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December 6, 2013


Trans-Global Aquaculture Quits Shrimp Farming


After fighting to stay afloat for a dozen years, the owners of Trans-Global Aquaculture, Ltd., probably the largest shrimp farm in Jamaica, have decided to liquidate the farm after it was closed down over a year ago.   On a 1,600-acre site leased from the government, Trans-Global has 400 acres of shrimp ponds at the mouth of the Rio Minho River.  The farm, owned by an American company, Trans-Global Products, Inc., was plagued by thievery and water quality problems.


Former Trans-Global Aquaculture Manager Noel Thompson said he was brought into the company during its last two years of operation to help curtail financial problems.   Thompson, said the water quality problems were caused by a distillery dumping waste products into the Rio Minho River, from which the farm drew its water.  The wastes depleted the oxygen in the water, killing the shrimp.


What could have been a strategic location turned out to be handicap because thieves would enter the unfenced property from the river and help themselves to as much as 4,000 pounds of shrimp a night.  Thompson said the thievery took place continuously, adding that the owners employed several different security companies, but none was able to fully control the problem.  The local police were not much help either.  Thompson said, “I can’t put a total to it because so much was stolen, but I remember persons would tell me they had up to 2,000 pounds of shrimp in their freezers.  ...They would hold up the security guards and just take what they wanted.  After awhile the owner got so fed up he refused to come back to the island.”  There was also theft of equipment and other things like electrical cables.  Trans-Global had some success in prosecuted the thieves, but the larceny persisted despite convictions.


Vitus Evans, who is liquidating Trans-Global Aquaculture, says the company had current assets of $49 million and debts of $174 million, as of July 31, 2013.  Evans said, “At the time when I took over the liquidation process they had already paid all their creditors and made their staff redundant, since it was a voluntary liquidation.  They did all their payments before it came to me.”  The greater portion of the company’s assets, which included pumps, processing plant equipment and tractors, were sold to overseas entities.


Trans-Global Aquaculture employed 250 people on the farm and in the processing plant.  The final 32 workers were cut a year ago when the company collapsed from the weight of its losses.  The 50-year lease on the land was also terminated.


The owner of the farm, Trans-Global Products, Inc., has been in business since 1982.  In the United States, it specializes in pasteurized crabmeat and a frozen fish fillets.


Source: The Gleaner.  Frustrated Out of Business - American Investor Locks Down Shrimp Farm and Heads Home.  Tameka Gordon (email  December 6, 2013.

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