Gulf American Shrimp
Wood’s Fisheries’ Shrimp Farm
Mark Godwin and Family
On November 8, 2007, I interviewed Mark Godwin, vice president of Wood’s Fisheries, a family-owned, shrimp processor in the Florida panhandle that has been in the commercial fishing business since 1860.
Wood’s also operates Gulf American Shrimp, a small shrimp farm at an inland location not far from its processing plant.
Shrimp News: What is Wood’s Fisheries’ basic business?
Mark Godwin: Nearly six generations ago, we started out as commercial fishermen, and in the early 1970s, we got into shrimp processing. In the last five or six years, we have invested a lot in automated equipment, freezers, refrigeration systems, office space, loading docks, staff—and developed our “SeaKist” brand. As a result, we experienced an explosion in shrimp sales. Most of our shrimp is wild caught, but some of it is farm raised overseas, some of it is farmed right here in the USA, and some of it is raised on our farm, Gulf American Shrimp. We put the country of origin on all our products, along with information on whether it is farmed or fished.
Shrimp News: When did you get into shrimp farming?
Mark Godwin: After the big expansion of our processing plant, which included an IQF freezer and an automated packaging system that weighs and bags shrimp of almost any size, the processing plant started doing really well. We were ready for a new project, and I was in charge of new projects. We had been buying farm-raised shrimp from farms in Texas. We would buy a whole pond at a time and truck it back to our processing plant in Florida. Compared to wild-caught shrimp, we couldn’t believe how easy it was to process the farmed shrimp, mostly because it was all the same size. If you have shrimp that’s uniform in size, you can run it through a processing plant much faster than when it’s made up of a wide range of sizes. We would buy a whole pond, and 85 percent of it would fall into two sizes, with the remaining 15 percent falling into another three sizes. That’s much easier than dealing with ten or more sizes. You can process and freeze farmed shrimp much faster than wild-caught shrimp. Therefore, our processing costs were much lower with the farmed product. We labeled it “Farm-Raised Domestic Shrimp”. Some buyers had a preference for it, while others wanted wild-caught shrimp, but it was a good product for us, and we were ready for a new project. At the time, domestic shrimp farms were making good money.
Shrimp News: What year was that?
Mark Godwin: About five years ago...2002. I flew out to Texas and looked at a few farms. I did a lot of in-house research, talked to a lot of people on the phone and made trips to research facilities. I went to the Waddell Mariculture Center in South Carolina, spent a week up there, and discovered that shrimp farming was not rocket science, but that it did require a lot of hard work, something that we were familiar with. So about four years ago, we acquired a piece of property for a shrimp farming project.
Shrimp News: How much property?
Mark Godwin: We bought 300 acres, an old catfish farm that went out of business about 12 years ago. We incorporated it under a separate entity, Gulf American Shrimp, LLC. Originally, we were going to convert 50 acres of the old catfish ponds into shrimp ponds. We reshaped the ponds, built canals and dug a deep well (1,200 feet deep with a 12-inch bore). We found the salinity we wanted, about five parts per thousand. The Florida Department of Agriculture said we had the best water in the state for a shrimp farm. We sent water samples to Texas A&M and Auburn University, and both said, “Use the water as it is. You don’t need any potassium; everything is fine. Just use it and see how it works.”
Shrimp News: Where’s the farm located?
Mark Godwin: Our processing plant is in Port St. Joe, Florida, and the farm is located inland, in a rural area 20 miles north of the plant. The largest city near us is Panama City, so we’re more or less between Panama City and Apalachicola, about two hours south-southwest of Tallahassee. In the meantime, as we were building out the first fifty acres of ponds, the price of shrimp was falling almost every day. Our original projections didn’t look so good, and the risks keep getting bigger and bigger, so we cut the fifty-acre project back to twenty-five acres, mostly because it was taking more time than we expected, and it was costing more than we expected to reconstruct the catfish ponds. We finished the first 25 acres, but the first year the price of shrimp was so low that we didn’t even bother stocking the ponds.
We used to buy shrimp during the summer when it was cheap, put it up in the freezer and then sell it in the early spring when the price was high. That’s how you made good money in the processing industry. With the steady drop in shrimp prices, however, that strategy flew out the window. It no longer worked. We kept saying that prices could not go any lower, but they just kept dropping and dropping and dropping. We got very timid about the shrimp farming project. It wasn’t like that originally; farms were doing very well when we started.
