Russ Allen runs a small, indoor shrimp farm in Michigan. Here are some excerpts from his presentation at the World Aquaculture Society Meeting in Orlando, Florida, USA, in February 2008:
Last fall, I was invited by two National Geographic magazine photographers to join them on a six-week, sailing expedition to South Georgia Island in Antarctica, an offer I couldn’t refuse. My presentation is about shrimp farming in the United States, but I’ve used pictures from the Antarctica expedition as the background for my slides. So if you get bored, check out the penguins.
I started Seafood Systems in 1994. This is my fourteenth year working on the development of indoor shrimp farming in the United States. A long time! We started out in a little garage-size building, just to take a look at the basics of indoor shrimp farming. We didn’t know what species to use, we didn’t know anything about stocking densities, we didn’t know how to make saltwater, we didn’t know how long the saltwater would last, we didn’t know what feeds to use—we didn’t know about any of that stuff. So we built a recirculating system in that small building and ran trials for four years. We answered many of the above questions and came to the conclusion that there was a possibility that shrimp could be farmed for a profit in indoor systems in the United States.
Could we build a system that would produce a return on investment? Instead of raising twenty million dollars for a full-scale commercial facility, we decided the next step should be to build a commercial pilot-scale facility to test our ideas and to make sure they could be scaled up. We built that facility in 1999–2000, and we have been running and modifying it ever since. Now, after fourteen years of development, we feel it’s time to move our technology into the commercial sector. We’re in the process of putting together a plan to raise money to do a full-scale commercial project.
The system that we’ve developed can produce shrimp as cheaply as any system in the world. We want to compete with China, Ecuador, Thailand—and anybody else in the world. We want to produce shrimp at commodity level production (over one million pounds a year). We have to produce over a million pounds a year to have the economies of scale to make a project work. Farms that produce under a million pounds a year, like many of the other indoor shrimp projects in the United States are niche marketers or hobby farms.
How do you succeed at shrimp farming in the United States? Before you even get started, you need to account for four things:
The first thing is food safety and quality. If you’re going to farm shrimp in the United States, you’re bound by the rules and regulations of the USA Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the USA Department of Agriculture and all the other agencies that govern aquaculture. You have to make sure that you meet all of their requirements. You can’t farm shrimp in the United States unless you produce a high-quality, safe product.
Number two is biosecurity. If you have an indoor, recirculating system, you’re pretty safe; you’re the only one that can contaminate it.
Number three, you must be environmentally correct. That can get tricky. What do you do with effluents? Do you have effluents? Where do you get your water? What do your zoning regulations say about aquaculture? We battle the local zoning people over right to farm issues all the time.
Number four, to survive at the commodity level, you must be competitive, that means competitive in capital, operating, processing and marketing costs. Just like those elephant seals in my first slide, you’ve got to be ready to go head-to-head with some pretty tough competition in Latin America and Asia.
In the over thirty years that I’ve been working in the shrimp farming industry, everyone talks about how many shrimp you produce per acre or hectare and what it costs to build a farm per acre or per hectare. The two numbers are never linked so you never know quite where you stand.
The figure that I like to use is how much does it cost you in capital cost to produce a pound of shrimp per year. Let’s say you’re going to build a million-pound-per-year shrimp production facility, you’re going to have to keep your capital costs to around five million dollars, or less, or you’re not going to make any money on it. Your total production costs to produce whole animals must be $1.40 or less, which equates to about $2.00 a pound for tails. Processing costs are a big expense in the USA. You must keep your processing costs to less that $0.50 a pound if you expect to make any money. At the commodity level, your marketing costs should be less than ten cents a pound. That gives you a point of sale of about $2.60 a pound. If you look at today’s market prices, you’re going to be selling that product for anywhere between $3 and $4 a pound, depending on the size of the shrimp.
How do you make it work? Year-round production is the key. Your hatchery, farm, processing plant and marketing operations must be in high gear twelve months of the year. The biggest problem with shrimp farming in the United States is that the existing farms are not able to work on a year-round basis.
We just put in a maturation facility and hatchery so that we will be able to produce shrimp year-round. In the past, we have never been able to get seedstock on a year-round, consistent basis. We came to the conclusion that the only way around the problem was to do it ourselves.
