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March 10, 2013

 

 

Régis Bador’s  Innov’Aquaculture

Sourcing Innovative New Labor Saving Products for Shrimp Farmers

 

 

At the World Aquaculture Society meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, USA, I interviewed Régis Bador, founder and manager of Innov'Aquaculture, a New Caledonia based company that finds, certifies and markets innovative products for shrimp farmers.  Before starting InnovAquaculture, Bador worked for almost thirty years as a hatchery manager, farm manager and a consultant in the shrimp farming industries.  Over this long career, he had the opportunity to test and use many products and technologies.  Now he represents companies that invent and manufacture state-of-the-art products for shrimp farmers.  He personally knows each of his suppliers and has tested or used many of the products he is marketing.  He has personal contact with all his suppliers and can recommend those products that best fit his customers needs.  Shrimp farmers don’t always have time to search out good products and they may not know how to evaluate them once they do find them.  Bador says, “I do that for them!”

 

Shrimp News: Hi Regis.  Tell me about your new business and your line of products.

 

Régis Bador: After 28 years of hatching, farming, processing and marketing shrimp, I left the production side and have become a sourcer and supplier of products and equipment for shrimp farms worldwide.  I decided to specialize in in products that I trust, products that I’ve used in the past and liked, and products that I’ve seen work effectively on shrimp farms.  I also look for brand new products that have just hit the market that will benefit shrimp farmers.  I help shrimp farmers find products that can help them make more money.

 

Labor costs are high on shrimp farms, so I’m always looking for products to market that can help lower labor costs.  In Thailand, for example, they are looking for products that can help them lower the cost of maintaining aeration equipment.  Aerators breakdown on a regular basis, and it takes a lot of time and labor to removed them from the ponds, fix them and then put them back in operation.

 

Shrimp News: Do you have a solution for aeration maintenance costs?

 

Régis Bador: Yes, I found a Thai shrimp farmer, a very clever fellow, who was inspired by an aeration concept developed by Dr. Claude Boyd, a fisheries professor at Auburn University in Alabama, USA.  It’s a spiral aerator that was first used by catfish farms in America in the 1970s and 1980s.  Now, that Thai shrimp farmer has modified the design, patented it in Thailand and sold 15,000 units.  Manufactured in Thailand, it can be used for two or three years with no maintenance at all.  Some of them have been used for ten years, and the only maintenance required was changing the few metal parts that had corroded, a very simple thing to do.  They’re powered by electricity and most of the parts are non-corroding, high-quality HDPE (high-density polyethylene).  They can be made in any horsepower or size you may want by adding paddles to the spiral on the central cylinder.  A three HP unit with three spirals is about seven meters wide.  The basic one-HP unit is two meters wide.  I’m now marketing this product worldwide.  I am very proud of this equipment, which meshes nicely with the 21st century trend of durable, long-lasting, low-maintenance and energy-efficient products.

 

Shrimp News: Why does a spiral aerator require less maintenance and labor than the traditional paddlewheel aerator?

 

Régis Bador: The traditional paddlewheel aerator has its paddles aligned in a series of rows, so there’s a strain on the electric motor and the aerator itself as each row of paddles slaps the water.  Traditional paddlewheels literally shake themselves apart.  With a spiral aerator, the strain is consistent because only one paddle is entering the water at a time, immediately followed by another.  It’s not a series of hard jolts on the motor and equipment, but a smooth, gentle, continuous movement.  Also with the spiral aerator, there are fewer metal parts, which are subject to corrosion, and the motor is farther away from the paddles than is the case with most tradition paddlewheel aerators, where it is on the same float as the paddles.  There is a video of the spiral aerator on my website [scroll down the page that opens, then click on the arrow in the middle of the blue picture of the aerator].

 

 

Shrimp News: How much would a three-horsepower unit, suitable for a large, semi-intensive farm in Latin America, cost?

 

Régis Bador: Around $1,7500, FOB Thailand.

 

Shrimp News: What other products do you have that would help shrimp farmers make bigger profits?

 

Régis Bador: Another labor saving product that I’m marketing is an electronic PL counter that also counts Artemia, shrimp eggs, nauplii and algae.  With this equipment, in just ten seconds, you can count all the nauplii you are about to put into a larval rearing tank, from 100,000 up to 3,000,000.  With PLs it takes just ten seconds to count all the PLs in a 10-liter sampling.  So in less that a minute you can do five samplings and get a very accurate estimate of the total number of PLs in a shipment.

 

 

Shrimp News: How much does a complete system cost?

 

Régis Bador: Approximately $5,000, FOB Canada.

 

Shrimp News: Tell me about your product that prevents cormorants from diving into shrimp ponds to steal shrimp.

 

Régis Bador: Cormorant and bird predation is a big problem in Latin America and the Pacific, but not as much of a problem in Asia because farmers they can afford to cover their small intensive ponds with bird nets.  Research in New Caledonia has showed that one Cormorant can eat from one to two pounds of farmed shrimp a day!  Imaging if you have 100 cormorants around a big semi-intensive pond, you could easily lose one hundred pounds a day from a single pond.  That’s a lot of money when it happens day after day.  Farmers have tried everything from fire works, guns and cannons to keep birds away from shrimp ponds, and none of them work very well.  I’m marketing sound equipment that you put in the pond and makes the sound of a killer whale.  The system has been used for years in France and Germany in freshwater ponds.  The president of the New Caledonia shrimp farmer’s association bought one unit to test it in one pond.  He has been using it for four months and hasn’t seen one cormorant in that pond, while his other ponds were heavily preyed on by cormorants.

