Tru Shrimp shares new details about Luverne Bay Harbor
Luverne’s tru Shrimp Bay Harbor is coming into focus as company officials work with engineers, attorneys, financiers and scientists.
Tru Shrimp CEO Michael Ziebell shared some details with Rock County Farm Bureau members at their annual meeting Monday night in Luverne.
For those who hadn’t heard the presentation before, he spoke about the global shrimp market and the fact that 80 percent of U.S. shrimp are imported.
This means there’s a significant untapped domestic demand for shrimp in the U.S.
Most imported shrimp are raised in unsanitary ponds where disease and bacteria result in six of 10 shrimp dying before they reach harvest.
This, he said, is why the concept of tru Shrimp’s controlled, clean environment makes so much sense.
The patented tidal basin technology circulates the water, allowing fecal matter and uneaten feed to be swept away.
Meanwhile, he said, this means shrimp need only 12 inches of salt water, meaning the basins can be stacked — in Luverne’s case eight high — to maximize production space.
The tanks will have more than two feet between them to allow a robotic feeder to move across the tops of the water.
Luverne’s Bay Harbor will have 32 reefs of eight stacked tidal basins, 16 on each side of a central harvest basin. So there will be 256 tidal basins operating under the roof of a 9-acre facility.
Ziebell said the current technology allows for the tanks to “turn over” four times each year with the harvest cycles from small to large shrimp.
As they grow, they’re harvested in stages — small shrimp for soups and salads, medium ones for scampi and etc., and jumbo shrimp for cocktails and skewers. As the smaller ones are harvested, this leaves more room for the others to continue growing.
This translates to 8.3 million pounds harvested annually — 22,700 pounds per day.
The facility will have its own wastewater treatment system to capture and reuse the salt water.
“It’s our intent to use every drop of that water,” Ziebell said.
The harbor will require 14 million gallons to initially fill the basins, but after that, demand on Luverne’s water supply will be moderate.
According to city leaders, tru Shrimp won’t require as much city water as IBP once did.
Ziebell said word is spreading quickly about Midwest shrimp production. For example, Sam’s Club contacted tru Shrimp about distributing Minnesota shrimp, and the Wall Street Journal recently interviewed tru Shrimp representatives about the emerging industry.
Ziebell said the tru Shrimp technology was developed over a two-year period at the company’s Balaton facility (where tru Shrimp is headquartered.)
He said it’s one thing to develop the technology to build a successful hatchery and harbor, but an entire industry needs to be built around shrimp production.
For example, processing facilities will behead and devein the shrimp, while at the same time harvesting the medical by-product chitosan from the shells.
For this reason, all tru Shrimp will hit the market cooked and ready to eat. “It’s the safest way to deliver shrimp to consumers,” Ziebell said. “Plus, this way we get to keep the chitosan (in the shells).”
Finally, he reminded the more than 50 farmers in attendance at Grand Prairie Events why it makes sense to raise shrimp in Minnesota.
“This is where the feed is,” Ziebell said. “There’s no more corn and soybeans in the world than there is right here.”
The Luverne Bay Harbor will require roughly 10,400 tons of feed annually in the form of corn, wheat, soybean meal and specialty proteins and minerals.
Ziebell took some questions from the audience Monday night.
Tru Shrimp’s Luverne Bay Harbor will break ground late next year and start harvesting shrimp late in 2019.