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Dr. Tzachi Samocha’s New Book (2017) on Biofloc Shrimp Farming Can Be Downloaded from the World Aquaculture Society’s Webpage



                           Dr. Tzachi Samocha


In November 2016, Shrimp News interviewed Dr. Samocha about his career in shrimp farming and his new book:


Shrimp News: Where were you born?


Tzachi Samocha: In Israel, in 1945.  I attended elementary and secondary school in Israel and later received a Ph.D. from Israel’s Tel Aviv University.  My first job was head of a shrimp research unit at the National Center for Mariculture in Eilat, Israel, which is part of the Israel Oceanographic Limnological Research Institute.  I was there eight years, from 1980 to 1988.


Shrimp News: What species of shrimp were you working with in Israel?  Were you doing applied research or basic research?


Tzachi Samocha: We worked with Penaeus semisulcatus, P. japonicus and to a lesser extent with P. kerathurus.  We also did some work with P. monodon.  We did both applied and basic research, concentrating on nursery studies and larval rearing.


Shrimp News: Of those species, which ones showed the most promise for shrimp farming?


Tzachi Samocha: We weren’t able to get growth rates with any of those species that would have been good enough for commercial shrimp farming.  One of our best findings was that japonicus had a much better flavor profile than all the other species.


After doing shrimp research in Israel for eight years, I moved to the United States.  After two years of post-doctorial work at Texas A&M University, I accepted a position with the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, which is part of the Texas A&M University system and is now called Texas A&M Agricultural Research.  At the same time, I also started teaching at Texas A&M in Corpus Christi.


Shrimp News: When did you get into biofloc shrimp farming?


Tzachi Samocha: Around 2000.  We started working with intensive, flow-through nurseries, gradually converted them to zero-water-exchange nurseries.  After that, we began working with zero-water-exchange growout systems.


Shrimp News: You’ve retired from Texas A&M University.  You probably know more about shrimp biofloc farming than anyone in the world.  What do you plan to do in the future?  Do you plan to become a consultant?


Tzachi Samocha: I want to help people working with biofloc shrimp farming become successful.  I’m especially interested in helping the small producers in the United States that are struggling right now.  I’m also working with a large producer who’s working on a super-intensive, nursery system that has learned that when they get the best juveniles from a nursery system that they get better economic returns.  When they start with healthy, robust animals, they get far better performance in growout ponds.  I’m also working with a company on a large growout project.


I’m interested in transferring this technology to the private sector, and I’m really tired of the people who think they know the technology and take money from small investors for projects that have no chance of working.  For example, I don’t think you need to add a gram of carbon (in the form of sugar or molasses) to the system.  Some of these no-nothing, so-called experts tell farmers to keep adding carbon until they hit the wall, and then everything starts to crumble.  It’s very hard to make a profit using biofloc shrimp farming technology; I want to give everyone the very best chance of success, especially the mom-and-pop operations in the United States.





Shrimp News: I could have blindly chosen a page from anywhere in the book to give you an example of the book’s style and content because the clarity of the writing and the high-density of the data are consistent throughout the book.  The following excerpt is from the conclusion of Chapter 13, Economics of Super-Intensive Recirculating Shrimp Production Systems:


“Biofloc systems are becoming less expensive with better building material and economies of scale.  Construction costs can be reduced with different materials, techniques and scale.  For example, substituting greenhouse coverings for pre-engineered steel buildings results in substantial savings.  Substituting lined-bottomed raceways for concrete-slab bottoms and wood frames for block or poured concrete walls also reduce the initial investment.


The economies of scale are evident in the lower cost per unit area of larger raceways.  For raceways alone (no greenhouse covering), construction decreased from $47/m2 for a 268-m3 raceway to $31/m2 for a 1,000-m3 raceway.  Construction decreased from $1,052/m2 for six 40 m2 raceway/greenhouse units to $986/m2 for two 100-m3 units to $198/m2 for ten 500-m3 units.


Years of research have resulted in technically feasible biofloc systems.  Financial analyses demonstrate that their viability depends on production scale and losses from disease (Vibrio).  The 2013 research trials had production costs of $3.05 and $3.28/lb.  The 2014 trials assessed a possible new approach that involved raising postlarvae to 6.5 g and then restocking those for final growout to 20 g.  Vibrio outbreaks reduced survival in those trials to 76%, resulting in a very high production cost of $4.08/lb.


