(Left to right) Dr. Addison Lawrence and Dr. Maurice Kemp at the Texas AgriLife Laboratory. (Photo: AgriLife Research,Patty Waits Beasley)
New technology may revolutionize shrimp farming
Friday, September 30, 2011, 07:40 (GMT + 9)
A Texas AgriLife Research scientist has created new shrimp production technology that produces record-setting amounts of shrimp.
The patent-pending technology, known as super-intensive stacked raceways, yields jumbo-size shrimp weighing 1.1 oz each. These are known as U15 shrimp and give world-record production of up to 25 kg of shrimp per m3 of water using zero water exchange and/or recirculating water, explained creator Dr Addison Lawrence at the Texas AgriLife Research Mariculture Laboratory at Port Aransas.
A worldwide license for the technology has been given to Royal Caridea, headed by Dr Maurice Kemp, president, and sub-licenses are being considered for some countries including Ecuador, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Canada, China, Germany, Czech Republic and Russia.
Lawrence believes the indoor system will lower US dependence on foreign shrimp – the US imports about 90 per cent of the shrimp it consumes -- and could help address world hunger, AgriLife Today reports.
The shrimp are grown in four columns of piled raceways; raceways are long tubs with circulating water of a depth measuring just 5-7in. As shrimp develop, they are moved to a raceway below; baby shrimp are added to the top while the mature shrimp below are harvested.
“These tanks require stringent control and supervision, 24/7 monitoring with computers tracking the shrimp,” Lawrence said. “But properly run, these systems can produce up to 1 million lb of shrimp per ac of water, or 2 ac of land per year.”
In contrast, he specified, traditional shrimp farms in the US produce only up to 20,000 lb of shrimp per ac of water per year. Tropical countries with year-round growing seasons produce up to 60,000 lb of shrimp per year.
He wants to establish stacked raceway facilities near major metropolitan areas throughout the US, producing live, fresh, never-frozen or fresh-frozen shrimp to be made available every day of the year.
“They would surely bring premium prices at supermarkets and restaurants in New York, Chicago, Las Vegas and other large cities. But more importantly, these systems could provide the protein that a booming world population desperately needs,” he commented.
Kemp’s company will own and run the world’s first commercial application of Lawrence’s stacked raceways.
“We’ll construct a facility of about 70,000 sqft, hire 15-20 people, some of them with advanced degrees, and produce shrimp year-round. We expect to produce some 835,000 pounds of shrimp per year,” he said.
Economic data shows an estimated rate of return of 25-60 per cent.
“There are no disease problems; it’s biosecure. So, with predictable high internal rates of return, the system is economically viable. But the best part is, it’s totally organic with high-quality protein available every day of the year,” he concluded.
Texas AgriLife will show off Lawrence’s new technology at a shrimp production technology field day on 4 October.
By Natalia Real