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July 27, 2015


Ontario—First Shrimp Farm


                             Tracy, Paul and Brad Cocchio  


Aptly named, “First Ontario Shrimp” is the first commercial shrimp farm in the province, and most likely the farm that’s harboring a bacterium that causes unusual skin infections in humans that handle raw shrimp.  Preliminary lab reports suggest the infections are caused by the slow growing bacterium, Mycobacterium marinum.


Located in Campbellford, two hours east of Toronto, the indoor farm, owned by Paul and Tracy Cocchio, celebrated its first harvest in January 2015.  With a goal of 800 pounds a week, the Cocchio’s, with their son Brad, are finding ready buyers for their shrimp in local markets. So far, they’re only using half the facility’s 16-tank, 208,000-gallon capacity.  Paul says, “No one says no” to our shrimp.




The red tape involved in their undertaking was excessive.  To begin with, it took three years just to get the government to list “Pacific White Shrimp” as a species to be grown in Ontario.  Then, they had to conduct a lengthy study that proved the salt water species could not survive outside of the barn, for which, Tracy admits, they leaned heavily on the provincial aquaculture specialist, Steve Naylor.  Then it took another year to get all the heating, aeration, and filtration equipment shipped across the border, in addition to ensuring they would also be permitted to get shrimp feed.  “We tried all over Canada to get somebody to make us feed, but we don’t use enough for them to want to do it,” Paul said.  “We were stressed out thinking ‘are we going to get feed or not?’”, Tracy added.  Eventually, they learned they didn’t even need a permit to import shrimp feed.


Tracy said it was a good day when their first seedstock (in batches of 11,000) arrived from Florida.


Source: Country Guide.  From Raising Hogs to Farming Shrimp.  Amy Petherick.  April 13, 2015.

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