"Mitigating Production and Environmental Costs in Shrimp Farming with the Use of Bio-floc Production Technology"

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2011: $15,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2011
Region: Western
State: Northern Mariana Islands
Principal Investigator:


  • Animals: shellfish


  • Animal Production: feed/forage
  • Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity
  • Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems, sustainability measures

    Proposal summary:

    Production of marine shrimp, Litopenaeus vannamei, is an ideal aquaculture enterprise in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) because of the high farm gate price of $8.00 a pound for fresh shrimp in the local market. At this price, farmers have a fighting chance of sustaining their operation. With production cost at 50% of the farm gate price, farmers can still realize a profit in their operation. Recent changes, however, such as the hike in the price of energy and imported feed as a result of the global rise in fuel cost, have already started to eat into farm profits and shrimp farming in the CNMI may no longer be feasible and sustainable. As a result, farmers will need to explore innovative and sustainable production methods that take into account the high price of energy and feed and look for ways to minimize them to save their farms. Shrimp production that utilizes Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS), which is the only viable production system given the small islands in the CNMI and their fragile environment, is inherently energy dependent and, thus, costly to operate. Producing marine shrimp using the Bio-floc system may make it possible for shrimp farmers in the CNMI to once again turn a profit in their farms and sustain their enterprise. Bio-floc shrimp production involves reducing the need for external mechanical filtration, which contributes to the high energy cost for RAS and utilizes instead biological agents like beneficial bacteria in the Lactobacillus family, that not only breaks down organic matter in the tank but also serves as a source of nutrition for the shrimp and thus reduces feed cost.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    I. Lower energy and feed cost for shrimp farmers in the CNMI

    II. As a result of the cost savings, improve profits and therefore sustain the farms

    III. Promote sustainable agriculture practices such as Bio-floc shrimp production technology

    IV. Educate other shrimp farmers locally and regionally

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.