Robins McIntosh
Executive Vice President
Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Ltd

Robins McIntosh has been involved in shrimp aquaculture for over 30 years, having lived and worked in Brazil, Hawaii, Myanmar, Philippines, Guatemala, Mexico, Belize, India, and Thailand. His projects have spanned the development of grow-out systems, shrimp feeds, and hatchery technologies. Robins was responsible for developing the first zero water exchange, intensive and revolutionary shrimp farm, i.e. Belize Aquaculture, Ltd in Belize. Prior to Belize he worked as a technical consultant to both Zeigler Brothers in the development of advanced P. vannamei diets and with several large farms in Guatemala, Mexico and Honduras. His initial work in shrimp aquaculture was with the freshwater prawn Macrobrachium, being employed as a researcher with Weyerhaeuser in Florida and Brazil. Shrimp was interrupted for four years as he took on responsibilities of developing and managing the algae to fuel program for the U.S. DOE (Solar Energy Research Institute). Shrimp and Macrobrachium projects in Myanmar brought him back to Asia, where he later was involved in the development and management of Thai Hawaiian Hatcheries in Thailand. Robins is currently employed as Executive Vice President for technical development of shrimp culture within the Charoen Pokphand Group. He joined the Group in 2001 to assist with the restructuring of shrimp culture in Thailand and Southeast Asia. Under his direction, hatcheries were modernized, genetic programs were initiated, and farm management was made more systematic and biosecure. Robins continues to work on increasing the efficiency of shrimp culture and finding solutions to eradicate EMS/APHND and EHP diseases in shrimp.

Session 1 State Of The Industry, Challenges And Growth in Asia
Presentation Lifting the Dark Clouds that Cover Asian Shrimp Farming


Asian shrimp culture (in general) has lost its momentum and its confidence in success.  The arrival of AHPND and then EHP has resulted in continued lower survivals, slower growth and pond failures. Many technologies are touted to solve this problem of a failing culture: the problem with the consequences of adding costs but providing fewer benefits.  A well-respected pioneer farmer businessman in Ecuador has a belief that when the culture systems go wrong, the farmer must “Go back to the Basics”  This is very correct, but what exactly are the basics – have we forgotten the basics.

Some basics that we must remember are simple things like sufficient oxygen in the water, or correct feeding rates.  However, there are more complexities to basics such as carrying capacity of the pond, of a farm system and of an entire geographical area of linked water shed.  In addition, how to define a carrying capacity?  Obviously, survival, growth, and tolerance to disease are negatively impacted if “carrying capacity is exceeded”.  What is the actual cause of a system exceeding carrying capacity.   It is in very general terms a loss of water quality – increases in organic loads, increases in nutrient loads such as nitrogen and phosphorous.

Over time water will undergo a self-cleaning but when inputs exceed the ability of the water to self-clean, then water quality is lost.  In addition, with poor water quality comes the increased probability of disease and pond losses.

Technology has made it easier and easier to exceed this carrying capacity. Faster growing shrimp require extra feeds and smaller and more capital-intensive systems require higher stocking. The results have been the exceeding of carrying capacity.  More aeration helps, probiotics may help, more Ai may help, faster and faster growing strains of shrimp may be seen to benefit, and feeds with extra additives may help. But in the end, they all add costs and do nothing to remedy the basic law of “the carrying capacity of a system” cannot be exceeded without penalties.