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

Project Overview

FW11-002
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:

Commodities

  • Animals: shellfish

Practices

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

    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. Recent changes, however, like 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. This may make tshrimp farming in the CNMI no longer feasible and sustainable. As a result, farmers will need to explore innovative and sustainable production methods that takes into account the high energy and feed cost and look for ways to minimize them to save the farms. Shrimp production, especially one that utilizes Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS), which is the only viable production system given these small islands and their fragile environment, is inherently energy dependent and, thus, costly to operate. Producing 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 high-energy cost for RAS and instead utilizes 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:

    • Lower energy and feed cost for shrimp farmers in the CNMI
    • As a result of the cost savings, improve profits and therefore sustain the farms
    • Promote sustainable agriculture practices such as shrimp Bio-floc production technology
    • 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.