Marine Shrimp Aquaculture
The University of Southern Mississippi Thad Cochran Marine Aquaculture Center supports acceleration of United States- and Mississippi-based marine shrimp farming industries. The Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL), which is administered by the University, is a charter member of the U.S. Marine Shrimp Farming Program.
Under this program USM-GCRL has developed a national and international reputation as a center for research and development of closed-system production systems. The marine shrimp farming research project at the GCRL:
- employs six full time people,
- attracts graduate and postgraduate students for advanced study, and
- provides technical support for the national marine shrimp farming industry.
The GCRL has developed a leadership role in closed-system water-reuse shrimp culture and reproduction research and has transferred aspects of that technology for use in commercial seed production facilities.
- The U.S. demand for shrimp increases at an annual rate of more than 10% per year.
- More than 85% of the marine shrimp consumed in the United States is imported.
- Importation of foreign shrimp results in an annual trade deficit in shrimp of more than $3.2 billion.
- With the U.S. production of shrimp from the wild harvest constant for many years, development of a domestic shrimp farming industry offers the only potential to offset the shrimp trade deficit.
- The worldwide shrimp farming industry is plagued by diseases and unsustainable farming practices.
- Development of next-generation culture systems is necessary for the U.S. to develop a responsible shrimp farming industry.
Marine Shrimp Aquaculture at GCRL
- Since 1985 the GCRL has been involved in the development of culture of the marine Pacific white shrimp, Litopenaeus vannamei.
- In the early 1990s GCRL developed a closed maturation-reproduction system that is fast becoming the industry standard
- In 1997 GCRL designed a commercial-scale, next-generation culture facility based on 10 years of research in small-scale closed-system shrimp culture systems.
- In 2004 GCRL constructed the commercial-scale, next-generation culture facility.
Next Generation Facility
- Twelve tanks in six greenhouses
- Tanks are 100m2 in area and can hold 50-80 m3 of water that can be adjusted to any salinity.
- Zero water exchange utilizing floc bio-filtration technology for ammonia control allowing long term water reuse
- A unique weir and chute system allow for efficient harvesting of the shrimp. The tanks can be completely drained in five minutes.
- Harvest water is diverted to one of two retention ponds for remediation and reuse.
- Two crops per year can be produced without supplemental heating. During the past season the first crop was grown for 16 weeks with survival of 62%. production was 530 pounds per tank of 19-gm heads-on shrimp (21 – 25 count). The second crop was grown for 12 weeks with survival of 80%. Production was 350 pounds per tank of 12-gm heads-on shrimp (36 – 40 count).
- Dr. Jeffrey M. Lotz, Head
- John T. Ogle, Shrimp Aquaculture Manager
- Casey Nicholson, Shrimp Aquaculture Technician
- Bonnie Seymour, Shrimp Aquaculture Technician
- James Ballard, Shrimp Aquaculture Technician and M.S. student