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July 17, 2015

United States

Iowa—Sherlock Shrimp


The Ridgeway Elementary School in Ridgeway, Iowa, has been transformed into a shrimp farm—Sherlock Shrimp, owned by Sherill Ryan.  She has installed 40 aboveground swimming pools in the school and stocked them with postlarvae obtained from a hatchery in the Florida Keys.


Sherlock Shrimp sells live shrimp for cash from its on-site store.  It’s open for retail sales Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.


The school was transformed into an aquatic farm by tearing down walls, beefing up the electrical capacity, spray-foaming the walls to accommodate a warm, moist environment and building the store inside the main entrance of the school.


The bulk of the school and the gym are filled with aboveground swimming pools.   The Ryans kept a few class rooms intact, to provide meeting areas so that shrimpers from the tri-state area can meet and share their successes, failures, ideas and tips regarding water quality, feeding strategies and tiered raceways or pools.


 Ryan said: “We took an old building and turned it into a business that employs local people and supplies local people.”  The company tries to recycle everything.  “We want to focus on sustainability.  There is no waste.  City water was used to fill the pools, but we don’t discharge any water into the city’s sewer.  We filter and reuse everything.”


Of the 40 pools, the smaller ones hold about 1,710 gallons of water and the bigger ones hold about 3,600 gallons.  “The way we operate the business, we use significantly less water than the school did,” said Jeff Ryan, Sherill’s husband.


The water in the pools is kept at 85 degrees, to provide the best environment for growth.  The salt-water pools are covered with bubble wrap to cut down on evaporation and to conserve heat.  Each pool has its own heater and automatic feeding system.


No chemicals are added to the water, just natural ingredients, like molasses, which encourages the development of bioflocs, which, in turn, remove nitrogenous wastes from the water and provide an addition source of feed for the shrimp.  Shrimp shed their shells as they grow new ones, and feed on the old shells for the calcium.


A sample of 10 shrimp from each pool is weighed twice a week, to help in calculating the feed intake.  When they weigh 18 grams or more, they are ready to be sold, approximately 25 shrimp to the pound.  The shrimp are sold live.  The company does not process any of its shrimp.


Information: Jeff and Sherill Ryan, Sherlock Shrimp, 435 County Street, Ridgeway, Iowa 52165, USA (phone 1-563-379-0514, email


Source:  Sherlock Shrimp, Elementary, My Dear.  Marcie Klomp.  July 15, 2015.

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