When we started growing shrimp in Michigan, we actually had to rewrite the state’s fisheries regulations to accommodate aquaculture and shrimp farming. That effort took five years, but it was successful, and today I think Michigan has the best aquaculture regulations in the United States.
Also, we see too many shrimp farming projects getting started in the United States with inexperienced management and labor. A lot of you have been in the business for a long time. You know that there is no substitute for your experiences in Ecuador, Mexico, China and Thailand. You have to take the knowledge you learned in those places, combine it with all the new information on shrimp farming, and make it work here in the United States.
Even though you’re probably going to be growing shrimp indoors, there are many things that can make a site good or bad for shrimp farming. Your entire plan must fit together with your building and your site.
The feeds that we have in the United States work, but as I’ve found out, they could be a lot better. We need better feeds to make shrimp farming successful in the United States.
What have we accomplished at Seafood Systems? To keep costs down, we did everything in-house. We designed and built our own building, taking things like temperature and humidity into account. When you’re starting from scratch, that’s pretty tough to do. I called my wife this morning. It was 5°F above zero with 50 mile an hour winds, producing a wind chill factor of minus 26°F. We had to build a warm building. Even after you build your building, you really don’t know how it’s going to perform until you’ve grown shrimp in it for three or four years. I found that out first hand. It’s not something you learn in the first four months of your first trial. You need to spend a lot of time on selecting your building.
We couldn’t find any tanks on the market that met our criteria, so we designed and built our own tanks. We’re in the process right now of building some new tanks that have the potential of cutting our tank costs by 50%.
You could buy your biofilters next door at the trade show and spend a small fortune on them. We designed and built our own biofilters at a tremendous savings. Same thing with aeration. We developed our own aeration system. We just finished our in-house, automated feeding system. We can feed any one of our tanks, as many times as we want, with any mixture of feeds—liquid, dry or flaked. The system is computer driven and works with hatchery feeds and growout feeds. It’s really something new. The system is flexible enough that I think it could be successfully used in hatcheries or outdoor farms.
What’s the bottom line? How much is it going to cost you to build an indoor shrimp farm in the USA? If you build a million-pound-a-year facility, your capital costs will be approximately $4.46 a pound of shrimp produced, just under the $5.00 a pound that you need for a profit. For a five-million-pound-a-year facility, that figure drops to $3.26. There’s still a lot of room for improvement. If we’re successful in getting better feeds and all our new technology works out, we think we can cut those figures in half. The more you cut your capital costs, the greater your return on investment.
In the area of feeds, we really have low feed conversion ratios, down to 0.7 pounds of feed to produce a pound of shrimp. We’re happy with that and will probably not be able to improve on it, but we do think we will be able to get better feeds that will lead to faster growth, at the same food conversion ratio. We’ve developed some new feeds for our automated feeding system. Currently, our growth rates are only a gram a week, but we know that we can do better than that with better feeds and better animals, animals that have been bred for faster growth.
We don’t change any water; we’re 100% recirculating. The only time we add fresh water is to make up for evaporation and losses during normal operations. Thus far, there have been no effluents from our system. We have an automated harvesting system. One of our projected production modules can produce over 300,000 pounds of shrimp a year with just two people.
With all these new developments, we think we will be able cut our production costs per pound to $1.51 in a million-dollar-a-year facility and to $0.97 a pound in a facility that produces five million pounds a year. In the long run, we think we may be able to get the costs down to $0.80 cents a pound, that’s if we get better feeds and genetically improved animals.
The big question in the United States is processing costs. Why do you think that everybody that gets involved in shrimp farming in the United States, especially in indoor systems, wants to sell live, or fresh animals. They just can’t compete in the tails market, the commodity market. Almost all the shrimp processing machinery that’s in use in the United States was designed forty or fifty years ago. We need new processing machinery. We need a de-heading machine. We need updated classifying, grading, peeling and deveining machines, designed for out new industry. We need a whole new set of these processing machines that are built with 21st Century technology, that are sized properly for our new industry in the United States. This is the one area that nobody talks about when they talk about farming shrimp in the United States. If you’re producing at the commodity level, you cannot afford to pay people ten dollars an hour to dehead your shrimp. It’s a tough job, nobody wants to do it, and with the political situation in the United States today, you’re not going to be able to hire immigrant labor to do it for you.
