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AgriLife's Dr. Tzachi Samocha monitoring the shrimp farming raceway system. (Photo: Rod Santa Ana, AgriLife)

New shrimp farming system boosts production

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Wednesday, January 06, 2010, 16:40 (GMT + 9)

An AgriLife Research scientist has devised a new shrimp production eco-friendly system that does not release water to the environment. The system may increase shrimp production and food safety while cutting costs for producers and consumers.

Regents Fellow and Professor at the AgriLife Research Mariculture Laboratory in Texas Dr Tzachi Samocha said the new system yields about 10 times the shrimp of current US outdoor farm production.

“This biosecure and sustainable process can be used by producers in this country to supply high-quality, live and/or fresh, never-frozen marketable shrimp on a year-round basis,” he said.

The new "super-intensive raceway system" took five years to develop and could be the cure to a shrimp-farming industry under siege by cheaper imports, AgriLifeNews reports.

A Pacific white shrimp reared in the new shrimp-farming method. (Photo by Rod Santa Ana, AgriLife)

“This grow-out system could be built near large cities to cater to a niche market of consumers willing to pay premium prices for tasty, fresh, never-frozen shrimp,” Samocha commented. “Diners could actually pick the shrimp they’d like to eat out of a restaurant tank, much like they do lobsters.”

Using a commercially available feed, researchers found the exact formula for mixing and oxygenating the culture medium with careful feed-management and bio-floc control. This allows for the management of nutrients and particulate matter in the water, according to Samocha, which results in substantially improved production in a safer setting.

“For the first time ever, we were able to produce 9.75kg of shrimp per cbm of water using very little pure oxygen that resulted in very low levels of ammonia and nitrite in the water,” he said.

The shrimp are marketable-sized Pacific White Shrimp of about 23g each, meaning about 30 tails per lb. This production level, Samocha said, is unheard of in the industry and probably a world record.

Higher production means a lower cost per unit, and production costs may drop further as commercial farms expand, Samocha observed.

“When considering fixed and variable costs, our total cost to produce shrimp was about USD 5.52 per kilo (about USD 2.50 per lb),” he said. “That’s relatively low considering the quality of the shrimp being produced.”

By Natalia Real


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