Thursday, February 16, 2017

New era in shrimp farming

The innovative recirculation system in Brazil has zero sludge discharge into the environment, keeps parameters extremely stable and raises productivity.

Camanor Produtos Marinhos Ltda was set up in 1983 and today has two farms in the north and south of Brazil’s Rio Grande do Norte state. During Lallemand’s Aquaculture Meeting in Chennai, India in March, CEO, Werner Jost recounted the journey of the farm from an annual production of only 50 tonnes of shrimp until 1991 to 500 tonnes annually. In 2013, the farm began to use AquaScience, an innovative recirculation system, developed by a partner Luiz Henrique S Peregrino which pushed productivity in the farm in the south to 48 tonnes/ha whereas the traditional ponds continue to produce 1.5 tonnes/year.

“We are a dynamic team of three partners and we can quickly change decisions. For ten years, we had a production of 50 tonnes of shrimp annually. This was our lost decade without post larvae supply, feed or knowledge. Then we started a vannamei shrimp hatchery called Aquatec, now with 4 billion post larvae/ year, the first commercial hatchery in Brazil. Our big break was when the Brazilian real was devalued and we could export to France’s shrimp market. Production expanded to 5,000 tonnes in 2011. This came from three farms, the largest with 580 ha,” said Jost.

“In 2008, the real appreciated which made it impossible to sell into Europe. We had to restructure for the local market. We were also hit by the white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) in 2011 with mortality from 90-95%. Years before we had been studying the Asian concept of small lined ponds stocking 100 PL/m2 but we lost the crops at 15 to 45 days of culture. Despite changing designs and protocols, we lost 10 cycles over two years. We then moved to this AquaScience model.”we lost the crops at 15 to 45 days of culture. Despite changing designs and protocols, we lost 10 cycles over two years. We then moved to this AquaScience model.”

In this model, production ponds are 3,000-4,000 m2 and HDPE lined, with a central drain for water recirculation. The water recycles for 100-120 days and is then pumped out into a reservoir after each harvest and channelled back after pond cleaning. The farm is in its 7th cycle of reusing the water.

“The important aspect of AquaScience is zero sludge discharge. It is important that we do not discharge waste into the environment. Today we have 25 ha of productive ponds following this model and in a second phase, we will add another 25 ha of ponds. Soon we will have 50 ha of production ponds and 30 ha
of channels, tilapia ponds and recirculation area.

Jost emphasised that the system is special in that the water parameters are extremely stable. “ “Fluctuations of dissolved oxygen at only 0.5mg/L and 0.3 for pH over 24 hours keep away pathogens. Pond water temperature is controlled at 27-28°C with shading. Pathogens are present as the system is not totally closed and WSSV although present, does not kill shrimp. Solid waste goes to ponds holding tilapia, which feeds on the biofloc and clean water is recycled back to the shrimp ponds.

“With our first successful cycle in 2013, we were able to produce 10 tonnes/ha
of 12 g shrimp at 90% survival at a stocking density of 100 PL/m2. In February 2015, we increased this to 48.5 tonnes/ha/cycle of 22 g shrimp. Stocking density was 230 PL/m2 and survival was 95%. We target 55-60 tonnes/ha/ cycle in 2016. In terms of costs and revenues, our breakeven size
is 8 g. This means AquaScience needs to produce 20 g size to get 50% gross margins. We have to keep to this size as the market cannot absorb large quantities of larger shrimp,” added Jost.

“AquaScience is not only about technology; it is also an organisation for the maintenance of equipment and to effectively manage risks. It cannot be without electricity for more than 15 minutes. We need to design the right systems with four layers: electricity from the grid, local generators, central power station
and finally a mobile generator. “In the next three years, the target is 1,900 tonnes in 2016, 5,000 tonnes in 2017 and 9,000 tonnes by 2019. With a nursery system, we can increase to 4 cycles per year and by working on genetically improved shrimp for faster growth from the current 1.5 to 2 g/week, we can increase to 5 cycles per year. Ultimately, the production target is 450 tonnes/ha at a production cost of USD 2/kg for 20 g shrimp by lowering fixed costs. This is a threshold for a new era in shrimp farming.”

Published in July/August 2016 AQUA Culture Asia Pacific Magazine


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