What are the obstacles to shrimp farming in the United States? Overpriced equipment and an inconsistent supply of seedstock. We need to open up access to the Oceanic Institute’s lines of broodstock, so that any USA shrimp producer gets a chance to use whichever family line suits them. We need better feeds for faster growth. And we need reasonable access to capital. Raising capital for a shrimp farm in the United States isn’t like raising capital in Mexico or Ecuador or somewhere else. In the United States, you have to deal with armies of lawyers and accountants. It takes lots of time and money to do it by the book.
Lastly, we need a strong association of shrimp farmers in the United States. We tried to get an organization going ten years ago, but it never became a reality. If we’re going to do marketing the way it needs to be done, if were going to get any help from Washington DC, if were going to get the necessary processing equipment, we need an association to get things going.
While I was preparing this talk, I found a copy of an old talk that I gave at the World Mariculture Society meeting in Seattle, Washington, in 1997. It was, more or less, on the same topic as this talk: How do you create a competitive shrimp farming industry in the United States? I said many of the same things then that I’ve said today. Dallas Weaver, who followed me on the program, immediately said, “It can’t be done. You can’t grow shrimp in the United States and compete with shrimp farmers in the tropics.” I’m still standing here eleven years later saying, “Dallas, you’re wrong! It can be done,” but it’s going to take a big effort in time and money to get it done. All of us in shrimp farming in the United States need to work together here to make shrimp farming a commercial reality.
In conclusion, yes, a competitive, commodity level shrimp production system can be built here in the United States. We can produce shrimp in the United States as cheaply as anywhere else in the world.
“Let’s Get Our Shrimp Together.”
At the end of Allen’s presentation, there were a couple of questions:
Question: What about heating costs in cold climates like Michigan?
Answer: Heating costs are not really that much of a factor when you consider the costs of feed, equipment and labor.
Question: Does any natural light get into your growout operations?
Answer: Some natural light comes in through the windows, but we don’t need light to make our system work. If you take a look at our average growth rates of one gram a week, that’s low. I think if I had more light our growth rates would be around 1.3 to 1.5 grams per week. There are too many advantages to doing it the way we’re doing it that I’ll take the one-gram-a-week growth. We’ll try to improve the growth rate with dietary supplements, better feeds and genetics.
Information: Russell Allen, President, Seafood Systems, Inc., 3450 Meridian Road, Okemos, MI 48863 USA (phone 517-347-5537, email email@example.com).
Sources: 1. U.S. Shrimp Farming: How to Compete. Russ Allen. Presented at the World Aquaculture Society Meeting in Orlando, Florida, USA, on February 10, 2008. 2. Telephone conversation with Russ Allen on February 25, 2008.
Third Round of Dumping Review
The USA Department of Commerce has initiated the third annual review of the dumping duties on Indian shrimp exports.
The interim report for the second annual review, covering the period from February 2006 to January 2007 is expected in March 2008, and the final order should come in August 2008.
The USA has sent notices to Indian shrimp exporters for the third annual review, covering the period from February 2007 to January 2008, and has asked them to submit their review requests before February 29, 2008.
Indian shrimp exports to the USA fell to 20,776 metric tons in 2007, from 27,277 tons the previous year. The number of exporters has also fallen to fewer than 70, from 74 at the start of the second review. There were more than 115 exporters when the first review was conducted.
The dumping duty on Indian shrimp was cut to 7.22% from 10.17% after the first annual review, covering the period from August 2004 to January 2006. In addition to the dumping duty, the USA requires a customs bond, which is a cash guarantee collected by USA Customs against any further rise in the dumping duty. The bond is calculated at 100% of the duty payable on total exports during the previous year and valid for one year, meaning exporters have to keep paying for fresh bonds until the final decision on the dumping duty is made in 2009.
India has challenged the imposition of the bond at the World Trade Organization and is waiting for the final verdict from the disputes panel. In its interim ruling in November 2007, the WTO said the bonding measure wasn’t in line with international trading practices.
To add to the exporters’ woes, there have been a series of rejections of Indian shrimp consignments in Australia, where new quarantine regulations prevent the shipment of raw shrimp. All exports to Australia must be accompanied by a certification that says they are disease free.
