Our technology advantages extend well beyond eliminating limitations our competitors face: it yields ten times the shrimp productivity. It also eliminates chemicals and germs that degrade and destroy the natural taste of shrimp. It enables shrimp to grow out faster, making it practical to sell jumbo and colossal sized shrimp that command twice the price of commodity size shrimp. It produces fresh shrimp with a shelf life of several days, compared to the usual twenty-four to thirty-six hours that shrimp last after thawing. Jumbo and colossal sizes currently make up around 4% of import tonnage, but 8% of import revenues. Colossal size shrimp are in constant shortage. Open pen farms cannot economically grow these sizes, easily.
Our professional and experienced management has recruited a group of world leading aquaculture scientists to our advisory board and established affiliations with three top academic institutions in this field.
In 2005, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Global estimated the global shrimp market at USD $40 billion and the U.S. market USD $5 billion, and growing at around 14%. We estimate the current U.S. market at $8 billion; returning to UN estimated growth levels post-recession. U.S. demand for organic food has gone mainstream in the last decade, growing from around $6 billion to $25 billion in 2010; USDA reports a “supply squeeze.” Florida Organic Aquaculture talks with established seafood distributors inform us that high margin shellfish are also in short supply in an industry characterized by commodity prices. The projected $22+ million output of this first facility represents a tiny fraction of fast-growing markets. We look forward to building additional plants to meet more of the unmet demand.
Thousands of “pen-and-pond” shrimp farms and fishermen currently serve the U.S. market. They are overwhelmingly small and independent operators; there are no major industry leading companies. A dwindling fishing fleet is increasingly unable to compete economically with shrimp farmers as fuel prices, ocean pollution, and dwindling stocks render hit-or-miss trawling obsolete. Small, crude fish farms that destructively cordon off sections of mangrove swamps along with farms based on manmade ponds produce the bulk of the world’s shrimp. Only two farms in the U.S. currently produce shrimp using modern recirculating water systems.
Zero-Exchange Aquaculture Technology
FOA will use its own specialized closed-loop, zero-exchange circulating water aquaculture system. This system retains, continuously monitors and treats the water within the system, virtually eliminating bio-waste or excess food discharge. It also protects the system from intakes of polluted water, prevents fish escapes and thus eliminates all need for antibiotics or chemicals used to combat disease. Recirculating aquaculture is a cleaner, greener, more sustainable method of shrimp production than the open water aquaculture systems; FOA’s system is the most sophisticated of these. It incorporates a number of additional technologies that have been used successfully elsewhere, but never all combined in a single production facility.
The FOA system is enclosed in greenhouse structures so that climatic controls can enable full production to continue year round. Year round grow out creates the opportunity to grow much larger shrimp and so to escape the snare of the commodity price pressures of imports. The greenhouses capture solar energy so abundant in Florida, keeping energy costs down. They also prevent pollutants and contaminants from entering from the atmosphere, acid rain and birds. Open shrimp farms are plagued by bird predation of the crop and bird droppings in the water.
Horizontal Integration Benefits
Horizontal integration involves the creation of a more natural aquatic eco-system through the introduction of complimentary animals and plants. These species naturally and gradually maintain water quality, reducing the necessity for human intervention to adjust the system. Horizontal integration can substantially increase revenues at low investment. FOA integrates oyster and Samphire production into its shrimp production to increase yields, diversify the product line and create a more self-sustaining, low waste process than monoculture allows.