a flow of 5 liters per minute, with a daily renewal rate of 2.5 times the system's total volume. The system was programmed to operate for a daily period of 10 h to save energy and to increase the efficiency of biological filters.

The physicochemical parameters of the recirculation culture system were measured weekly and the data analyzed by ANOVA and the Tukey test (P<0.05) to verify possible differences between the PUs and the experimental cycles.

Two production cycles (harvests) were carried out for each species with 3,300 juveniles each of Litopenaeus schmitti and Farfantepenaeus paulensis in each cycle and 275 individuals per PU, with average initial length and weight of 25 mm and 0.9 g, respectively, with a population density of 208.3 shrimp per m2. The post-larvae used in the experiments were collected in the Cananéia estuary, in the coastal region of São Paulo State, Brazil.

The biometric measurements comprised the total length of the shrimp from the distal part of the rostrum to the distal part of the telson measured with a digital stainless steel caliper (precision of 0.01 mm) and their weight measured on an analytical balance (precision of 0.001 g).

The diet consisted of commercial feed for penaeids with 35% crude protein (CP), corresponding to 3% of the daily biomass for each PU. The quantity of food was adjusted in accordance with the weekly biometrics and offered twice daily, 40% at 9:00 a.m. and 60% at 6:00 p.m. The calculations of feeding strategies and food conversion were adapted from OSTRENSKY and BARBIERI (2002).

In each production cycle, the weight gain was evaluated weekly by sampling 25 individuals per tank (PU). At the end of the experiment we obtained: final average weight (g), productivity (g m-2), growth (g week-1), survival (relative) and feed conversion factor (FCF).

The relationship between total length (Lt) and total weight (Wt) was described according to the power function Wt=aLtb, where "a" and "b" are the regression parameters. The angular coefficient "b" was tested for isometry using the t test based on function t = (b-3)/Standard Error (ZAR, 2010). If "b" does not present a significant difference from 3, the growth is isometric, and if it is higher or lower, it is positive or negative allometric.

Growth parameters were obtained for both species using the von Bertalanffy equation - based on data of length (mm) and age (weeks): Li= L∞ [1-e-k (t-t 0)], where: Li = length of an individual at age i; L∞ = asymptotic length; k = growth coefficient; t0 = age (in weeks) of the individual when Li = 0.

To evaluate the growth difference between species, the equation parameters were compared by the maximum likelihood ratio (KIMURA, 1980). The relationships and equations were adjusted according to the non-linear least-square method using the "nls" function of the "stats" package, and the determination coefficients (R2) using the function "Rsq" of the "qpcR" package, both in the R environment (R CORE TEAM, 2013).


The average temperature was kept at 24.5±0.5ºC, controlled by thermostats, throughout the experiments. The salinity was 32.5±0.5 g L-1 and the parameters of pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate did not differ significantly between the PUs or the experiments (P<0.05), being within the acceptable range for these species (WASIELESKY et al., 1994; BRITO et al., 2000; BARBIERI, 2010).

The shrimp were harvested after 120 days. The cultivation parameters are shown in Table 1. The length-weight relationships, the values of determination coefficients (R2), and the corresponding equations for L. schmitti and F. paulensis are given in Figure 2.

Table 1 Mean (± standard deviation) of production parameters of L. schmitti and F. paulensis cultivated for 120 days in water recirculation system. 

Variables L. schmitti F. paulensis
Final weight (g) 3.99 ± 0.69a 4.05 ± 0.41a
Yield (g m-2cycle) 830.98 ± 49.86a 844.03 ± 32.89a
Growth (g week-1) 0.22 ± 0.08a 0.21 ± 0.14a
Survival (%) 82.26 ± 8.19a 80.89 ± 10.08a
FCF 2.58 ± 0.63a 2.62 ± 0.37a

Fig. 2 Length-weight relationship of F. paulensis and L. schmitti cultivated in water recirculation system. 

The relationships and coefficients were well adjusted to the model, with a determination coefficient of 0.982 for L. schmitti and 0.943 for F. paulensis. The angular coefficient (b) indicated negative allometric growth (p=4,314x10-18) for L. schmitti and isometric growth (p=0.267) for F. paulensis.

Different letters (a, b) on different rows show significant differences in the Tukey test (P<0.05). Different letters on the same row indicate significant differences.

The von Bertalanffy growth model fitted to data on length in weeks with determination coefficients of 0.900 for L. schmitti and 0.841 for F. paulensis (Table 2). Fig. 3 shows the resulting curve model, adjusted to the data for total length as a time function (weeks) for both species.

Table 2 Parameters of von Bertalanffy growth equation for L. schmitti and F. paulensis based on total length. 

