Shrimp RAS – exclusion or containment systems…..

In an ideal world bio-security means living in a bubble. That is fine and is the premise of the SPF term.

Current RAS shrimp grow out technologies however rely on exclusion biosecurity measures. Not completely living in a bubble at all.

Even in current RAS water effluents are allowed if abide to regulatory standards in location. Air effluent, as systems are run on positive air pressure (air/oxygen bubbled into water), are not controlled.

So now lets take a look from an external perspective NIMBY viewpoint…..positive pressure means that there seems to be some air escaping….and standards for water to waste means some discharge allowed. Hang on though…not really biosecure at all – maybe for protecting the crop but not for the environment where the facility is placed. Especially if growing exotics.

Containment RAS systems are such that there are no wastes at all. No water and no air. Nothing to the external environment except for the harvested protein……and even then that needs to be bio-securely delivered and cooked prior to eating.

Containment RAS therefore is a barrier to entry and exits technology whereas exclusion RAS technology (the current state of play) is just a barrier to entries.

Is containment RAS a possibility in shrimp growout?

What benefits are there? Better biosecurity for the environment? Diseases become secondary to growth? Other shrimp apart from vannamei become of interest?

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Nursery ponds to save RAS shrimp project.

A technology to manage risk that was originally developed at Granmar shrimp farm in Ecuador in the early 1980’s to overcome seasonality issues with wild seed and make sure that any problems are caught early on in culture so that remedial action could be taken accordingly and losses minimized is now being implemented in an advanced RAS system in the US.

NaturalShrimp, Inc. Announces Lifting of Quarantine at its La Coste, Texas,

Australian import of SPF Monodon disallowed – rightly so

Agree totally with ACPF submission on their review of

‘Environmental Assessment Report – Import of Specific Pathogen Free Penaeus Monodon Into Australia’

Specifically that the importation of live P. monodon from countries with past disease outbreaks is seen as a risky venture.

The QSIA report “the List of Specimens taken to be Suitable for Live Import (Live Import List) in the Australia Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) to include specific pathogen free (SPF) black tiger prawns Penaeus monodon for the purposes of prawn aquaculture development.”

The proposal specifically intends to:

  • import live Penaeus monodon broodstock from certified disease free hatcheries in Thailand or Hawaii into an Australian quarantine facility (never to leave the facility).
  • the next generation be moved, after testing, to hatcheries and/or farms for grow out as commercial stock.

Seen from a bio-security angle this is the type of thinking from within the industry.

Agree totally with also with ACPF needing some sort of confidence building about bio-security.

The above does not go far enough….the two points require commenting on:

  • if Australian quarantine facility why the need for certified free? Is that for some sort of genetic advantage?
  • next generation better never to leave a quarantined, bio-secure facility until harvested and preferably value added (cooked). Containment over exclusion and limitation.

So can a new proposal be made based around RAS technology – which is also more land and environment friendly, that can also be true organic, even bio-diverse, urban and technologically advanced:

“the List of Specimens taken to be Suitable for Live Import (Live Import List) in the Australia Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) to include black tiger prawns Penaeus monodon for the purposes of prawn aquaculture development. The proposal specifically intends to:

  • import live Penaeus monodon broodstock from any source into an Australian quarantine facility (never to leave the facility); and
  • the next generation be kept in a quarantine facility (never to leave the facility) for grow out as commercial stock.
  • commercial stock for human consumption will be harvested and sterilized to a value added offering prior to leaving chain-of-custody facility”

Shrimp bio-security. Regulators – don’t flush RAS shrimp down the toilet…chose system over program.

This reminds me my dealings from 1994 when processing, packing and exporting branded shrimp out of Ecuador for Marine Harvest International and where we test ran the NASA human food program of the proposed USFDA HACCP seafood system at commercial international trade level and then rolled it out countrywide prior to becoming US Law 1997. HACCP in food went global from space technology and we just celebrated its 20th anniversary.

A shrimp farmer likes to hear about bio-security programs. It is a way to keep shrimp healthy, by exclusion and limitation as expounded upon by Robins McIntosh of CP at WAS in March 2019.

Yes, we all want this to work to stop the need to medicate in the industry and to move against possible anti microbial resistance (AMR) but when asked about bio-security a non shrimp farmer, and that is the majority of people on this planet, will say containment – so that there are no escapees or anything coming out of the system that could affect their back yard….yes NIMBY’s are a major barrier to RAS.

If I knew a system was RAS bio-secure in the sense of being regulated for containment then I do not see the need why one would need to regulate on a program for exclusion and limitation as is the current case.

I would not care whether you used origin SPF, SPR, APE or run with chimpanzees. I would not worry if ultrafiltration, PCR or flushing shrimp toilets were used – as long as they did not flush out.

Regulators should look at the systems rather than the programs when legislating food for human consumption. In this case regarding biosecurity across biodiversity. Human, food, shrimp… probably in that order.

In aquaculture they turn to the likes of the OIE and large players, like CP, to get their guidance and then vested interests could be kicking in.

Then again if I had spent somewhere upwards of $200m on a shrimp genetic program, as CP has supposedly done, I too would be looking at how to get some mileage by raising the bar, lobbying, putting in barriers to entry, CSR, ethics, the lot.

Media access and PR has its role in a modern business. Anyway who else but shrimp farmers like listening to shrimp farmers.

My recommendation though is to promote RAS to be bio-secure in containment and not to think bio-security is just about exclusion or limitation which, lets face it, is more the responsible, face the shareholder, shrimp husbandry management part.

Regulate the system as if a permanent quarantine and containment site while they grow. Don’t try to regulate on shrimp genetics, shrimp origin, shrimp diseases, shrimp feeds or shrimp culture methods used as you would stifle growth and innovation. If RAS bio-secure containment sites then these are commercial considerations and each to his own. Do regulate on antibiotics, allowed additives and food safety post aquaculture.

Oh and don’t allow movement or sales of live shrimp out of bio-secure RAS systems….in yes, and from anywhere! but out alive no!

RAS in the USA – shrimply hum the tune…

RAS systems have been in commercial operation for decades in Denmark (in the eel industry for example).

Not just two options for discharge in “the catch” but of course leads to the proffered solution……..

Article here