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January 5, 2016
Minnesota—Update—trū Shrimp Systems
In December 2014, after acquiring the license to utilize Addison Lawrence’s patented Tidal Basin Technology, Ralco Aquaculture’s trū Shrimp Systems built a research facility that is poised to confirm Lawrence’s research on a larger scale with plans to translate it into a commercial facility.
Robert Gervais, operations manager for trū Shrimp Systems, oversees day-to-day operations of the research center. He is one of 15 employees involved in the shrimp project. The research happens in three zones. The first zone is where animal health and water quality are monitored.
The second zone is the feed lab. Trū Shrimp currently purchases some commercial feed for the shrimp, but it is working to develop a better feed to optimize shrimp growth and health and produce a high-quality end product.
The third zone is the growout center. It has 144 research tanks, where trū Shrimp fine tunes important processes like feed conversion ratios, water temperature, salinity and tank capacity.
Gervais and others involved in the project field many questions about why the Midwest is the right spot to conduct shrimp farming research. “Why would you raise shrimp in Minnesota? Well, the feed is here,” Gervais said. Soybean meal is a key ingredient in shrimp feed and the main source of protein for the shrimp. Being surrounded by soybean growers across Minnesota, it makes sense that shrimp production could and should flourish here, Gervais said.
Pacific white shrimp enter the facility as PL-12s from a Texas supplier. Upon arrival, the shrimp are placed 1 of 16 nursery tanks, and from there, they are moved to the Tidal Basin System, where they spend the rest of their time growing in a brown water system called “biofloc”. Biofloc contains nutrients for the shrimp and reduces water usage.
Gervais said the time required from entrance into the facility to harvesting of the shrimp is three-and-a-half to four months. The end product is about an 8-gram shrimp, classified as a small shrimp—60 to 70 count per pound—at grocery stores.
Trū Shrimp Systems also hopes to add a broodstock facility to its operations. “We want to be conception to consumption,” Gervais said. A broodstock facility would eliminate the need to purchase postlarvae.
Plans for the first shrimp farm are in motion, and Gervais expects it to be located within 15-to-20 miles of Balaton. Staying within close proximity to the current research facility should improve the translation of proven techniques and technology to a commercial scale. “We should have a spade in the ground by 2017,” he said. At 1,300 feet long, the new building will be close to a quarter-mile long and 300-feet wide with the capacity to produce 9 million pounds of shrimp per year. Gervais said trū Shrimp Systems is not ruling out using an existing building, but admitted the type of building required may be hard to find.
Gervais predicts that after the first building goes up, a second and third will be quick to follow. He said all farms won’t necessarily be located in the Midwest, and he believes other parts of the country will be interested in having local shrimp farms, especially places where fresh shrimp consumption is high.
Gervais added that the company also hopes to maximize the usage of each shrimp, meaning the whole shrimp. A farm would require a processing plant and processing wastes can be made into shrimp meal, and nitrates that accumulated in the growout tanks could be used for fertilizer. Company officials have also fielded inquiries from developers who are interested in using the shrimp shells and molts to create biodegradable plastics.
Gervais said trū Shrimp Systems’ future and planned growth will surely have an effect on the local economy. Current estimates project that each farm would create about 50 jobs and that a central processing plant would create 100 jobs.
Information: Robert Gervais and Ryan Wendland, trū Shrimp™ Systems, 330 3rd Street, Balaton, Minnesota 56115, USA (phone 1-507-337-6819, email email@example.com, webpage http://www.trushrimpsystems.com).
Source: Lakefield Standard. Shrimp: It Could Be What’s for Dinner. Jessica Oye. January 4, 2016.
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