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January 22, 2016


More from Eric De Muylder on PL Quality and SIS


Unfortunately, I don’t produce postlarvae (PLs); I get them from Shrimp Improvement Systems (SIS) in Florida, USA.  I feel the main problem is with them, but they don’t want to admit it.  A lot of people have contacted me, not only from Europe, but also from indoor farms in the USA, saying they observe the same problem with the PLs they buy from SIS.  They don’t want to make this public because they are probably afraid that they will get cut off from their only supplier.


I came to the conclusion that it’s impossible to make money using PLs from SIS, so I don’t mind taking that risk.  I have been involved with several indoor shrimp farms in Europe.  Some of them have gone bankrupt because of bad results.  Some people think this technology is not economically feasible.  My conclusion is that the problem is not with the biofloc technology (or recirculating systems), but that it’s the reliability of PLs.


In the European Union, we can only import PLs from the United States.  I have no idea why this decision was made, but it probably had something to do with the risk of importing diseases.  Unfortunately, this gave a monopoly to SIS and made it impossible for us to compare seedstock from other sources.  SIS does not care about complaints because it knows that we have no other source of seedstock.


A responsible hatchery would be ashamed of selling low-quality postlarvae and would discard it.  But since most of us in Europe have no experience, SIS decided to sell to us anyway, thinking we don’t know any better.  Instead of making a serious effort to support this potential market, which is developing fast, they just decided to make a quick profit by selling bad-quality PLs at high prices ($15-25/1,000).


I tried to convince SIS to solve its problems and supply good batches of PLs, but instead it sent me a batch with PLs ranging from 7-9 mm.  And it was, by far, the best batch I received so far.


My conclusion is simple.  It is not feasible to do indoor shrimp farming in Europe with the present quality of PLs that we’re getting from SIS.  The reason I am speaking out on this is to inform other shrimp farmers in Europe that their bad results are not necessarily the result of their systems, water quality problems, lack of experience or startup problems.  I know some farmers are afraid to talk about it because it would mean admitting that their farm is not working as it should.  I invite other farmers to share their experience on this list, and if they don’t want to, they should at least let SIS know what they think.  Maybe SIS will finally realize its responsibility and make an effort to do a better job (at least if they have the knowledge to solve it)


Of course we need a hatchery in Europe, but it is the story of the chicken and the egg.  We need farms in Europe to make a commercial scale hatchery feasible, but there are not enough projects to support a hatchery because our results are not good enough yet.


Source: The Shrimp List (a mailing list for shrimp farmers).  Subject: Quality of PL11 and Subsequent growth.  Eric De Muylder.  January 22, 2016.

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