Species L(mm) k t0 R2
L. schmitti 172.66 0.027 -8.158 0.900
F. paulensis 110.13 0.050 -8.818 0.841

Fig. 3 Growth curves adjusted to the von Bertalanffy model for L. schmitti and F. paulensis cultivated in water recirculation system based on total length. 


SOARES et al. (2005) and FRÓES et al. (2007) show that the commercial cultivation of F. paulensis depends on the development of production technologies of post larvae; there are also studies on nutritional features at different life stages. The same scenario applies to L. schmitti, though there is less information about its potential for farming in Brazil.

Estimates of growth curves (in length or weight) are the tools used in shrimp farming to compare the growth of the various species under the varying conditions of captivity or the natural environment (PEIXOTO et al., 2001). According to these latter authors, penaeid growth is influenced by both environmental and biological factors, as well as by the culture area and phase of the life cycle. For ALBERTONI et al. (2003), length-weight relationships are important to determine the conditions for a species' survival in different habitats, for providing the data for growth and production estimates, as well as for describing the structural characteristics of individuals in populations.

According to ARREGUÍN-SÁNCHEZ (1981), water temperature plays a key role in shrimp metabolism, changing its growth rate and affecting the speed of physiological processes. (2012) reared L. schmitti within a temperature range of 19.7-30.7ºC and observed weight gain and individual growth at temperatures below 24ºC. KRUMMENAUER et al. (2006) reared F. paulensis in southern Brazil and observed a decrease in growth in the colder months of the year. OSTRENSKY and PESTANA (2000) found a 50%reduction in growth rates at an average temperature of 18ºC in the same species and location. We, therefore, opted in the current study to maintain the temperature at 24.5ºC. The use of the recirculation system, in which all the abiotic parameters in production are controlled, enabled the authors to use the growth curves to assess the growth performance of L. schmitti and F. paulensis.

The feeding frequency of twice a day was considered ideal by OSTRENSKY and BARBIERI JR (2002). Although feeders were not used to reduce feed or natural food supplement loss, the frequency of consumption obtained - of between 2.58 and 2.62 - was lower than that reported by MÁRQUEZ et al. (2012) of 3.58 to 4.43, but similar to that of PRETO et al. (2009) and SOUZA et al. (2009), respectively, of 2.77 and 2.31 to 2.85, thus demonstrating the efficiency of the water recirculation system.

In the system proposed, at 120 days of cultivation with 208 individuals per m2, the average weekly weight gain was 0.22 g for L. schmitti and 0.21 for F. paulensis, lower than that of between 0.55 and 0.36 g, with average final weight of between 4.95 and 8.20 g obtained by MÁRQUEZ et al. (2012) for L. schimitti.OSTRENSKY and PESTANA (2000) obtained an average growth value of 0.73 g week-1 for F. paulensis and 0.61 g week-1 for L. schmitti with a density of 10 individuals per m2. FRAGA ET AL. (2002) reared L. schmitti for 10 weeks at a density of 10 individuals per m2 and obtained a final average weight of between 7.43 and 10.45 g. SOUZA ET AL. (2009) reared F. subtilis with an initial average weight of 2.7 g for 12 weeks at a density of 16 individuals per m2 and obtained a weight gain of 0.45 g week-1. It is possible to observe the effect of the higher density on the lower average final weight of 3.99 g and 4.05 g for L. schmitti and F. paulensis, respectively.

The average yield of 830.98 g m-2 for L. schmitti and 844.03 g m-2 for F. paulensis was higher than that obtained by FERNANDEZ et al. (1994) of 147-201 m-2 with a population density of between 18-50 individuals per m2, similar to the 46-234 g m-2 obtained by MÁRQUEZ et al. (2012) who studied densities of between 8-50 individuals per m2. The high density did not affect the final average survival rate that ranged from 80.89 to 82.26% for F. paulensis and L. schmitti, respectively; higher than the 47% obtained by OSTRENSKY and PESTANA (2000) for F. paulensis and 75% by FERNANDEZ et al. (1994) for L. schmitti, but similar to the best rates obtained by MÁRQUEZ et al. (2012) with 70-92% for L. schmitti and SOUZA et al. (2009) with 61-91% for F . subtilis. In this present study, although the final average weight obtained is low, the high population density and survival rate promoted a better yield.

SOUZA ET AL. (2009) and MÁRQUEZ et al. (2012) also used a commercial feed for L. vannamei, the only one available for peneids on the Brazilian market. For SOUZA et al. (2009), the feeding rate (% of biomass) used ranged from 8-2% and for MARQUEZ et al. (2012), from 50-3%. In this study, the rate was 3%. This high variation in feed rate is reflected directly in the final weight of the farmed animals; however, given that the objective of this study was the analysis of shrimp growth for use as live bait, the weight gain of individuals was not taken into account, only the size achieved by individuals, similar to that used for sporting fishing.