Nonetheless, in 2006, with shrimp prices near their all-time lows, we decided to stock one four-acre pond. We invested a ton of money in the farm and wanted to give it a test. Al Stokes at the Waddell Mariculture Center in South Carolina recommended that we stock at relatively low densities, saying we would make more money if we grew large shrimp at low densities, rather than small shrimp at high densities. He was right. Over a 165-day growout period, we produced 31 to 32-gram animals with a feed conversion ratio of 1.5:1. Their growth rate averaged out to a gram-and-a-half a week, with about 50% survivals. We produced about 3,850 pounds per acre.
This year, 2007, we stocked all 25 acres at the same densities as last year. I haven’t crunched all the numbers yet, but I know that we didn’t do as well as last year. Out of six four-acre ponds, I know that the survivals in five of them are going to be less than 50%, and our feed conversion ratios are going to be higher than 1.5:1.
Shrimp News: How many employees does it take to run the farm?
Mark Godwin: We run a low-cost operation. The farm only has two employees, myself and one other person.
Shrimp News: What kind of aeration do you use?
Mark Godwin: Paddlewheels from Taiwan, Pioneer brand, about four horsepower per acre.
Shrimp News: Where do you get your feeds?
Mark Godwin: We use Zeigler’s feeds.
Shrimp News: Are you going to stock again in 2008?
Mark Godwin: If we didn’t have our own processing plant, I don’t think we would continue with the farm. The plant gives us a lot of options that other farmers don’t have. Yes, we’re going to stock all of the ponds next year, but we’re not adding any additional ponds. I’m going to increase the stocking density and then, in mid-season, when the animals get to 26-30 count per pound, I plan to do a partial harvest and grow the remaining animals to 32 grams.
Shrimp News: How do you harvest?
Mark Godwin: We drain the water in the ponds into a harvest basin and then pump the shrimp out with an Aqua-Life harvester that we bought from a farm in Texas that went out of business.
Shrimp News: How do you market your product?
Mark Godwin: We package and market under our SeaKist brand. We sell some of it through brokers. We do ads on TV, especially in the Northeast. We go to the Boston Seafood Show; we run ads; and we’re very active in the Wild American Shrimp campaign. In fact, we helped them develop some of their standards at our processing plant.
The market appears to be moving in a favorable direction for us. A lot of people are afraid of imports, especially imports from China. People are beginning to ask questions about where their shrimp comes from. People like to buy domestic products and local products. Most consumers are not given enough information when they purchase shrimp. If we were to start putting the country of origin on restaurant menus—“Gulf of Mexico wild-caught shrimp”, or “farmed shrimp from the United States”—I think people would choose it over foreign shrimp, even if it costs a little more. If we could get that information to the guys and gals who put the shrimp in their mouths, we would sell a lot more domestic shrimp. Consumers would say, “I want domestic shrimp.” Once everyone understands the difference between foreign and domestic shrimp, it won’t be long until we see some improvements in shrimp prices.
Shrimp News: Where do you get your PLs?
Mark Godwin: Last year, I purchased my postlarvae (PLs) from Harlingen Shrimp Farms. This year, I purchased PLs from OceanBoy because its hatchery is right here in Florida. Well, the PLs arrived three weeks late. From the time I purchased them to the time they arrived, OceanBoy had laid off its hatchery manager, Michael Mogollon. He and I had some specific discussions about what I would get. I wanted PL-12s because they adapt to low salinities better than smaller, younger animals, but they couldn’t do that and said they would deliver well-developed PL-10s. I told them that I was not set up do to the extended acclimation that’s required for small PLs. About two-thirds of the animals they sent me were a lot smaller than PL-10s. A third of them were PL-6s and PL-7s, another third were PL-8s and PL-9s, and the last third were PL-10s. A few were bigger than PL-10s, but I don’t think I received numbers that I was supposed to get. It was late in the stocking season, so I took what was delivered.
Shrimp News: Did OceanBoy give you a reason for not being able to deliver larger animals?
Mark Godwin: I had everything in writing, a contract for what I expected right down to the number of animals per compartment on their delivery truck. I like to dot every “I” and cross every “T”. Michael Mogollon and I were very clear with one another on what was expected. When he left OceanBoy, however, the information did not get passed on to his successor. It was a real mess. In the end, I did not get the PLs that I had contracted for.
Shrimp News: Did you have to pay full price for the PLs?
