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Power move: Japanese energy firm getting in on RAS shrimp

Click on the flag for more information about Japan JAPAN
Tuesday, February 23, 2021, 08:00 (GMT + 9)

The following is an excerpt from an article published by Global Aquaculture Advocate:

RAS salmon has a head start, but land-based farming may prove to be key to the country’s shrimp supply


Japan, a nation with a traditionally high seafood consumption rates, sees land-based aquaculture as a way to secure supplies of popular fish species – including shrimp – in an environmentally friendly manner. Now, some unexpected Japanese firms are entering recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) production, continuing a countrywide trend.

Last October, Kansai Electric Power (KEPCO) announced plans to build an RAS facility, starting in January 2021, in Iwata City, Shizuoka Prefecture, near Tokyo.

KEPCO aims to farm Pacific whiteleg shrimp starting in March 2022 under the name Kaiko Yukinoya Co. Ltd. The new company will use a system called the Indoor Shrimp Production System (ISPS), jointly developed by aquaculture engineering firm International Mariculture Technology Engineering Inc. (IMTE) and the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS).



ISPS consists of an automatic wave-generating apparatus and a vertical pump that conserves energy. A robotic cleaner automatically removes solid debris from the bottom of the tanks while an oxygen-generating system can be adjusted according to biomass. The system also uses low-salinity, high-hardness water and offers a quasi-natural environment with artificial seaweed that prevents cannibalism by giving newly molted shrimp a place to hide.

According to Setsuo Nohara, executive advisor at IMTE, Japan’s annual shrimp production derives almost entirely from the Kuruma prawn (Marsupenaeus japonicus) and is only 1,500 tons a year (IMTE makes a small contribution to the domestic market with whiteleg shrimp Litopeneaus vannamei produced at its plant in Myoko City, Niigata Prefecture – see photos).

“We are planning on production levels of 80 tons a year, which amounts to 5 percent of Japan’s current total aquaculture production of shrimp,” Nohara told the Advocate. “However, Japan currently consumes nearly 250,000 tons of shrimp per year, and this supply depends almost entirely on imports of frozen shrimp from overseas. In this way, it may be calculated that Japan’s self-sufficiency in shrimp is only 5 percent at present. Therefore, we expect the new plant to make a significant contribution to Japan’s markets.”
RAS shrimp

“We’re delighted that KEPCO, one of Japan’s foremost companies, has adopted our technology for their first entry into the food production business,” he continued. “We’re confident that Kaiko Yukinoya will be an example of a vibrant shrimp culture industry in Japan that is sustainable from a business standpoint and compatible with today’s needs to ensure environmentally friendly aquaculture production. The new plant will help us achieve an economy of scale in production and we hope that we can also offer it outside Japan to do our share in assisting in the industry.”

IMTE’s shrimp production plant in Myoko City, Niigata Prefecture, Japan. Courtesy photo / GAA

IMTE and JIRCAS have been developing technology for the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors for 20 years. IMTE has been producing shrimp commercially for more than 12 years, while JIRCAS is a national institute aiming to provide a stable supply of agricultural, forestry and fishery products and resources through research and technology development. Together, they’ve been introducing RAS shrimp culture based on the ISPS concept to countries such as Vietnam and India through consulting opportunities.(continued...)

Author: Bonnie Waycott / Global Aquaculture Advocate | Read the full article by clicking the link here

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