Mortality was the most important factor affecting the cost of production, net returns, net present value (NPV) and the internal rate of return (IRR).  Sensitivity analysis indicated that for the 5,000-m2-raceway/greenhouse complex, a 20% improvement in survival reduced the cost of production by $0.36/pound, increased NPV by $10.48 million and increased IRR by 13.7%.  Vibrio seems to be the most important disease affecting shrimp production in super-intensive systems, and its control needs to be the priority in commercial production.


While high production costs affect financial viability, selling price plays a key role in the final determination of economic viability.  Shrimp prices can be volatile.  From 2004 to 2011, prices were low, but rose quickly in 2012 to 2014 because of diseases in the shrimp-farming sector.  The higher prices make these recirculating systems much more viable and attractive investments.


Shrimp selling price varies with size.  In super-intensive greenhouse systems, producing more crops per year of smaller shrimp is more profitable than producing fewer crops (and quantity) of larger shrimp.  Marketing is a deciding factor in selecting the best size because niche markets may pay a very high premium for larger shrimp, especially if these are not readily available.


Those considering biofloc shrimp production must develop a business plan that integrates the biological, technical, physical and financial aspects required for a viable business.”



Publisher: The World Aquaculture Society.  ISBN: 978-1-888807-23-3, 2017.


Title: Design and Operation of Super-Intensive, Biofloc-Dominated Systems for the Production of Pacific White Shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei –The Texas A&M AgriLife Research Experience.


Editors: Tzachi M. Samocha, David I. Prangnell, Terrill R. Hanson, Granvil D. Treece, Timothy C. Morris, Leandro F. Castro and Nick Staresinic.


Contents: Everything you might want to know about biofloc shrimp farming in 368 pages with a Table of Contents, Index, References and Glossary, supplemented with appendices, and interspersed with graphic elements (pictures of farms, equipment, diagrams, raceways, shrimp anatomy and diseases), tables and links to Excel spreadsheets and videos.  To view everything that’s included in each of the above elements, CLICK HERE.



If You Are Not a Member of WAS,
Follow These Instructions to Purchase the Book


1. CLICK HERE.  You’ll arrive at a WAS page with a blue bar across the top containing a number of options.  Click on the word Publications.  A drop-down, two-column menu will appear.


2. On the right-hand side of the menu, you’ll see the word “Books” and under it the words “WAS Books”.  Click on WAS Books.


3. In the page that opens you’ll see the words “Featured Products” and right under it you’ll see Dr. Samocha’s book ($65): Design and Operation of Super-Intensive Biofloc-Dominated Systems for the Production of Pacific White Shrimp.  Click on the words “Add to Cart”.


4. On the page that opens, you’ll see a black bar across the top of the page that contains several words.  Make sure the whole page is visible, especially the right side of the page.  Under the word “Qty.”, enter the number of books you would like to purchase, and then click on “Checkout”.  You can ignore the “Estimated Shipping” form on the left side of the page because there are no shipping charges on this downloadable book.


5. On the page that opens, click on the words “Checkout as Guest” in the middle of the page, and fill in the name and address information.  Make sure your email address is accurate —and then click on “Continue”.


6. The “Shipping Address” page will open.  If you want the book emailed to a different address than the one that appears in the window, click on the downward-pointing black arrow at the end of the window and enter a new address.  Click on Continue.


7. Keep clicking on Continue until you complete the checkout process.  On the Shipping Method page, you can click any option because there is no charge for the download.


8. All Sales Are Final.  You will receive emails with receipts from WAS and your credit card company or PayPal.  You will also receive an email with a link and password to download the book in PDF format.  Click on the link to download the book.  You’ll received a file named something like this “image003.png”, and a zip file with two files in it.  Open the password file first and copy the code, then open the PDF and paste in that code after the book downloads.


If you run into ordering problems, contact: Carol M. Mendoza, Home Office Director, World Aquaculture Society, Louisiana State University, 143 J.M. Parker Coliseum, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70803, USA (email carolm@was.org, phone 1-225-578-3137, webpage www.was.org).


Additional Information: Tzachi Samocha, PHD, Professor Emeritus, Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Marine Solutions and Feed Technology, LLC, 4110 East Colt Shadow Lane, Texas 77386, USA (Phone 1-832-823-4223, Fax 1-253-390-6081, Skype tzachitx, Email tzachi.samocha@gmail.com and t-samocha@tamu.edu).


Source: Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International, June 17, 2017.

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