Mark Godwin: Yes. When the truck arrived, I wrote the driver a check for the full balance. I knew the animals were small, but I had ponds to stock, so I acclimated them and then stocked them. We waited about thirty days before we began sampling the ponds with a bait net, and I knew right off that the survival rates were less than 50%, and in my worst pond, I estimated the survival rate at around 25%. That pond produced 32 to 33-gram animals, but final survivals were only 16%. We planned to produce around 100,000 to 125,000 pounds of shrimp, but wound up with a harvest of around 57,300 pounds.
I wanted to buy PLs from Shrimp Improvement Systems (SIS) this year, but it wasn’t selling because it was being purchased by an Indonesian company. I did hear, however, that in 2008 it was going to focus on domestic postlarvae sales, so we might buy from them in 2008. They can deliver a larger animal. A PL-15 would really be nice. That’s what I’m hoping for in 2008.
Information: Mark B. Godwin, Wood’s Fisheries, Inc., 464 Angel Fish Street, P.O. Box 927, Port St. Joe, Florida 32456 USA (phone 850-227-1517, fax 850-229-8414, email firstname.lastname@example.org, webpage http://www.woodsfisheries.com).
Source: Mark Goodwin, interview by Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International, on November 8, 2007.
Shrimp Prices Expected to Soar
A crackdown on imported shrimp is set to blow the cost of this traditional Christmas treat right out of the water. Shrimp importers predict that shrimp imports could be halved by Christmas because of tough new testing instituted by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service. Many Australians buy fresh local shrimp for Christmas, while restaurants and other seafood outlets use mostly imported shrimp. With smaller amounts of imported shrimp available, restaurant buyers will increase their demand for local shrimp and shrimp prices will probably soar. The Seafood Importers Association says Australia now imports about 29,000 tons of shrimp from Thailand, China, Vietnam, India and Malaysia. The Australian wild catch is about 22,000 tons and farmers produce about 3,500 tons. Seafood Importers Association president Harry Peters said the changes in import regulations would take about 40 percent of Australia’s shrimp supplies off the market. “Will prices rise? Absolutely,” he said. “It’s simple—supply and demand. You take out that amount and prices will soar.” The Seafood Importers Association is lobbying Federal Fisheries Minister Peter McGauran to have the restrictions dumped.
Peters spent a week in Thailand having crisis talks with shrimp farmers. He said he was unsure how quickly any changes could be made to meet the tough new Australian import standards. “As well as consumers being the losers, we are looking at 1.4 million jobs at risk, from importers, transporters, processors and distributors. We estimate the loss of earnings by businesses in the food service industry from these import restrictions to be in the order of half a billion dollars annually.”
Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service spokesman Carson Creagh said the new restrictions on imported shrimp were designed to manage the risk of disease introductions to the country’s wild and farmed shrimp. “It is not a public health issue. It has to do with the risk of someone potentially throwing shrimp into the water or using them for bait and transferring diseases to the local shrimp stocks,” said Creagh.
Source: News.com.au. Seafood shortage to force prawn prices to rise (http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,22776356-5013511,00.html). Brad Crouch. November 17, 2007.
On the night of November 15, 2007, shrimp farms in southwest Bangladesh were hit hard by Cyclone Sidr. “The shrimp industry could be the major victim of Sidr,” said Enayet Kabir, president of the Shrimp Hatchery Association of Bangladesh.
Source: The Daily Star. Cyclone ravages 95pc crops in 11 districts (http://www.thedailystar.net/story.php?nid=11997). November 17, 2007.
Hundreds of shrimp farmers are now suffering all over southwest Bangladesh because 90 percent of the 5,000 shrimp ponds, commonly known as “ghers”, were damaged by the cyclone.
Sheikh Aftab, 47, a shrimp farmer, sat wailing near his former shrimp pond that was washed away during Sidr. “What am I going to do. I don’t know what to do,” he said, too proud to ask for help, but at his wits’ end about how to help himself.
Abdul Jalil, another shrimp farmer, said, “I could not sleep for the last three nights as I owe $439 to a bank, repayment of which is due next month. I am worried about how I will manage the money.” He said one of his sons was seriously injured and his house was destroyed. “Everything that could help me to survive has been taken away by the cyclone,” Jalil grieved.
Dr. Nitaynanda Das, a fisheries officer in Bagherhat District, one of the hardest hit areas, said, “As the ponds are now filled with dirty, filthy water from the cyclone fallout, the few remaining shrimp are facing death due to a shortage of oxygen.” He suggested pouring lime into the ponds to help the remaining shrimps stay alive.
Kazi Belayet Hossain, president of Bangladesh Frozen Food Exporters Association, said: “It is not possible to figure out what the loss the shrimp sector incurs due to the devastating cyclone. However, we have collected data, and we think we will be able to ascertain the losses in two or three days.”