PEIXOTO et al. (2003) reared juveniles of F. paulensis in southern Brazil at temperatures of between 19 and 30ºC and considered using the length-weight relationship and the b coefficient of 2.54, indicating negative allometric growth, lower than that obtained in the current study for the same species, where b was 2.95, characterizing isometric growth. This difference in growth may be a reflection of temperature oscillation during cultivation.

For other species of the genus, different growth patterns were observed, being positive allometric for F. duorarum, F. subtilis, F. aztecus, F. notialis and females of F. brasiliensis, and negative allometric for males of F. brasiliensis (PÉREZ-CASTAÑEDA; DEFEO, 2002; LEITE Jr; PETRERE Jr, 2006; CORRÊA; MARTINELLI, 2009).

Shrimp of the Farfantepenaeus genus tend to gain more weight than from the Litopenaeus genus, indicating greater potential zootechnical yield under ideal conditions of culture. When shrimp are used as live bait, weight gain is secondary and length the main factor, showing that both species have potential for this market.

According to PAULY et al. (1984), the annual growth rate of penaeids can range from 0.25 to 2.5 mm/year-1, their longevity being of between 1.5 and 2.5 years. In this study, the estimated growth rate values were 1.29 for L. schmitti and 2.4 for F. paulensis, thus remaining within the range mentioned.

Using fisheries data, PASQUIER and PEREZ (2007) obtained estimates for k and L∞ for L. schmitti very similar to those obtained in this study, as well as to those obtained by ARREGUÍN-SANCHEZ (1993) and VILLEGAS and BARQUERO (2000) for other species of the same genus (Table 3). On the other hand, there are differences between the estimates of LOPEZ-MARTINEZ et al. (2005) for L. stylirostris and Chávez (1973) for L. vannamei.

Table 3 Comparison of growth parameters obtained in this study with those reported in the literature. 

Species k (year-1) L t0 References
L. schmitti 1.30* 173 -0.169* Present study
L. schmitti 1.81 173 -0.032 Pasquier & Perez, 2007
L. setiferus 1.11 191 -0.300 Arreguín-Sanchéz ,1993
L. stylirostris 2.04 244 -0.080 Lopez-Martinez et al., 2005
L. vannamei 5.16 188 -0.205 Chávez 1973
L. occidentalis 1.40 190 - Villegas & Barquero,2000
F. paulensis 2.4* 110 -0.183* Present study
F. brasiliensis 1.24 290 - Leite Jr &Petrere Jr,2006
F. paulensis 1.34 275 - Leite Jr &Petrere Jr,2006
F. subtilis 1.11 201 - Isaac et al.,1992
F. aztecus 4.02 169 - Parrack,1979
F. duorarum 3.40 192 0.680 Kutkuhn, 1966
F. notialis 1.55 131 - Nwosu, 2009

The estimates obtained in this study for F. paulensis were similar to those of MELLO (1973) and ARREGUÍN-SÁNCHEZ (1981), but differed from those for other species of the same genus. An annual growth rate higher than that obtained in this study is reflected in a lower L∞ (Table 3), although these species grow considerably in nature.

The L. schmitti and F. paulensis shrimp species may, in the mid and long term, replace the exotic species L. vannamei in Brazil, contributing to the sustainability of the activity, reducing the impact caused by the culture of an exotic species, thus generating direct and indirect jobs for this production chain.

Some authors consider the penaeid shrimp culture as offering comparatively better financial returns for many coastal fishing communities in southeastern and southern Brazil (CAVALLI et al., 2008; PRETO ET AL., 2009).

The reintroduction of the native shrimp species L. schmitti and F. paulensis into Brazilian shrimp farming is directly and intrinsically related to the undertaking of research and study that generate scientific knowledge and encourage the culture of these shrimp species. On the coast of São Paulo State, in southeastern Brazil, there are almost no areas for shrimp farming in large ponds due to the coast's geomorphology and the numerous real estate ventures located along it, which makes the water recirculation system a possible solution, from both the technical and economic points of view, for the shrimp production sector.

The use of L. schmitti and F. paulensis as live bait to attend the demands of the recreational fishery market opens up a business opportunity for small producers offering a product of high value, because shrimps are traded by unit at attractive prices.


The authors would like to thank the FAPESP (Proc: 2011/50632-8) for their financial support.


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Received: February 27, 2014; Revised: September 07, 2014; Accepted: September 09, 2014

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