Freshwater Shrimp Farming in my Backyard?

So you're interested in growing healthy seafood in your backyard? You have come to the right place. This website is dedicated to providing resources and a tested plan to add raising freshwater prawns to your urban farm. Hood Consulting Aquaculture is engaged in a multi-year project to refine an existing model for raising m. Rosenbergii in tanks.

Sustainable Urban Farming

When we use the term "sustainable", we are talking about farming practices that do not destroy or pollute natural habitats. The United States imported over 603,542,000 metric tons of shrimp from January to December 2016 (1). These are predominantly saltwater shrimp that are harvested from oceans. Concerns about overfishing of the various oceanic biomes has led to the practice of raising shrimp in ponds that are on land that is near saltwater sources. This has resulted in destruction of millions of hectares of wetland forests (2). In response to these concerns, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations has promoted farming Macrobrachium rosenbergii (3).

Macrobrachium rosenbergii

These freshwater shrimp were originally identified in Malaysian coastal rivers. The shrimp had adapted to live in very low salt-content water. They breed in the brackish water where the rivers meet the ocean, then migrate into the freshwater portions of the river to grow. They are the largest species of freshwater prawns in the world (4). Craig Upstream (Aquaculture of Texas) has reported raising mature m. Rosenbergii that weighed 4 oz each. He has also pioneered the use of tanks to raise the shrimp to maturity (the shrimp are raised in tanks to the juvenile stage, then typically transferred to shallow ponds for the "grow-out" to adults).

Tank farming m. Rosenbergii

The shrimp are usually farmed in shallow ponds in the more temperate areas of the U.S. (usually the south and southwest)(5). A typical shrimp pond will occupy an acre of land and require an active freshwater source with mechanical aeration. Craig's design used a stationary 30-foot diameter "tank" that used the biofilter system he used for his larvae nursery to remove waste products with a dedicated electric air pump to maintain good water oxygen levels (see Revolutionary Tank Grow-out System).

Our Sustainable Freshwater Shrimp Farming System

We have been investigating the modification of Craig's design to be used in an urban farming environment. We use solar power to provide energy for the water and air pumps. Our "tanks" are inexpensive above-ground swimming pools that can easily be removed and stored when not being used to grow shrimp. Also, we wanted to develop an inexpensive system that was reusable.

Please explore the "About" pages and look at our "Blog" for additional information and to follow our journey.

References

  1. see NOAA Fisheries: Office of Science and Technology (https://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/apex/f?p=169:2:::NO:::)
  2. Reuters report of U.N. University's Institute for Water, Environment, and Health research publication, (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mangroves/mangroves-under-threat-from-shrimp-farms-u-n-idUSBRE8AD1EG20121114)
  3. Farming Freshwater Prawns, Information division of FAO (http://www.fao.org/docrep/005/y4100e/y4100e00.htm)
  4. Motoh, H. & Kuronuma, K. (1980). Field guide for the edible Crustacea of the Philippines. Iloilo, Philippines: Aquaculture Department, Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (http://hdl.handle.net/10862/152)
  5. Mississippi State University Extension Publication ( http://extension.msstate.edu/catfish/other-aquaculture-species/freshwater-prawns)

Funded in part by a grant from SARE: Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education
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