Source: The Daily Star. Shrimp washout threatens farmers with ruin (http://www.thedailystar.net/story.php?nid=12178). Jasim Uddin Khan. November 19, 2007.
The European Union, a major buyer of shrimp from Bangladesh, is likely to help farmers recover some of the losses caused by the devastating cyclone that washed away hundreds of shrimp farms.
Bangladesh Frozen Food Exporters Association (BFFEA) President Kazi Belayet Hossain has estimated the loss to the shrimp farming industry at $44 to $58 million.
Three officials from the European Commission (EC) have been deployed to assess the damages caused by the cyclone.
Thus far, the Bangladesh Ministry of Fisheries has not been able to assess the damage to the shrimp farming industry.
Source: The Daily Star. EU keen to help shrimp farmers recover cyclone loss (http://www.thedailystar.net/story.php?nid=12551). November 22, 2007.
The New York Times reports: “Rice fields are waterlogged. Shrimp ponds have rotted. Not enough water, too much water, dirty water. Water bedevils everyone.”
Cyclone Sidr cut a wide and debilitating swath through southwestern Bangladesh. The government estimates that four million people have been affected, and the full scope of its impact may not be felt for many weeks. By the Bangladeshi Army’s latest count, 3,167 people have died.
Sunita Mondol, 15, felt the cyclone’s wrath. She stood at the side of her family’s pond and found only two tiny shrimp clinging to her net. On a normal morning, she would haul in a full basket of shrimp and take it to market. The storm blew so many leaves and branches into her pond that the shrimp died and floated to the surface. Families like hers that make their living from selling fish and shrimp expect to feel the economic pinch of the cyclone for months. Every family in her village has a small pond, and family after family complained about the fouled waters.
Source: The New York Times. Spared Cyclone’s Worst, Area Still Suffers (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/22/world/asia/22bangladesh.html?_r=1&ref=world&oref=slogin). Somini Sengupta and Julfikar Ali Manik. November 22, 2007.
DHAKA (Thomson Financial)...Abul Bashar, executive director of Bangladesh Frozen Food Exporters’ Association, said about 10,000 shrimp farms have been destroyed, which will cause a sharp drop in shrimp exports to Europe and the USA. He said, “Shrimp farms and infrastructure worth more than $100 million have been washed away.”
Source: FXStreet.com. Bangladesh finance chief says cyclone impact “huge” (http://www.fxstreet.com/news/forex-news/article.aspx?StoryId=5404eb15-e175-4cba-8f4a-5720eea874b2). TF (tf.TFN-Europe_newsdesk@thomson.com). November 25, 2007.
Itamar Roche, Shrimp Farmers Discover Domestic Market
According to Itamar Rocha, president of Brazil’s shrimp farmers association, the domestic market is consuming more and more of the country’s farmed shrimp production. Over the last three years instead of exporting 70% of it, Brazilians now consume 65% of it.
Shrimp farmer association figures show that Brazil’s shrimp farmers experienced an extremely rapid six-year period of growth from 1997 to 2003, when production went from 3,654 to 90,000 metric tons and productivity increased from 1,030 to 6,084 kilograms per hectare per year, followed by a near-Biblical plague of problems in 2003 and 2004 that included disease, tariffs and low shrimp prices. For the last three years, 2005 to 2007, production has remained stable at around 65,000 tons.
The drop in production since 2004 can be seen as being partially related to the new market conditions brought on by the dumping tariffs levied by the USA against Brazilian shrimp. Starting in 2003, the ensuing high degree of uncertainty led many farmers to cut their stocking densities, leading to smaller harvests. Another reason for the drop in production was the appearance in 2003 and 2004 of infectious myonecrosis virus (IMNV), which is now found only on isolated farms in northeast Brazil. More recently, the devaluation of the USA dollar has made Brazilian shrimp less competitive in international markets.
The domestic market offers a better return than the international markets, said Rocha. “As far as our internal market goes, we are proud to say that all the work that the Brazilian shrimp farming sector invested in shrimp quality, especially at the farm level, is now starting to pay off. The work involved codes of conduct, bio-security programs, traceability, good management practices, quality assurance training at the farm and processing plant levels, and three manuals and four codes of conduct written and published by the shrimp farmers association.” The codes were originally directed at external markets, but after foreign buyers abandoned Brazilian shrimp, farmers decided to keep the same high standards for the domestic market. “Our farmers are now able to offer Brazilian buyers a product of the highest quality, a fact that consumers are increasingly recognizing,” said Rocha.
