Texas-based NaturalShrimp has closed on a land-based aquaculture facility in Iowa that will allow it to significantly ramp up production. Courtesy pho
RAS shrimp producer may have found its field of dreams
Wednesday, January 27, 2021, 07:00 (GMT + 9)
The following is an excerpt from an article published by the Global Aquaculture Advocate:
After a devastating fire at its Texas facility, NaturalShrimp rebounds, rebuilds, expands and now seeks a public listing
To say the least, NaturalShrimp has gone through eventful times since the last time the Advocate came calling. At the beginning of 2020, the brash aquaculture company had a near-death experience.
Toward the end of the year, though, the Dallas-based company had acquired assets in Webster City, Iowa, that would make it the largest RAS (recirculating aquaculture system) shrimp company, in terms of square footage, in the United States. The site was formerly a barramundi (Asian sea bass, Lates calcarifer) facility operating as VeroBlue Farms.
And by late December, NaturalShrimp inked a deal with Ecoponex Systems to bring RAS shrimp production to Puerto Rico, with the project potentially supplying as much as 17 percent of an estimated local shrimp demand of 3.5 million pounds a year. Further growth for the company could come when NaturalShrimp lists on NASDAQ, expected in early 2021.
“We’re going to be able to raise a lot of capital that will allow us a massive expansion. Our expansion will be worldwide,” Gerald Easterling, president and CEO, told the Advocate.
From the ashes
The outlook was far cloudier on March 18, 2020 when NaturalShrimp’s production facility in La Coste, Texas, suffered a devastating fire. “There was a point in time when I looked at it and said, ‘We are out of business,’” Easterling recalled.
However, GHS Investments, NaturalShrimp’s financing partner, stuck with them and provided funds that, along with insurance proceeds, enabled the rebuilding of the La Coste plant, with stocking and full production of shrimp beginning in 2021. The rebuilt plant, according to Easterling, is state-of-the-art, with an all gravity-flow system utilizing vertically configured 10-foot tall tanks. That height results in more production per square foot than other facilities, which typically have shorter tanks.
One reason for the company’s resilience is its patented RAS technology, which sends a low-wattage electric current through the water, strong enough to remove contaminants but low enough as to not impact the shrimp. In what Easterling explained was an electrocoagulation process, the current can cause charged particles to collect at an electrode or it may force them to settle at the bottom of the tank. Some electrode materials can create chlorine gas from the salt in the water, with the gas then reacting with contaminants and thus allowing their easy removal.(continued...)
Author: Hank Hogan / Global Aquaculture Advocate: | Read the full article by clicking the link here