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South Carolina’s
Waddell Mariculture Center in 1988


This report is based on Summary of Shrimp Farming Research and Development Efforts in South Carolina During 1987,  a 29-page paper compiled by Steve Hopkins, manager of South Carolina’s Waddell Mariculture Center.  In addition to the portions excerpted below, the paper discusses feeds, genetics, selective breeding, stocking density, technology transfer, research options—and intensification efforts in South Carolina.


Introduction: “In 1987, a total of about 2.3 million pounds of whole shrimp were farmed in the United States.  Of the 2.3 million pounds, roughly 51% were from Texas, 32% from Hawaii and 17% from South Carolina.  This equates to 1.4 million pounds of tails, or about 0.23% of domestic consumption.  By coincidence, the total worldwide production of farm-raised shrimp was almost the same as the total United States consumption, about 600 million pounds.”


“Statewide production of farm-raised shrimp in South Carolina amounted to 172,000 kilograms (whole weight) in 1987.  Semi-intensive and intensive producers accounted for 96% of the total production, but utilized only 8% of the total area.  Intensification played a role in the increased total production, although most of the increase resulted from construction of additional acreage.”


“The total area in semi-intensive production is expected to climb from the 1987 level of 69 hectares to roughly 85 hectares in 1988.  While this represents an increase of only about 23%, there will be a 80% to 100% increase in the number of farms as numerous small producers come on line.”


“There are three companies in South Carolina which have been actively soliciting financing for farms of about 40 hectares each—without success.  Their inability to obtain corporate financing is likely the result of a combination of factors including the presumed risk factor associated with shrimp farming and the state of the nation’s economy.”


“These corporate level economic impediments, however, do not dramatically impact the development of small, family-owned shrimp farms.  These family-owned operations seem to be the trend in further expansion of the industry in South Carolina for the next several years.  While there are economies of scale in shrimp farm development, the family-owned and operated farm also has an economic advantage due to reduced labor costs, the availability of small parcels of land and, in many cases, reduced construction costs by do-it-yourself entrepreneurs.”


“South Carolina’s Waddell Mariculture Center is constructing a two-hectare pond to further refine and demonstrate the intensification technology.  This pond will provide the Center with the opportunity to have complete control over the management of a truly commercial-scale production unit.  It was hoped this pond would be ready for the 1988 season, but delays in obtaining state government approval have placed the project behind schedule.”


Aeration: “Results to date include the determination that, at the horsepower-per-hectare rates required for intensive pond production of shrimp, complete mixing of the pond occurs in four to six hours, depending upon the design of the mixing equipment.  It has also been found that at these rates, direct oxygen transfer may account for only 5% of the total oxygen transfer (26 kg/hp/hr), the balance coming from diffusion across the entire pond surface.”


“With mixing accounting for such a large proportion of the oxygen transfer rate, there would appear to be a need for equipment designed to put more of the available energy into moving water, rather than splashing water.  Two prototype aerating/mixing devices have been designed and built to further test this hypothesis.  The first is a paddlewheel, much like traditional models yet turning at only half the normal speed (50 versus 100 rpm).  The rated horsepower is achieved through deeper paddle penetration which, in turn, moves more water.  The second prototype is designed to put all of the available energy into moving water.  It consists of a submerged propeller (.55 m diameter) which turns at 100 rpm without cavitating, or entraining air.”


Reducing The Cost of Nursery Systems: “Enclosing...a pond in a building or even a traditional agricultural greenhouse is quite expensive.  Therefore, a plastic skin, stronger than greenhouse covering, was placed over the pond and inflated with air pressure, thus eliminating the metal framing of a typical greenhouse.  The edges of the plastic sheet are buried in a trench surrounding the pond.  An air blower is used to increase the interior pressure to about one-half inch of water pressure above that of the atmosphere.  Adjustable vents on the cover and a bypass valve from the blower maintain the proper pressure differential.”


“The plastic covering traps solar radiation and generally maintains temperatures within the greenhouse 5° to 6° C higher than adjacent uncovered ponds.  Unseasonably cold and overcast weather, however, can allow temperatures to fall to critical levels on occasion, so a source of supplemental heat must be available.”


