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April 28, 2014
Hawaii—Kona Bay Marine Resources—Name Change
Jim Sweeney, president of Sunrise Capital’s shrimp farm on the island of Hawaii, reports: Our broodstock are known as Kona Bay. The farmed shrimp is known as Kauai Shrimp. The entire Kauai operation is known as Sunrise Capital, Inc. (the original name of the operation when we bought it), which is wholly owned by our parent company, Integrated Aquaculture International. To simplify these company names, we are in the process of rebranding our parent company as iAqua and our Kauai operation as iAqua (Kauai). Our Brunei operation with black tiger shrimp on the island of Borneo is already called iAqua (Borneo).
Grist, “a source of intelligent, irreverent environmental news and commentary that’s been around since 1999, when the Internet was made of rubber bands”, recently posted a long article by Amelia Urry on iAqua’s farm in Hawaii. Here are some excerpts from that article.
The farm is only operating at half-capacity at the moment, but it has started restocking the old ponds now that many of the particulars of the new business model have been worked out.
Instead of churning out frequent crops of smaller shrimp, the farm decided to devote more time and resources to growing bigger shrimp, which could be sold as “sashimi grade” for a higher price, especially in Japanese specialty stores.
The surface of each pond is blotted with a swirling, brownish algal bloom—“biofloc,” an oxygenated microbial mix that is much more wholesome than it looks. Instead of settling at the bottom of the tank to decompose anaerobically, organic matter circulates constantly through the pools, supplementing the shrimps’ diet and fertilizing the algae, which in turn oxygenates the water. Some of the ponds even support a second crop, algae-filtering clams, that grow on cages near the surface of the water.
As a result of this recirculation, the farm uses significantly less water than it used to. While Sunrise Capital has a permit to discard up to 30 million gallons of water a day, right now, with half the farm running, it only drains about a million gallons. That’s five percent of its total volume, though Sweeney says the goal is to end up at zero water exchange.
The effluent from the ponds is funneled into a sandy-bottomed drainage trench behind the farm, where saltwater tilapia feed on the organic matter as the water gradually settles out. The tilapia, along with some grouper and Hawaiian moi stocked in test ponds, are more culinary experiment than cash crop, but they might point a way toward a more diverse, integrated aquaculture ecosystem of the future.
At the farms nutrition center, several rows of raised tubs hold shrimp in different feed trials. To address the challenge of replacing fish meal in shrimp feed, researchers have turned to vegetable proteins or animal byproducts or even algae-based feeds. Sunrise Capital received a grant from the Soy Bean Association to see if it would be possible to raise shrimp on an all-soy diet. Sweeney explains that the farm has even found a genetic component that makes some shrimp more successful on the fishmeal-free diets than others.
There is still some fish meal and fish oil left in the commercial feed that Sunrise Capital feeds to its stock. The more fish oil, the more omega-3s the shrimp will have to pass on. This, too, can be controlled by replacing the fish meal for most of the shrimp’s growing period, then turning up the fish oil during the finishing period—the last four weeks of growth before the shrimp are harvested.
Shrimp News: I had some questions about the Grist article, so I contacted Jim Sweeney, President of Kauai Shrimp for more information, and he reported:
Bob, I copied you on the answers to some of the follow up questions the reporter sent us after her visit. They address your question about the Kona Bay name and the overall ownership.
We are the third largest shrimp broodstock supplier in Asia, behind CP Thailand and CP Indonesia (owners of SIS). Last year we shipped 209,000 broodstock to Asia. We are working on EMS resistance and have a new line of whitespot resistant shrimp that will be ready in early 2015.
Our farm facility and breeding center are on hydropower, which really is a big deal on the eco-friendly list of good things to do!
We are studying high soy diets with no fishmeal. We’re working with shrimp families that grow well on this zero fishmeal, a “veggie diet”. We also have an active algae culture program with our own strains of Chaetoceros and Thallassiosira (diatoms), but this is mainly for feeding larval shrimp in the hatchery. We have also done trials with mass production of Chlorella (green algae) in our growout ponds for bioenergy.
Currently, 80% of our revenue comes from broodstock sales and 20% from processed farmed shrimp. By the end of this year, we expect it to be closer to 50:50, due to expanding shrimp production from our ponds.
Some of Kauai Shrimp’s Personnel
Dr. George Chamberlain, Director
Jim Sweeney, President
Bill Dunwell, Hatchery Manager
Bonnie Mulligan, Manager, Feed Research Project
Robert Kanna, Farm Manager
Dr. Richard Towner, Geneticist
Information: George Chamberlain, Kauai Shrimp, 4111 Telegraph Road, Suite 302, St. Louis, Missouri 63129, USA (1-314-492-5058, mobile: 314-607-8466, email firstname.lastname@example.org, webpage http://www.integratedaquaculture.com).
Sources: 1. Grist. Is There a Sustainable Future for America’s Most Popular Seafood? Amelia Urry. April 24, 2014. 2. Email to Shrimp News International from Jim Sweeney. Subject: Quick Question. April 27, 2014.
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