Source: LiveMint.com (The Wall Street Journal). US dept begins third annual review of anti-dumping (http://www.livemint.com/2008/02/20012526/US-dept-begins-third-annual-re.html). Ajayan. February 20, 2008.
Better Management Practices Video
A better management practices video showing the principles and practices associated with shrimp farming in Aceh Province was released in mid-February 2008. It drew large crowds in coastal shrimp farm villages in the Bireuen District. The video attracted more than 700 people on the first evening (60% women) and around 1,000 on the second evening.
Based on the widely distributed BMP Manual and experiences in better management of shrimp farming from Indonesia and around the region, the BMP video was produced by the International Finance Corporation and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. There are plans to show the video 98 times by August 2008, hoping to stimulate awareness among Acehnese farmers on improved management practices and assist further recovery of the aquaculture sector, an important livelihood for 100,000 people in the coastal areas of Aceh.
Shrimp production in Aceh Province was badly hit by years of civil war and the 2004 tsunami. Following peace accords in 2005 and various ongoing reconstruction projects, the province’s aquaculture is gradually moving forward. Aquaculture rehabilitation is being supported by a number of donors and agencies, including ADB, FAO, IFC, NACA, UNDP, WWF and others. You can download the BMP Manual, the basis for the popular video, here.
Source: Network of Aquaculture Centers in Asia-Pacific Webpage. Shrimp BMP video is a blockbuster hit in Aceh (http://www.enaca.org/modules/news/article.php?storyid=1718). Posted by Simon Wilkinson. February 21, 2008.
Northern Mariana Islands
Saipan SyAqua Aquaculture
In the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, a chain of 15 tropical islands in the western Pacific Ocean (15°10’51”N, 145°45’21”E) that belongs to the USA, Saipan SyAqua Aquaculture (previously referred to as Saipan Aquaculture) has forged a partnership with SyAqua of Thailand.
A senator in the Northern Mariana Islands has introduced a bill that would made Rota, the island that Saipan SyAqua occupies, a specific pathogen free zone for shrimp.
Sources: 1. Marianas Variety. Bill to designate Rota as “specific pathogen free” (http://www.mvariety.com/?module=displaystory&story_id=7207&format=html). Junhan B. Todeno. February 25, 2008. 2. Email to Shrimp News International from Mark Rabago (firstname.lastname@example.org), Assistant Editor of the Saipan Tribune, on February 21, 2008.
Delivering Lipids to Artemia
Abstract: Lipid spray beads (LSB) containing high concentrations of phospholipids were developed to deliver fat-soluble and water-soluble micronutrients to Artemia and other suspension feeders in salt and fresh water. LSB were prepared by spraying lipid into a chamber that was cooled with liquid nitrogen in order to solidify the lipid beads. Addition of soy lecithin to LSB did not affect retention of glycine when the beads were suspended in distilled water. Artemia readily ingested riboflavin in LSBs, and their full guts were evident within 30 minutes of feeding. The riboflavin content of Artemia could be increased from 55 ± 0.6 mg kg− 1 (dw) to 329 ± 62 mg kg− 1 (dw) after 1-hour enrichment. LSBs prepared with phospholipids are promising vehicles for enrichment of suspension-feeding organisms used as feed for larval marine fish and crustaceans.
Source: Electronical Larviculture Newsletter (http://www.rug.ac.be/aquaculture). Editor Gilbert Van Stappen (email@example.com). Development of Lipid Microbeads for Delivery of Lipid and Water-Soluble Materials to Artemia. A. Nordgreen (Andreas.Nordgreen@nifes.no), K. Hamre and C. Langdon (National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research, Post Box 2029, Nordnes, 5817 Bergen, Norway). Issue 281, January 15, 2008.
Seychelles, Republic of (Indian Ocean)
Management Contract for Shrimp Farm
The Ministry of Finance invites interested individuals and companies, local or international, to express their interest in managing the Coetivy Prawn Farm. If you have Google Earth (free, but you must download it from Google’s website) installed on your computer, you can view the farm at latitude 7°–07'–57.26"–S; longitude 112°–56.16'–46.22"–E. As you’ll discover, the farm, has north and south sections.
