U.S. Demand Is Driving Indoor Shrimp Production
Offshore shrimp farming is no longer a viable or sustainable option for harvesting the popular seafood, due to water pollution, global warming, increasing costs and decreasing yields. The future for producers is indoor shrimp farming. These enclosed, re-circulating systems, being closely monitored, are environmentally friendly and sustainable.
Unlike outdoor shrimp ponds, indoor production does not destroy mangrove forests, estuaries, and other sensitive coastal environs. These coastal areas in many Asian countries play a crucial role in the ecosystem providing food for other marine animals and organisms, while also serving as protection against tidal waves or tsunamis.
A more significant problem with imported shrimp, specifically from Asia and Latin America, is the excessive amount of antibiotics and harmful chemicals used in the cultivation process.
Specialized facilities for indoor shrimp production in the U.S. involve technologies that can mimic a natural, ocean habitat, which is crucial for shrimp crops without the dangerous chemical side effects.
These enclosed facilities can be closely monitored and controlled, which helps to reduce costs while also maximizing optimal grow-out performance and reliability.
With advancing technologies, indoor shrimp production is the solution for a rising demand while also addressing sensitive environmental concerns.
New tech for indoor shrimp production
Some indoor shrimp production facilities use a clear-water recirculating aquaculture system (RAS), Biofloc or hybrids of both. Clear-water RAS has adequate control features but can run up additional costs while Biofloc, which offers a supplemental food source, has to deal with bacterial growth issues.
The clear-water RAS method filters as many solid elements as possible in the water tanks through the use of bead filters, foam fractionators, screens and various other filters. The sterilization method employed is primarily UV and ozone. Meanwhile, Biofloc which allows for controlled solid accumulation that serves as a food source for shrimp generally employs a bio-filtration strategy.
The company experimented with the Biofloc system for years and ultimately abandoned it because the technology proved to have numerous issues with high-density production and commercial scalability.
Vibrio Suppression both excludes and controls harmful organisms such as bacteria that can completely destroy shrimp crops. NaturalShrimp’s technology allows the company to produce up to four times the amount of shrimp in the same space as older, outdated technologies.
This technology also sustainably enables higher densities, consistent production, better growth and survival rates, and superior food conversion without the use of pesticides, harmful chemicals or antibiotics. The timeline for a natural-grown, chemical free, commercial harvest is approximately 22-24 weeks.
Among the major commercial partners that have worked with NaturalShrimp to develop this game-changing technology are RGA Labs, Ability Engineering, and F&T Water Solutions.
U.S. shrimp demand
According to NPR, Americans import more than $5 billion worth of shrimp from across the globe including major producers in India, Thailand, Indonesia and Central America. However, the U.S. is still facing a shortage of a high-quality product.
This is why indoor shrimp farming is becoming more commonplace in many states including Georgia, Louisiana, Virginia, Maryland, Florida, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts. Some landowners have reclaimed available spaces and turned them into aquaculture facilities. One innovative company, Sherlock Shrimp, used an old school gym for its production facility while others are finding empty warehouses to be acceptable choices.
NaturalShrimp is currently raising capital to build a brand new, state-of-the-art facility on its 37-acre property in La Coste, TX, which is near San Antonio. This initial market is of adequate size to consume all of the shrimp this facility can produce.
However, the company ultimately plans to serve major metropolitan areas in the United States, beginning with the New York City and Las Vegas markets.
One of the most significant competitive advantages that the company has over ocean-caught shrimp is “location.” Modular systems allow NaturalShrimp to locate regional production facilities near centers of high consumer demand
The company can build near large consumer markets which are not bordering shrimp-producing waters (e.g. Las Vegas, Chicago). This allows the company to provide a gourmet-quality product that has never been frozen… which for these markets is something that current high-end ocean shrimp providers simply cannot match.
The company expects no problem selling its entire weekly fresh locally grown shrimp at a price well above the “quoted” frozen market price. For the size and higher quality NaturalShrimp produces, the company’s profitability is greatly enhanced while providing consumers with a healthy all-natural, fresh product.
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