Source: Fish Farming International (http://www.fishfarminginternational.com). Editor, Kenny McCaffrey (email@example.com). Brazilians start buying their own. Volume 34, Number 11, Page 18, November 2007.
Moving Juveniles from Nursery to Growout
Herry Samudra (firstname.lastname@example.org): How does one safely transfer juvenile Penaeus vannamei from nursery ponds to growout ponds? The distance at our location is about 400 meters. We have a problem with low survivals during transfer, and the animals that do survive don’t get back on feed for over a week.
Francisco Pons Zevallos (email@example.com): I have done it over a distance of 200 meters, manually, by foot, with a total biomass of no more than 80 kilos of 0.2-gram animals. How much biomass are you transferring and how big are your animals?
Fernando Huerta (firstname.lastname@example.org): I transfer two-gram animals through a 1,200-meter, eight-inch pipe with excellent results. A few hours after the transfer, the animals are back on their feed. In one night you can transfer 6,000 kilos with just four people. You have to make sure that the pipe has a consistent slope and a constant flow of water.
Herry Samudra (email@example.com): Would you gentlemen describe your protocols before and during the transfer?
Francisco Pons Zevallos (firstname.lastname@example.org): The pipe system used by Fernando Huerta is the best system for juvenile transfer. I have seen it and wish I had the resources to do it.
Here is how I do it. Our juveniles are produced in 100-ton raceways, and it is easy to collect them with nets without stressing them. Nets should be a long and “U” shaped to give the juveniles room to swim. First we drain 40% of the water from the raceway, and then we start collecting the juveniles with the nets. We collect roughly four kilos of shrimp per pass, using two nets. We lift them out of the water for 20-30 seconds to let water run off and then weigh them. A sample of about 50 shrimp is taken aside by another person who weighs and counts them and then returns them to the raceway. This way we know how many shrimp we have per gram and can calculate the total weight transferred. Next we fill two, 25-liter buckets with 12 liters of new water, or use water directly from the raceways. We add one tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide to each bucket. The water in the bucket should contain around 20 mg/L oxygen. Then we quickly put approximately two kilos of shrimp in each bucket.
We cover the buckets with a lid, and then two men with one bucket each jog them to the pond, which takes about two minutes. The dissolved oxygen in the buckets is checked again at the ponds. It should be around 10 mg/L. The lid is removed, and the bucket is placed in the pond. Then we tip the bucket and spread the juveniles around with our hands, all the while observing their condition. We try to have no more than two degrees Celsius difference in water temperature between raceway and pond. As you can see, it’s a very simple and cheap procedure. We haven’t had any big problems with this method.
Ramon Macaraig (email@example.com): What’s the largest size shrimp that can be transferred using your method? I want to transfer two to three-gram juvenile Penaeus vannamei.
Francisco Pons Zevallos (firstname.lastname@example.org): I have only transferred animals that weighed less than a gram with the bucket technique. I don’t think it would work with larger animals.
Herry Samudra (email@example.com): What are the dimensions of your “U” shaped nets? Are they shaped like condoms?
Francisco Pons Zevallos (firstname.lastname@example.org): Yes, exactly, the “U” shaped nets are shaped like condoms. I use 3/4” PVC pipe as a frame for the net, which is made with 600-micron mesh. It is around 90cm long. When we collect the shrimp, we use two nets, side-by-side, so they cover a wider area and make it harder for the juveniles to escape. You have to drag the net fast enough so that the juveniles don’t escape, but not so fast that the juveniles are pressed against the end of the net.
Source: The Shrimp List (a mailing list for shrimp farmers, “email@example.com”). Subject: [shrimp] Safe transfer from nursery to growout pond. November 14 to 21, 2007.
CP Thailand to Purchase CP Prima’s Feed Mill
Before the end of 2007, Charoen Pokphand (Thailand) said it would acquire Central Proteinaprima’s (CP Prima, Indonesia) feed mill in Semarang, Central Java, for $12.2 million.
Charoen Vice President Thomas Effendy said the company will use part of a $125 million loan it recently received from Citibank to finance the acquisition. Effendy said CP Prima is selling the mill because it wants to focus on its shrimp farming business, and Charoen Pokphand is buying the mill because it wants to expand its core business in the animal feed industry.
In 2008, Charoen Pokphand plans to build two new feed mills in Indonesia, one on the island of Sumatra and one on the island of Sulawesi.