Location: Coetivy Island, 250 kilometers south of Mahe, Seychelles. Access by sea and air only.
Operation: Specializes in the aquaculture of giant tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) for export.
Size of farm: One square kilometer with 198 ponds.
Production: 2,000 tons per year with 2 hatcheries.
Infrastructure: jetty, airstrip, accommodation for 350 people, roads, telephone and processing building.
Interested parties should provide the following information:
• Company/individual profile with ownership structure
• Details of operating experience in the field of aquaculture
• Preliminary business plan
• Credit rating from a reputable bank or financial institution
Address applications to: The Ministry of Finance, Principal Secretary’s Privatization Unit, CPL Liberty House, P.O. Box 313, Victoria, Seychelles (phone 00-248-382078, fax 00 248-225893, email firstname.lastname@example.org). Deadline: March 26, 2008.
Sources: 1. Notification: Invitation for Management Contract for Coetivy Prawn Farm, Seychelles. Email to Shrimp News International from K.J. Joseph (email@example.com) on February 21, 2008. 2. Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International, March 3, 2008.
Sea Ark is developing a billion dollar shrimp farm in South Africa. On February 22, 2008, the Mail and Guardian, a newspaper in Johannesburg, carried a long article that was very critical of the SeaArk project. Here are some excerpts from that article.
“In 1995, SeaArk president David Wills was sacked as vice-president of one of the world’s largest animal rights organizations, the Humane Society, based in Washington, DC, USA, after being accused of fraud and sexual harassment. In 1999, he was sentenced to six months in jail and fined $67,800 for embezzlement. Prosecutors alleged Wills used the money to enrich himself and gamble in Las Vegas.”
“Wills is currently running the [SeaArk] pilot in Coega. Questioned about his past in a telephone interview this week, he exclaimed: ‘It’s not me! Knock yourself out; write whatever you want!’ and rang off.”
“The project, touted as a huge job creator in the Eastern Cape and the world’s first environmentally friendly shrimp farm, has sparked furious objections from local environmentalists, including South African National Parks.”
“Despite this and Wills’s history, it is being driven vigorously by the Eastern Cape government. Allegations are flying that this is because of the African National Congress connections of the South African empowerment partner in the project, Bosasa Operations. Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson is a member of the Eastern Cape’s influential Watson family, heavy-hitters in the ruling party.”
“According to Bosasa spokesperson Papa Leshabane, the company has, subsequent to the finalization of the pilot phase, acquired 100% of SeaArk Africa ‘and retained the services of a company of which David Wills is a member/employee.’”
“Asked whether Wills is regarded as a suitable associate on such an environmentally sensitive project, Leshabane said: ‘[Wills] is considered by many as one of, if not the USA’s most, knowledgeable authority on all aspects of aquaculture.’”
“‘The political connections of the project were something to make you scared,’ said an official in the Eastern Cape’s environmental affairs department. ‘The pressure to authorize SeaArk [the pilot project] was outrageous. South African National Parks had real concerns about what was going on, but their appeal was dismissed, as expected.’”
“Initiated this month, the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the rollout phase is to be completed at breakneck speed, by June 2008. A Bosasa official said the EIA had been fast-tracked ‘without breaking any laws.’”
SeaArk’s chief operating officer is Dick Monroe, a former Darden Restaurants executive.
Source: Mail and Guardian Online. Big stink over R9bn Coega prawn farm (http://www.mg.co.za/articlePage.aspx?articleid=332977&area=/insight/insight__national/). Adriaan Basson and Yolandi Groenewald. February 22, 2008.
WAS Meeting—Craig Browdy, Shrimp Program
Dr. Craig Browdy, a past president of the World Aquaculture Society and currently a Senior Marine Scientist at the Waddell Mariculture Center in South Carolina, USA, reports:
With In Kwon Jang in Korea, I am co-organizing the shrimp sessions for the World Aquaculture Society meeting in Busan, Korea, scheduled for May 19-23, 2008. The program covers all aspects of shrimp culture with a particularly interesting program on freshwater prawns (Macrobrachium spp.) organized by C. Mohanakumaran Nair. Yoram Avnimelech is working on a bio-floc session sponsored by the Aquaculture Engineering Society (USA). I will send more information on the program as it gets finalized.
