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Why small-scale, tank-based shrimp production is on the rise

Interest in tank-based shrimp production systems has been increasing in recent years in North America and Europe, while it’s also slowly gaining traction in tropical regions too.

Factors driving this trend include proximity to markets and the ability to offer fresh product to consumers. This strategy reduces the need for cold chain middlemen, in both developed and less-developed regions. Questions of resource availability, especially land and water (in this case brackish or saline water) have also sparked interest in tank-based shrimp farming in tropical regions. Lack of access to land for pond-based production is a real issue in many countries where conditions are otherwise suited to shrimp farming.

In both temperate and tropical regions, buildings can be retrofit from other uses, but electrical distribution and outlets must be upgraded for outdoor conditions and with ground-fault interrupt circuits. Floors can be as simple as sand and gravel or concrete with trough drains, but in temperate areas walls and ceilings must be highly insulated. Adequate ventilation is also crucial to reduce damage from mildew and humidity. In tropical regions, a building is not necessarily required, but it provides security and protection from the elements.

When considering raising shrimp in tank systems, both technical and economic factors must be addressed. Many functional configurations exist but profitability depends on capital costs, operating costs, survival and growth rates, and market conditions. Equipment options and management expertise impact both technical and economic feasibility. In North America, some successful operations are extremely limited in size, while in Europe attaining economies of scale seems to be a more important issue. To be competitive in Europe, North America and many other regions, most small-scale producers need to offer a comparatively large product (>20g average weight).

In all fairness, raising shrimp in tanks is not a novel concept. In 2004, Baron-Sevilla and colleagues published results from shrimp grow-out trials in a saltwater RAS. Their system had a total volume of 11 m3, of which roughly half was in the culture tank. After five months, they harvested slightly less than 10 kg/m3

Source: the fishsite

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