Source: Seafood.com (an online, subscription-based, fisheries news service). Indonesia’s Charoen to acquire Prima’s feedmill for $12.2 million. Ken Coons (phone 781-861-1441, email firstname.lastname@example.org). Editor and Publisher, John Sackton (phone 781-861-1441, email email@example.com). November 19, 2007.
CP Prima Inks Deal with Shrimp Farmers
On November 23, 2007, PT Central Proteinaprima (CP Prima, shrimp hatcheries, feeds and probiotics), which manages PT Dipasena Citra Darmaja, one of the largest shrimp farms in the world, signed a key agreement with shrimp farmers in southeast Sumatra. The farmers will work on some 20,000 hectares of land with some 3,220 shrimp ponds, grouped under PT Wachyuni Mandira (WM) in an arrangement called a “core-plasma” scheme. This means WM acts as a nucleus for making loans, training and supervising the farmers who, in turn, buy their feed and postlarvae from the company and then sell their harvests to the company. The agreement establishes standard operating procedures for profitable, sustainable shrimp farming.
According to Rizal Shahab, CP Prima’s corporate communication director, CP Prima is also in the process of securing the license to develop another 30,000 hectares of land. Company-wide, CP Prima now has 50,000 hectares of shrimp land and provides over 38,000 jobs, including 12,500 full-time workers.
Source: The Jakarta Post. CP Prima inks deal with local shrimp farmers (http://www.thejakartapost.com/detailbusiness.asp?fileid=20071126.L01&irec=0). November 26, 2007.
Mitsui Buys into Chinese Shrimp Farm
TOKYO...Mitsui & Co., Ltd., one of the largest corporate conglomerates in Japan and one of the largest publicly traded companies in the world, has purchased a 37% interest in Allied Pacific, a Chinese shrimp company, for $23 million. Allied Pacific owns shrimp farms and feed mills on Hainan Island; a shrimp farm and a processing plant in Zhanjiang, Guangdong Province; and a processing plant in Dalian, Liaoning Province. It exports approximately 13,000 tons of shrimp a year—and will use the proceeds to upgrade its shrimp farming facilities.
Source: Trading Markets.com. Stock News/Japan’s Mitsui buys stake in Chinese shrimp firm Allied Pacific (http://www.tradingmarkets.com/.site/news/Stock%20News/852940/). MMMM (firstname.lastname@example.org). November 25, 2007.
First Organic Shrimp Farm
Prayoon Hongrath, Thailand’s first organic shrimp farmer, believes his farm will be profitable despite the fact that he cut stocking densities in half to meet organic standards. Hongrath started Sureerath Prawns more than 20 years ago with three ponds on eight hectares. He now has five farms with 143 ponds spread over 224 hectares, plus four reservoir ponds, a hatchery and nursery. It took him three years to get Germany-based Naturland to certify his farms as organic.
“We have changed from a semi-intensive system using a stocking density of 25 shrimp a square meter to an organic system where the stocking density is 12 to 15 a square meter,” said Hongrath, who farms giant tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon).
The farm, which is being used as a model by the government to encourage other farmers, also follows the Code of Conduct (CoC) set for shrimp farmers by the Thai Department of Fisheries (DoF). University students are welcomed at the farm, and a dormitory and classroom facilities have been built to house up to ten visitors at a time. “We want to pass on our expert knowledge to the next generation and ensure that shrimp farming in Thailand can continue to expand using the latest methods,” says his son Kritsada, now managing director of the farms.
Dr. Waraporn Prompoj, with Thailand’s DoF, says the government is impressed. “Hongrath exceeds all the requirements of the CoC and operates a very environmentally friendly farm. There is extensive planting of new mangrove areas; wastewater is treated naturally by filtering it though planted vegetation before recycling it though the ponds; and no waste materials are discharged to the surrounding environment.” The farm has its own water quality laboratory where samples are tested daily, and every pond is sampled twice a week.
Three times a year, wild broodstock from the Andaman Sea are placed in one of 42 tanks in the hatchery, where the water temperature is kept at a constant 32°C and the air temperature at 40 to 45°C. The water is filtered and treated with ultraviolet light to maintain purity. The broodstock feed on fresh crab, squid and shellfish. They spawn naturally without eyestalk ablation. Larvae feed on a diet of Chaetoceros and Spirulina algae at the zoea stage, with enriched Artemia added at the mysis stage. DoF supplies the starter cultures.
Within 25 days of hatching, Kritsada transfers the larvae to ponds, where they forage on seaweed (Enteromorpha spp) for the first two months of growout. He also harvests and dries some of the seaweed for his personal consumption.