Interest has been expressed in having a small workshop session with farm managers from all over the world to discuss problems, opportunities and competitiveness. It might be interesting to hear from colleagues in different regions about what kind of production rates they are getting, where the problems are, and how different groups approach competitiveness.
Is there any interest in this? Do you think that anyone would actually be willing to discuss these matters in this type of a forum or are we hitting on things that are too proprietary? Please let us know your thoughts, particularly those of you working for or with large commercial groups. If I am going to carve out some time for this I need to decide right away. Feel free to respond to the list or to me off line.
Information: Craig L. Browdy, Marine Resources Research Institute, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, 217 Ft. Johnson Road (P.O. Box 12559), Charleston, SC 29422 USA (phone 843-953-9840, fax 843-953-9820, email firstname.lastname@example.org).
Source: The Shrimp List (a mailing list for shrimp farmers). WAS meeting in Korea. Craig Browdy (email@example.com). March 3, 2008.
Florida—Southern Shrimp Alliance
On February 26, 2008, John Williams, a member of the USA shrimp industry for 37 years and executive director of the Southern Shrimp Alliance (SSA, the eight-state group of shrimp fishermen and processors that initiated the dumping case), testified before the USA House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Commerce and Energy Committee that the USA Food and Drug Administration (FDA) relies too heavily on USA importers to protect the USA food supply. Here is some of Williams’ testimony:
Concerns about the FDA’s inability to assure the safety of imported seafood have risen to the point that a number of states are doing their own testing of seafood imports. These states have repeatedly found harmful, banned substances in imported seafood—seafood allowed into the USA by the FDA and the importers. Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Tennessee administer their own testing programs on imported seafood. Alabama, Florida and Louisiana have been testing imported seafood since 2002; Georgia since 2003; Mississippi since 2005; Tennessee since 2006 and Oklahoma and Arkansas since 2007.
State testing has repeatedly resulted in the finding of banned, dangerous antibiotics and antifungal chemicals in imported seafood.
While we are pleased that state governments have attempted to address FDA’s failures, there is no substitute for a strong federal food safety system. The FDA needs to have a food safety enforcement system that is comparable to other major markets. Otherwise, rejected and inferior seafood products will continue to be shipped to the United States.
The FDA’s failure to prevent the importation of massive amounts of contaminated shrimp has a number of negative effects on the USA market, shrimp industry and consumers. First, farmed-shrimp imports contaminated with banned antibiotics, pesticides and other dangerous contaminants put the health of USA consumers at serious risk according to sound medical science that is recognized and applied worldwide.
Second, USA consumers are quite often unable to distinguish between safe and unsafe shrimp in retail markets and restaurants. Their fear of buying or being served contaminated imported shrimp depresses the overall consumption and demand for all shrimp including healthful, wild-caught shrimp produced in the USA.
Finally, the FDA’s lax inspection system allows volumes of low-value contaminated shrimp into the USA market. These illegal shipments depress the price for shrimp caught by USA fishermen.
Information: A copy of Williams’ testimony can be found at http://shrimpalliance.com/Press%20Releases/2-26-08%20EC%20Written%20Testimony.pdf. Information on the state seafood testing programs can be found at http://www.shrimpalliance.com/State_Testing.htm. Information on how FDA’s food safety enforcement compares to international food safety enforcement programs can be found at http://shrimpalliance.com/Press%20Releases/10-16-07%20FDA%20Reform%20Proposals.pdf. Information on the Southern Shrimp Alliance can be found at www.shrimpalliance.com.
John Sackton, Editor of Seafood.com
On February 27, 2008, John Sackton, editor of Seafood.com, a fee-based, online fisheries newsletter, commented on Williams’ testimony:
This was a very professional presentation, and it makes a number of points that are looked on favorably by the democratic controlled committee, chaired by Representative John Dingell. The Southern Shrimp Alliance’s tax return shows it has a $12-million war chest to spend on lobbying.
Williams says that the USA’s seafood inspection system is weaker than those in Canada, Japan and the European Union. He says when countries get shut out of the European Union shrimp market, they switch to exporting shrimp to the USA.
