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Who Is John Birkett?

November 22, 2016

I'm a marine biologist with a postgraduate degree in engineering.  Since the 1980s, I’ve worked on the design and management of aquaculture projects in Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Colombia, Peru and Brazil—and overseas in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.  On many of those projects, I worked with my partner Neil Gervais.

When whitespot hit Ecuador, we started working with Industrial Pesquera Santa Priscila and Sociedad Nacional de Galápagos (Songa), two of the biggest shrimp farming groups in Ecuador, to develop genetically selected, disease-tolerant shrimp.

I own some hatcheries in Ecuador, and since the late 1990s, I’ve been working as the Hatchery Division General Manager and Partner with Industrial Pesquera Santa Priscila, which exports more than 10 million pounds of product a month from almost 12,000 hectares of shrimp and tilapia ponds.  It’s the largest aquaculture producer in Ecuador and probably the Western Hemisphere.

I manage 3 maturation facilities, 12 hatcheries and 4 high-density, greenhouse-covered, recirculating, nursery systems that produce more than 100 million nauplii a day and more than 600 million postlarvae a month.  We also have a genetic selection system and multiplication center that we use to select the best stock from animals exposed to all pathogens.  This operation takes data from more than 7,500 hectares of ponds and selects family groups with microsatellites for stocking more than 50 broodstock ponds.

Sources: 1. Email to Shrimp News International from John Birkett ( on November 22, 2016.  2. Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International, November 22, 2016.

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