Kritsada pumps water from a nearby brackish river into the company’s reservoirs and then recycles it throughout the farms, so most of the farms’ water comes from recycling. Around 17% of the farms are natural wilderness areas, where plants, mangroves and trees act as filters for the wastewater. Solid wastes are composted and used as fertilizer for vegetation.
The shrimp feed on the seaweed and the natural biota in the ponds for the first two months and then their diet is supplemented with organic feeds twice daily. The feeding regime is constantly adjusted, using sampling trays and plankton monitoring. Kritsada says, “This stops food from building up on the bottom of the ponds. A feed conversion ratio of between 1:2 to 1:7 is generally achieved and shrimp are ready for harvest after 120 to 150 days.”
Sureerath Prawns aims to produce shrimp of uniform size (21/25 and 26/30 count per kilo), which reduces grading. Hongrath expects to produce 200 tons in 2007 and 250 tons in 2008. “We anticipate harvesting at a rate of 20 tons a month and will build up the business from there,” he says. To prepare the harvested ponds for the next crop, he lets them dry out in the sun, before refilling and seeding with seaweed.
Kulchaya Temchavala, Hongrath’s daughter-in-law and marketing manager, says there is strong interest in organic shrimp in the European Union, particularly Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and in Singapore and Thailand.
Source: Fish Farming International (http://www.fishfarminginternational.com). Editor, Kenny McCaffrey (email@example.com). First Thai farmer gets organic status. Nicki Holmyard. Volume 34, Number 11, Page 14, November 2007.
Maryland—A Blogger Reports
A friend and I had dinner at Woodberry Kitchen last night. We started off with cocktails and then ordered the Sizzling Shrimp appetizer. The shrimp from a sustainable, no-waste shrimp farm in Cambridge, Maryland, were fantastic. I don’t ever recall eating shrimp that tasted like this before. They were sweet and tender, not your average shrimp. I usually don’t order shrimp in restaurants, but this shrimp was really remarkable and something altogether different.
Responses to the Above Blog
“Fresh is sweeter and more tender.”
“Yes, but these were even better than the fresh shrimp I’ve had before. Something about that no-waste sustainable shrimp farm thing.”
“I had them there, too. Extremely tasty and probably the outstanding dish of our meal.”
“Does anyone know where to get these shrimp...for home preparation?”
“This looks like the place—http://www.marvesta.com.”
“As of April 18, 2007, [Marvesta has] stopped...taking on new restaurant clients or accepting mail orders at their website. The guys tell us that more shrimp should be available in November/December in time for holiday cooking.”
On November 15, 2007, the Pahrump Regional Planning Commission approved a conditional use permit for Ganix Bio-technologies, LLC, a shrimp farm that will be housed in two 50,000 square-foot buildings with 72 indoor shrimp ponds, on 9.5 acres, at 5280 and 5340 South Oakridge Avenue in Pahrump, Nevada. Ganix plans to produce 750,000 pounds of shrimp a year.
Beau Dempsey, director of operations for Ganix Bio-Technologies, said, “I like the rural setting and its close proximity to Vegas. Vegas is our market, our whole market, a six-mile stretch.”
The shrimp farm will grow Penaeus vannamei, a variety of white shrimp common to the Pacific Coast of Ecuador. Chefs won’t have to devein the shrimp because the company will stop feeding them a day or two before harvest, Dempsey said, adding that the company won’t be required to have an exotic animal importation permit from the Nevada Division of Wildlife because the shrimp won’t be able to escape. The stock will be certified pathogen free.
The company’s 72 tanks will measure 12 feet by 32 feet by 6 feet deep, enough to hold 18,000 gallons of water. Ganix Bio-Technologies will produce 16 to 20 count shrimp in 120 days. Each tank will produce three crops a year.
Ganix Bio-Technologies currently has a pilot shrimp farm for research and development on Main Street in Newburg, North Dakota. “It’s the farthest you can get from any coastal water source,” Dempsey said. It’s also an extreme climate for testing shrimp production, with temperatures well below zero in winter and searing heat in summer. The North Dakota facility shows that a shrimp farm can exist in a town without worries over odor.
Company officials estimate they’ll finish construction in nine months.
Ganix Bio-Technologies will employ 15 to 20 employees per building, with entry level positions starting at $12.50 per hour, investor Randy Black said. There will be a shrimp packaging area as well. It will be a 24/7 operation.
