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December 24, 2013


Profitability of RAS Systems


Durwood M. Dugger ( When you combine theft losses, diseases that might be averted with a closed (and biosecure) environment and the multi-crop advantage of temperature controlled, year-round production without seasonal growth slumps due to low temps (common even in the tropics with equatorial dry seasons), the additional capital for recirculation aquaculture systems (RAS) seems economically justified in the long term.


Matt Briggs ( Hi Durwood, could you tell us whether there are any commercially operating and viable recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) systems producing shrimp for the market place anywhere in the world right now?  The idea is nice, but is it actually a commercial reality?


Durwood M. Dugger ( Hi Matt, there are scores of small RAS systems producing shrimp for the market place.  Are they producing the kinds of quantities that are likely to interest institutional investors—probably not?  Are they profitable?  I’m guessing, but that is highly questionable by most standard business analyses, but there may be a few.  Bottom line—I don’t know.


My point regarding RAS is that given the risk factors of open ponds, perhaps it’s time to look at the more capital intensive, but more secure controlled environment systems.  Aquaculture systems aren’t very capital sensitive, but aquaculture investors have been very sensitive to capital thresholds traditionally.  It’s my opinion that this is specifically where and what limits RAS investment and development at the scales necessary to be competitive (vertically integrated) with open pond systems.


Source: The Shrimp List (a mailing list for shrimp farmers).  Subject: Australia ($Billion), Jamaica (Second Farm Quits), USA (Iowa).  December 21, 2013.

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