“Operating costs of fossil fuel (electricity, gas, oil) heating systems are prohibitively expensive.  Therefore, an alternative method of maintaining temperature with ground water was developed.  The pond is initially filled with high salinity water and the temperature allowed to rise to the solar-assisted ambient before stocking.  If severe weather causes temperatures to fall to critical levels (<18oC), a layer of freshwater from a well is pumped into the pond.  The groundwater has a year-round temperature of 20.5°C.  The freshwater, with lower specific gravity, remains on the surface thus stratifying the water column and insulating the seawater below.  Under such conditions, it is not uncommon for the surface temperature to be several degrees lower than the bottom temperature.  The condition is maintained as long as the delta-t values are different.  Some mixing of the fresh and seawater occurs, but the severe weather conditions pass before salinities are reduced to critical levels.  After the weather has moderated, the freshwater is drained off the surface (to the extent possible) and replaced with seawater before aeration/mixing is resumed.”


“Using these water management techniques, Penaeus vannamei have been stored at the Waddell Mariculture Center in uncovered outdoor ponds throughout an entire winter with 54% survival.  By incorporating the inflated cover, it was found that temperatures sufficient for head-starting juveniles four to eight weeks before the normal pond stocking date are possible.”


Polyculture: “The 0.1 hectare pond which was stocked with shrimp at a density of 100 per square meter during the 1987 season also contained 27,000 oysters which had been set on 1,350 collector sticks.  This pond produced a Waddell Mariculture record of 12,680 kilograms per hectare of shrimp.  The oysters’ spat were stocked in early July and have now grown to an average size of over 60 mm.  An interesting, yet unexplained phenomena, is that the pond oysters are completely free of infection by the fungus Perkinsus marinus,  which is normally present and a major cause of mortality in the oyster population of local estuaries.  Expansion of research in the area of oyster bi-culture is planned for 1988.  In addition, several of the commercial shrimp aquaculturists are already adopting the technology and putting test plots of oysters on their farms.”

Private Sector Activities


Semi-intensive Farms Operating in 1987


1. Edisto Shrimp Company (13.7.13, 120 acres), David Cannon, P.O.
Box 39, Edisto Island, SC 29438 (1-803-869-3675).

2. Palmetto Aquaculture (40 acres), Dana Dunkelberger, P.O.
Box 11729, Columbia, SC 29211 (1-803-799-6716).

3. Richardson Plantation (2.5 acres), Bobby Ellis, Route 2, Box 187
Green Pond, SC 29446 (1-803-844-8587 & 1-803-844-8504).

4. Sand Creek Shrimp Farm (11 acres), Marion (Buddy) Stone,
505 Ocean Blvd., Isle of Palms, SC 29451 (1-803-886-6349 and

5. Toogoodoo Plantation (7 acres), Bruce Martin, P.O. Box 518,
Hollywood, SC 29449 (1-803-889-2622).



Semi-Intensive Shrimp Farms Expected To Be Operating in 1988


1. CLP Trading, Inc. (10 acres, under construction), Cesar Pangalangan,
112 South Lemacks Street, Walterboro, SC 29488 (1-803-549-6702).

2. Huspa Plantation (20 acres, under construction), Dick Stansell, P.O.

Box 315, Sheldon, SC 29941 (1-803-846-4265).

3. Seafare, Inc. (35 acres, under construction), Tom Cox, P.O. Box 1505
Murrells Inlet, SC 29576 (1-803-651-0204).

4. TBS, Inc. (5 acres), Tony Sturgill, P.O. Box 354E, Ridgeland, SC 29936

5. Tullifinny River Company (16 acres), David Janney, Route 2, Box 830, Coosawhatchic, SC 29912 (1-803-726-8231 and 1-803-726-8311).



Semi-Intensive Farms in The Planning Stage


1. Alantec Seafarms, Inc. (50 acres, soliciting financing), Frank Taylor,
P.O. Box 1052, 432 Coleman Blvd., Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464 (1-803-884-3137).

2. David Belanger (100 acres, soliciting financing), Sullivans Island,
SC (1-803-883-3546).

3. Edisto Mariculture (4 acres, planning hatchery), Allen Wannamaker,
8762 Peters Point Road, Edisto Island, SC 29438.

4. John Maskell (30 acres, soliciting financing), 1122 Darwin Street,
Charleston, SC 29412 (1-803-795-6104).

5. RPI International, Inc. (104 acres, soliciting financing), Bruce French,
P.O. Box 328, Columbia, SC 29202.


Sources: 1. Summary of shrimp farming research and development efforts in South Carolina during 1987. Steve Hopkins. Waddell Mariculture Center. April 18, 1988.  2. Shrimp farming in the United States. Steve Hopkins. Waddell Mariculture Center. Presented at the Shellfish Institute of North America and the National Blue Crab Industry Association Combined Annual Convention, Charleston, South Carolina, February 28 to March 2, 1988.  3. List of private sector farms, received from Steve Hopkins on May 2, 1988.  4. Updated by Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International, May 29, 2017.

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