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How to Start a Shrimp Farming Project

Cheryl Mascarenhas
Owing to the high demand for shrimp in the market, owning a shrimp farm/starting one is considered to be nothing less than owning the goose that lays the golden egg. What are you waiting for then? Let's find out what it takes to set up a shrimp farm.
Shrimp farming essentially involves the cultivation of shrimp or prawns, mainly marine shrimp. Mostly cultivated for consumption basis, shrimp farming invariably has a commercial side attached to it. The concept of shrimp farming originated as a small-scale business idea, but has now grown to be a full-fledged global business.
Commercial shrimp farming began in the 70s and has since then, become a rage, making it nothing less than a gold mine. So, if you are among those entrepreneurs who wish to earn a decent living with shrimp, then 'project shrimp farming' is just the thing you should take up.

Starting a Shrimp Farm

Before you even think of venturing on to 'project shrimp farming', you would have to get yourself a permit that will allow you to start the business. And yes, you would have to specify the strategy you would be employing; that is whether it would be extensive, semi-intensive or intensive.
Extensive, as the term suggests, is a farm covering a larger area where the cost of production and maintenance would be relatively lesser compared to intensive farming. If your concern is larger production, you would definitely want to go in for the intensive farming project, rather than extensive farming, where the total production is low.

Choosing a Right Location

When you decide to start a shrimp farm, it is essential that you consider the following points, which include proximity to marine water, climatic conditions of the area and ease of access to shrimp larvae.
Warm, brackish water is required for the cultivation of shrimp; hence, the proximity to ocean water is a prerequisite for starting a shrimp farm. Shrimp farms located in warmer climatic conditions have longer cultivation periods than those in colder regions.
Remember: the warmer the area, the longer the growing season will last, which means that warm conditions are favorable for shrimp cultivation.

Creating a Clean Ecosystem

When constructing a shrimp farm, you would have to remember to construct two interconnected farms or ponds to conveniently transfer the mature shrimp from one farm to another. One of the most important factors of a shrimp farm is to keep a check on the drainage facilities.
In the case of an extensive farm, which is located along a coast or a mangrove, the tides will provide with the required water exchange, but in case of an intensive farm located away from the coast, care needs to be taken to keep the water aerated at all times.
Most intensive farming practices employ the use of pumps/paddle wheels to keep the oxygen level in the water constant as well as remove impurities, thus ensuring a better yield.
Building a gate system for the exchange of fresh ocean water if your farm is located near the ocean, makes sense, and it will save you a lot of maintenance headache. For sustainable shrimp ecosystem, stock the farm with algae and phytoplankton.

Regulating the Feed

Post larval shrimp purchased from a hatchery is used to stock the ponds. Fertilized phytoplankton is used to accelerate the growth of the shrimp in the case of extensive farms; however, in the case of intensive farms, artificially formulated feeds are used for shrimp growth.
The shrimp need to be fed minimum twice a day. The feeding can be done either manually (use of boats) or through mechanized feeders that are well-distributed around the pond.

Harvesting the Shrimp

This is the last stage of shrimp farming - ideally done in October - just as it begins to get cooler; thus, stopping the growth period of the shrimp. Draining the pond to harvest the shrimp is ideally the right method; you can even opt for catching the shrimp in nets or using special pumps to harvest the shrimp.
If you have a farm/pond, do keep all sorts of predators away; you wouldn't want your shrimp catch to be affected by predators. Shrimp farming has its share of ill effects too; constantly worrying about the dangers of consuming farm-raised shrimp won't help you in this profession.
Besides, cultivating shrimp in unhygienic conditions could also land you into serious trouble; other than having your entire field wiped out, your permit too will be at a risk. Better be safe than sorry, especially, when it comes to venturing out into a lucrative option like shrimp farming.