Williams makes a number of direct recommendations:
The first is for equivalence agreements. “Equivalence” is one of the reasons that much of the meat and poultry consumed in the USA is not imported. Under the USDA inspection system for meat and poultry, equivalence means that the exporting country must have an inspection system nearly identical to the USDA system, with continuous plant inspections, the ability to shut down production if a violation is found and full compliance with all USDA requirements from building construction and materials to cleaning procedures.
The FDA seafood safety system relies on HACCP (hazard analysis critical control points, not continuous inspection), so the concept of an equivalence agreement applied by FDA would be much harder to define. If Congress required FDA equivalence, it would be a struggle to define what it would be, and the fallback position would be more and more direct testing.
Part of the SSA’s strategy is to simply block a larger and larger proportion of shrimp imports with regulatory measures, as evidenced by Willaim’s other recommendations: a mandatory 20% inspection rate for all imports, a requirement that a company achieve 15 clean samples before being allowed to import without automatic detention, payments by importers of an inspection fee, testing by FDA labs only, or by laboratories tested and certified by the FDA. He also recommended that the number of ports of entry be limited to four with FDA staffed laboratories, seizure and destruction of contaminated imports without recourse to re-export, more use of country wide bans and more use of bans on particular importers.
This legislative push comes at a very bad time politically because the points being forwarded by SSA represent many of the same points looked on favorably by the powerful chair of Energy and Commerce Committee, John Dingell. Further, due to the strong political base, Southern congressional support and the increasingly anti-trade climate among Democrats, who will likely increase their power dramatically in the next election, the mileage that SSA can get with its financial war chest is that much greater.
Unless there is a concerted and coordinated response from shrimp exporters, much of the farmed shrimp industry will receive the same treatment as China, which faced a regulatory attack that crippled its shrimp exports.
Sources: 1. Southern Shrimp Alliance. News Release. Testimony to Congress Denounces FDA Reliance on Self-Policing Instead of Testing. Deborah Long (phone 785-539-5218, webpage www.shrimpalliance.com). February 26, 2008. 2. Seafood.com (an online, subscription-based, fisheries news service). The $18 Million dollar headache for the shrimp industry (editorial comment). Editor and Publisher, John Sackton (phone 781-861-1441, email firstname.lastname@example.org). February 27, 2008.
Location: Fort Valley State University, Fort Valley, Georgia
Company: Georgia Center for Aquaculture Development
Salary: $26,000-36,000 a year
Closing Date: March 14, 2008
Qualifications: B.A or B.S. in Aquaculture, Fisheries or a closely related field. Knowledge of and/or experience with aquaculture production, laboratory techniques and operation of instrumentation and equipment is required. Experience with both water recirculation systems and pond production systems and care of aquatic organisms is expected. Knowledge of the techniques used for the husbandry of warmwater fish species, freshwater prawns and shrimp is desirable.
Description: The research specialist will provide assistance and support to the director of aquaculture research and be responsible for facility maintenance and operation and technical transfer activities. Primary responsibilities include maintenance of good water quality in research tanks and recirculating systems, along with assurance of good aquatic animal health and growth. Other responsibilities include feeding, disease diagnosis and treatment and routine hatchery and growout production procedures. The technician will be responsible for ensuring routine maintenance of laboratory analytical and aquaculture life support equipment. Other responsibilities will be assisting in research projects including recording and maintaining data and experimental system maintenance and computer analysis. Duties also include maintaining orders and accounts for supplies, materials and equipment, dealing with vendors and providing and coordinating labor and support services. Additional duties include supervising and training student and farm workers. The specialist will also be responsible for assisting in workshops and in giving tours of aquaculture facilities. Weekend and holiday work will be required periodically.
Information: Pat Duncan (phone 478-825-6575, email email@example.com).
Application: Send letter and application, resume, official transcripts and three letters of recommendation to: Mr. Dwayne Crew, Director, Office of Human Resources, Fort Valley State University, 1005 State University Drive, Fort Valley, GA 31030-4313 USA.
