Pirates ahoy….

News from Ecuador about prawn robberies.

Who remembers the one about a group of Colombians who came onto a shrimp farm in Guayas. Held everyone hostage and systematically harvest all the shrimp over several days.

Shrimp was cleared through iffy processors. After all back then, and maybe even now, not hard to launder shrimp through system

It made everyone rethink their security.



To be prawn under a wondering star…Ecuadorian shrimp genetics.

You’ve all seen the recent news that has arisen about Hendrix investment with Nutreco into Ecuador.

Wonder, will or should Hawaiian SPF breeders be allowed into Ecuador? Guess no harm as long as not obliged to use. BUT if they grow faster?

Not to worry the Ecuadorian growout industry already upping the game with local shrimp, bred, like in SE Asia for growth over survival.

What happens when SPF come out of facility – since growout system design is not containment. Is it then genetics. Of course, yes.

Marks & Spencers supermarkets testing DNA in shrimp. Link back to broodstock origin. Means traceability and exclusions and limitations too.

Could lead to some interesting claims.

But, the historic source of Kona Bay exotic Pacific white vannamei strain? Has it been genetically manipulated, enhanced, edited? Or just selected.

Does this project in Ecuador join George Chamberlain, from IAI, and president of GAA (the BAP program) with Jose Villalon, CSR at Nutreco, who managed the rival WWF dialogues (the ASC program).

Macrobio was the hatchery for the Benji Rosales/Caterpillar Ecuador shrimp group operation. However understand the processing and export is now separate from the growout farming. Target quality market headson China.

The hatchery was designed by Dan Lee (BAP GAA) and had HLB setup the algae department. Carol Cozzi, now growing seahorses, the larvae culture. Many notable locals on team still in industry.

Prawnmaster moves into processing shrimp….

In 1991 I returned to Ecuador, and decided to start in the downstream post harvest shrimp industry.

I went to work for Sopesca. Backed by Filanbanco and under a different name, for many years it was the biggest exporter of shrimp from Ecuador.

US markets though became awkward to access and the factory was idle.

Co-packing became an option explored for the “relatively” new and growing headson export to France. Prior to that it was a green tails to US industry.

My brief was business development and liaison with markets.

We copacked for a French organisation and one day had a visit from JB, the president of ENACA looking for space to process while their factory was rebuilt.

JB was a Scottish flying accountant working for David Clarke. Lord Hanson’s and White’s US operation.

Purchased from Unilever it included Marine Harvest Salmon and National Protein (ENACA group) in shrimp.

As is investments, IPO’s, spin-offs, divestures were part and parcel of the times. Ground Round restaurants, Tommy Armour golf clubs and a tuna processor in Long Beach went into USI.

Headhunted locally I was initially put into policing systems against a checklist for all farms. I disagreed with the husbandry methods and tvhe SOPs in place – and could not work with the technical director Jose Villalon ( now CSR Nutreco) on production and operations.

The MHI group were putting together an IPO. Charley Woodhouse as President and John Mistretta was CEO. They asked me if I would like to run the processing and packing plant supporting JB in Ecuador.

I jumped at the opportunity.

We hatched a plan to go to value addition for the US market – saving large labour costs ( cheaper to peel in Ecuador the BOH USA), efficiency in logistics costs (export the meat not shell = 15% less volume but higher price…more later), increase in quality control AND food safety.

An easy sell into US and UK.

I was told to produce to maximum efficiency and quality. Standardize operations. Our marketing / sales division in US had to adapt to the value added commodity exports.

Touch down in Ecuador

Having been interviewed and selected by David Currie and contracted by Morrison Grain out of Hastings, Nebraska, a larval prawnmaster arrives from Europe to work on the Granmar shrimp farm.

Picked up at airport by Charlie Kettering. Son of Ron Kettering,