 

Latin American shrimp farmers don’t know about this equipment yet, but I have set up a distributor (Alex Maldonado, founder of Agrobimsa) in Guayaquil, Ecuador, to service Ecuador and Peru, where I expect it to be very popular.  Each unit has four underwater hydrophones, enough for two ten hectare ponds or four one to two-hectare ponds.  Each unit sells for approximately $5,000, FOB France.  This product will probably not be available until June 2013.  We expect to test a unit in Ecuador very soon that runs on A-C power.  By 2014, we expect to have a solar hook up to power it.  After getting my representative started in Ecuador, I plan to go to Panama and look for partners for all of Central America and northern South America, like Colombia and Venezuela.  After that, Mexico and Brazil will be the next countries where I will be marketing the system.  This is a new product and is not shown on my website yet.

 

Shrimp News: What other products do you have for shrimp farmers?

 

Régis Bador: Altogether, I market products from 18 companies, and the one I’m talking about tomorrow in one of the scientific sessions is a system that monitors the sounds of feeding shrimp and uses those sounds to control and optimize feeding through automatic feeders.  The system, called SF200 by AQ1, the Australian company that invented it, records the sound that the shrimp mandibles make when they are eating.  To start the feeding process, a computer tells the feeder to release a small quantity of feed into the pond.  Then, the software listens to the feeding activity.  If the shrimp don’t react, no more feed is delivered to the pond for the next half hour.  If they do react, the computer delivers three more sample feedings.  If the shrimp continue feeding the computer continues sending out feed until they stop feeding.  A half hour after the shrimp stop feed, it will begin with a new test feeding.  It works around the clock, or you can program it to avoid feeding during specific periods when there is a risk of low DO.  This way, the shrimp decide when they want to eat.  In New Caledonia, in an eight-hectare pond, we confirmed that shrimp don’t choose to eat at the same time everyday.  The point is that the feed is only delivered when they want to eat it.  The minute the shrimp stop feeding, the feeders are turned off by the software.  Growth rates and feed conversion ratios improve.  We are feeding eight-hectare ponds with eight feeders that have a very small footprint, so the pond bottom remains clean because feed is given only when shrimp want it.  The shrimp learn that when they want to eat they have to go to the feeders.  When they finish eating, they move away from the feeders.

 

At the recent World Aquaculture Society Meeting (Nashville, Tennessee, USA, February 21-25, 2013), Bador gave a presentation on the AQ1 system.  Following are some his comments from that presentation:

 

All the trials that we have done have been done in real conditions on private farms with regular employees.  ....After very heavy rain the shrimp ceased eating for several hours and then went back to eating.  ....The main benefit of the AQ1 system is more on growth than on the feed conversion ratio.  ...In Thailand, while feeding Penaeus vannamei for three consecutive days, the shrimp ate at different times each day; we have no idea why.  Shrimp eat when the want to.  In New Caledonia, over a ten-day period with P. stylirostris in an eight-hectare pond, the shrimp also ate at different times from day to day.  The system works 24 hours a day 7 days a week with no labor needed, except to refill the feeders once a day.  All the information from the hydrophones and the feeders is collected on a computer and can be transmitted anywhere by Wi-Fi.  While I’m here at the conference in the USA, I’m monitoring the pond feeding trials in New Caledonia, and so are with the farm manager in New Caledonia and the software developer in Australia.  We are in the 21 first Century, and it’s time for the shrimp to decide when they want to eat.  [For a slideshow/video of the AQ1 sound-based feeding system, click here.]

 

Shrimp News: Régis, tell me a little about your history in shrimp farming.

 

Régis Bador: My shrimp farming career started almost thirty years ago at IFREMER (Institut Français de Recherche pour l’Exploitation de la Mer; in English, the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea), the French Government equivalent of the USA’s Marine Fisheries Service.  In 1983, I was in charge of introducing computer systems at IFREMER’s Aquaculture Division and then was assigned to Tahiti in French Polynesia (an overseas country of the French Republic), where I was in charge of shrimp growout.  Next, IFREMER sent me to Colombia to train people to run a large shrimp farming project and then to Mexico to design a big shrimp farm.

 

In 1991, when IFREMER no longer had shrimp farming work for me, I quit, went to Colombia and found a job at the airport on my way into the country.  I met the owner of the farm where I had done the training a few years before and became the manager of his farm and hatchery.  After that, I was offered a nice job in Madagascar managing a P. monodon farm that produced around 3,000 metric tons a year.  When I left that job, I started a shrimp farming consulting company in Colombia, and for two years I worked throughout Latin America.  On one job, I worked as a shrimp taster for a Asian restaurant in France, discovering that wild white shrimp from Colombia had some of the best flavors of all the shrimp I tested.  After that, I worked for the largest shrimp farm in New Caledonia for ten years.  I have produced P. monodon, P. stylirostris and P. vannamei and worked in the hatchery, growout, processing and marketing ends of the shrimp farming industry.

 

Information: Régis Bador, BP 15349, 98804 Noumea, New Caledonia (phone +687-73-48-97, mobile +687-73-48-97, Skype regisbador, email contact@innovaquaculture.com, webpage http://www.innovaquaculture.com, all 18 of Bador’s products are displayed and discussed on his webpage, which is in English and Spanish).  In Ecuador and Peru, Alex Madonado (alexeduardo@agrobimsa.com) distributes Bador’s products.

 

Sources: 1. Régis Bador, interviewed by Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International.  World Aquaculture Society Meeting, Nashville, Tennessee, USA (February 21-25, 2013).  February 22, 2013.  2. World Aquaculture Society.  Shrimp Production Session.  Underwater Sound Analysis Technology Applied to Monitor Shrimp Feeding and Adjust Feeding Strategy.  Régis Bador, Peter Blyth and Ross Dodd.  February 24, 2013.

 

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