Archive for November 2011

SINCE the 1980s, the United States has increasingly depended on other nations for shrimp production. As scientists have struggled to find a way to increase yields, they have turned to a technology in which shrimp are farmed indoors in large, rectangular tubs of water, laid out side by side.

But this method, known as “raceways” technology, does not produce enough seafood to be very cost-effective. That’s because only so many tubs can fit in a confined space, requiring a huge facility to produce a large number of shrimp. Given the limitations, importing shrimp has remained far cheaper than farming them here.

Agricultural experts were stymied until Addison L. Lawrence, a scientist at the Texas AgriLife Research Mariculture Laboratory, had an idea so simple that it was revolutionary: Why not stack the tubs on top of one another? And so was born the concept of “super-intensive stacked raceways,” an innovation that makes it possible to produce up to one million pounds of shrimp annually per acre of water, compared with the 20,000 pounds produced by natural ponds, and the 50,000 pounds produced by the original raceways system, Dr. Lawrence said. The technology is to be used in a production facility starting next year.

Read the rest at the New York Times.