Source: AquaNic (The Aquaculture Network Information Center, a gateway to the world’s electronic aquaculture resources, http://aquanic.org/index.htm). Jobs Directory (http://www.aquanic.org/Text/job_serv.htm) In cooperation with the WAS Employment Service. Search jobs (http://aquanic.org/jobs/search.asp). Aquaculture Research Specialist II (http://aquanic.org/jobs/jobinfo.asp?jobid=2749). Posted February 20, 2008.
Louisiana—Plans Wild Shrimp Certification Program
On February 24, 2008, the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board unveiled a Certified Wild Louisiana Shrimp program that will bring traceability to the supply chain.
Harlon Pearce, chairman of the Louisiana board, said the goal of the program is to get a better price for fishermen by creating a globally recognized brand. The program will focus on quality and educating seafood buyers and consumers about the product. Pearce is seeking participation from fishermen, dock managers, processing facilities and retailers.
Guidelines for the voluntary program should be finalized by May 2008, when the shrimp fishing season begins. The Mazzetta Company in Highland Park, Illinois, has worked with Louisiana on the program since its conception. “We told them, ‘We’ll pay more money if you can do something better,’” Jordan Mazzetta said.
Source: Seafood Currents (a free online newsletter from Seafood Business, www.seafoodbusiness.com). Louisiana Plans Shrimp-Certification Program (http://divcom-seafood.informz.net/admin31/content/template.asp?sid=7047&ptid=133&brandid=3138&uid=752859429&mi=264811). Seafood Business Staff. February 25, 2008.
Washington State, ACC
In 2007, the Aquaculture Certification Council certified or recertified 78 aquaculture facilities, consisting of two hatcheries, 22 farms and 54 processing or reprocessing plants, representing approximately 285,000 metric tons of finished shrimp product. ACC has a roster of 84 active highly qualified inspectors/auditors located in 24 countries worldwide.
Information: Bill More, Aquaculture Certification Council, 12815 72nd Avenue, Northeast, Kirkland, WA 98034 USA (phone 425-825-7935, fax 425-650-3001, email firstname.lastname@example.org, webpage http://www.aquaculturecertification.org).
Source: The Blue Standard (the e-newsletter of the Aquaculture Certification Council, Inc.). President’s Letter (http://www.aquaculturecertification.org/bluestandard/2008-2/). Volume 3, February 18, 2008.
Japan’s Higashimaru Opens New Shrimp Feed Plant
A new mill to manufacture fish and shrimp feed has been inaugurated by Japan’s Higashimaru Joint Stock Company in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang.
The mill, built in the Tan Huong Industrial Zone at a cost of $4 million, is expected to annually turn out between 10,000 and 15,000 tons of feed under the “Sakura” trademark.
The mill’s capacity will rise to 50,000 tons after the completion of the second phase of the project, estimated to cost an additional $6 million.
Source: The FishSite. $Multi-Million Feed Mill Opens in Tien Giang (http://www.thefishsite.com/fishnews/6340/multimillion-feed-mill-opens-in-tien-giang). February 25, 2008.
Some Shrimp Farmers Switching Back to Rice
After crop failures in recent years, shrimp farmers in the Mekong Delta have returned to rice cultivation, planting 50,000 hectares of rice in former shrimp ponds and harvesting up to six tons per hectare, nearly double the output before the ponds were used for shrimp farming.
Source: VietnamNetBridge. Mekong farmers reap top rice crop (http://english.vietnamnet.vn/biz/2008/02/770192/). February 25, 2008.
AERATORS-THE ORIGINAL AIRE-O2 ASPIRATOR AERATOR: Increase your shrimp production and harvests with the original AIRE-O2™ aerator. Since 1974, more intensive & semi-intensive shrimp farmers worldwide have relied on Aeration Industries more than any other aerator due to its low maintenance, excellent subsurface mixing & oxygen dispersion, and ability to increase farm production & yield. Contact us at: phone +1-952-448-6789, email email@example.com , webpage www.aireo2.com.
Revolutionary ‘Modern Air’ Aerator: Provides Superior Oxygen Transfer and Superior Flow Rates. Only aerator in the world that is 100% non corrosive with no moving parts. Reduces operating horsepower by 50%+, No Maintenance for 7+ years. Improves productivity and provide significant financial savings. FREE systems design is available for all systems with a Financial Analysis. For everything you need, contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or via web at www.modernairaerator.com or www.areainc.com.