Aquaponic shrimp farm shakes up the $45 billion industry

New technology permits shrimp farms in South Dakota and Minnesota to supply restaurants and stores throughout the Midwest. Aquaculture, especially shrimp farming, has fouled waters and wrecked habitats around the world, despite efforts by a handful of companies to follow sustainability practices. The industry, critical to countries in Southeast Asia, India and Latin America, contributes about $45 billion annually to the global economy. More than a thousand miles from the nearest ocean, Madison, South Dakota, probably doesn’t bring to mind tasty little crustaceans harvested from warm seas. 

That is changing, as a shrimp-growing “harbor complex” with an environmentally friendly design is slated for construction on Lake Madison, just west of the Minnesota state line and in the heart of corn, soy and cattle country. Trū Shrimp has developed a patented system that allows for vertical farming of the crustaceans in an environment that recreates ocean currents, and diners in Chicago may soon feast on shrimp raised on the prairie. The founders claim the shellfish are sustainably produced, in contrast with those from farms in Asia and Latin America where some have reputations for disease outbreaks, pollution and wetland destruction.

“When we started out we thought we might build a shrimp farm or two, but it became quite evident that we had the opportunity to build an entire industry here in the Midwest,” Michael Ziebell, Trū Shrimp president and CEO, said on a Boundless Impact Investing webinar. 

Read more at Karma Impact (Mark Shenk) 

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