Nye County Planning Director Jack Lohman said, “It’s...a residential zone. Even though it’s allowed, these are massive buildings.”
Regional Planning Commission Chairman Mark Kimball said the intent was to move the buildings toward the center of the property and add buffering landscaping. An earth tone exterior of the buildings was requested, he said. There won’t be any deveining or peeling of shrimp at the facility. The shrimp will be frozen whole and delivered to the customer.
Source: Pahrump Valley Times. Pahrump shrimp farm OK’d (http://www.pahrumpvalleytimes.com/2007/Nov-16-Fri-2007/news/17952289.html). Mark Waite. November 16, 2007.
Texas—Job, Mariculture Research Laboratory
Job Title: Assistant Research Scientist
Employer: Mariculture Research Laboratory, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, Texas A&M University System, Port Aransas, Texas.
• Design and monitor experiments conducted by technicians on shrimp and sea urchin culture
• Conduct extension-type activities, like facility tours and public presentations
• Review and edit papers written by project staff
• Review papers submitted for publication in technical journals
• Assist with statistical analysis of data
• Design facilities and evaluate the construction of facilities under construction
• Train and supervise research support staff
• Analyze results of experiments
• Interpret data, summarize results and prepare reports
• Present results of research for peer review publications
• Review written papers, oral presentations and poster papers
• Participate in writing grant proposals
• Maintain safety training records
• Supervise maintenance
• Backup computer research data
Qualifications: M.S. in aquaculture or relevant agriculture field required. Ph.D. in aquaculture or relevant agriculture field preferred.
Salary: $3,350/month. In addition to the base salary, the position is eligible for a generous benefits package and participation in a retirement program.
Applications: Send three letters of recommendation and curriculum vitae to: Dr. Addison Lee Lawrence, Professor, Regent Fellow, Senior Faculty Fellow, Mariculture Project, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, Texas A&M University System, 1300 Port Street, Port Aransas, Texas 78373 USA.
Source: Aquafeed.com (The free E-zine for aquafeed professionals, http://www.aquafeed.com). Assistant Research Scientist (http://www.aquafeed.com/jobboard/jobs/job-detail.php?jobID=116). Editor, Suzi Fraser Dominy (email firstname.lastname@example.org). Date posted, November 12, 2007.
Washington, DC—NOAA and USDA, Alternative Aqua Feeds
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), an agency of the USA Department of Commerce, and the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), part of the USA Department of Agriculture, are soliciting information and accepting comments on ways to lessen the dependence on fishmeal-based feeds in the aquaculture industry. This comment period is the first step in a broad, yearlong program that will include research projects, scientific consultations and a national workshop aimed at developing new and effective ingredients for aquatic feeds.
“Forty percent of the seafood consumed in the United States comes from farmed sources, so we have a keen interest in making sure that aquaculture production is efficient and environmentally responsible,” said Bill Hogarth, director of NOAA Fisheries Service. “Our program will identify research needs on alternative feeds for aquaculture to guide federal funding priorities.”
Currently, fish and shrimp feeds are made in part from ground-up herring, menhaden, anchovy and sardines, so-called industrial fish. These small, bony species provide farmed seafood with important proteins, fatty acids and essential vitamins and minerals.
The issue of feed ingredients is a challenge facing the expanding global aquaculture industry because industrial fish are in short supply. The cost of fish meal has risen steeply as farming operations have increased. In 2002, 46 percent of fish meal went to aquaculture uses, while 22 percent went to poultry and 24 percent went to pigs. The amount of available fish meal and fish oil is not likely to increase, so aquatic feed producers must find other sources of protein to sustain the growth of aquaculture.
The feed industry is already turning to other feed ingredients such as algae and soybeans, thus reducing the use of fish meal and fish oil. Studies are helping scientists to better understand the nutritional requirements of fish to ensure new feeds effectively grow seafood that retains nutritional benefits for humans. NOAA Fisheries Service and USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service are interested in making better use of discarded fish parts from fish processing plants for feeds, in addition to using a variety of potential ingredients from agriculture, including plants.
Information: To submit a question, idea or recommendation on alternative feeds:
• Email NOAA at email@example.com.
• Or send a fax to 301-713-9108.
• Or send a letter to NOAA Aquaculture Program, Alternative Feeds Initiative, 1315 East-West Highway, Room 13117, Silver Spring, MD 20910 USA. The deadline for comments is February 29, 2008.
Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA and USDA Accepting Public Comment on Aquaculture Feeds (http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2007/20071116_aquaculture.html). November 16, 2007.
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