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November 23, 2014

United States

Florida Organic Aquaculture


Clifford Morris, Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Florida Organic Aquaculture, says his shrimp farm west of Fellsmere, Florida, not quite two years old, is a huge success, exceeding the most optimistic projections.  The demand for our shrimp “has exceeded our wildest expectations,” and now greatly outpaces the supply, said Morris.  “I lie in bed thinking how to ramp up production,” says Morris, who is putting together a $35-million expansion plan.  The current market for these “happy healthy crustaceans” includes large Florida distributors as well as local restaurants and, once a week, on-site consumers.


The state-of-the-art facility, located on 120 leased acres, produces one million pounds of shrimp annually in a totally enclosed and temperature-controlled environment.  The shrimp are raised in a huge, 4.2-acre building called a pod, which houses 20 giant oval raceways.  Each raceway contains 220,000 gallons of water and a half-million shrimp, sustained by colonies of bacteria called bioflocs, which occur naturally in the water and remove any pollutants, converting them into protein, which the shrimp then consume.


The original plan for the facility included a second pod, which is scheduled to begin construction in in January 2015.  This, however, won’t meet the ever-increasing demand.  “I am actively, aggressively, unrelentingly pursuing more capital in order to build additional pods,” Morris says.  Within the next 36 months, he hopes to raise $35 million to build six more pods, each producing one million pounds of shrimp annually.


How’s it going so far?


Good, says Morris.  Very good.


He’s been in talks with some of the biggest retailers and distributors in the state.  When promoting the concept a few years ago, Morris would show plans and drawings.  Now, he smiles, “the whole dynamic has changed.  Instead of me sitting with a piece of paper, I can say, ‘come, have a look.’”  When people tour the facility, says Morris, “so far, without exception, their jaws...drop, even the jaws of the hardcore cynics.”


Always dedicated to sharing the technology, Morris frequently emphasizes: “We do not want to displace local fishermen.  We want to displace imports.”


To that end, he plans an educational facility and has established a 501(c)3 foundation to help provide education and opportunities in aquaculture and hydroponics.


“Every business has its risks and challenges, and we’re not blind to them.  For the longest time I was running on fear, now we’re running on excitement.  We’ve turned the corner.  We sincerely believe we’re at the cutting edge of an aquaculture revolution in the USA.”


Information: Clifford Morris, Florida Organic Aquaculture, 15369 County Road 512, Fellsmere, Florida 32948, USA (phone 1-561-741-3000, fax 1-561-741-8000, email, webpage


Source:  Fellsmere Shrimp Farm “Exceeds” Optimistic Projections.  November 22, 2014.

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