Chongqing - The first batch of South American white shrimp, bred in an innovative closed ecosystem in Chongqing Dazu District, hit the local shelves recently.
Nearly a hundred shrimp ponds are spread out in a 2,000-square-meter enclosed facility in Dazu, Chongqing. Shrimp fry swims freely in 30°C "hot springs," with the air carrying the scent of the sea.
"This is the 'sea' I've spent years creating in Chongqing," said Huan Guoxin, General Manager of Chongqing Lingkangshuichan (zero resistance aquaculture) Company.
Using current aquaculture techniques, the amount of water needed to raise just one pound of shrimp can be as much as 50 tons. This cost is unaffordable for businesses. Huan and his team spent six years perfecting Biofloc Technology (BFT) to address this. Adding microbes to artificial seawater effectively removes particles like feces and leftover feed, creating a closed marine ecosystem.
Importantly, no antibiotics are added during the breeding process to maintain an ecological balance. Additionally, the "sea water" used for breeding can be recycled, ensuring no pollution to the external environment.
Li Hong, a researcher from Chongqing Aquaculture Technology Extension Center, explained that the key challenge in using biocoagulation for shrimp farming lies in maintaining the dynamic balance of the ecosystem. "This technique is often confined to labs. Its commercial, large-scale application in Southwest China is unprecedented," Li said.
"Each shrimp pond is its own ecosystem. To maintain balance, the ratio of microbes to metabolites must be controlled," said Huan, who spends 24 hours a day in the workshop, monitoring each pond persistently.
BFT in shrimp farming has become consolidated as a production system in many countries nowadays. According to Hatchery International, many researchers say BFT is effective in the nursery phase between hatchery rearing and grow-out because continuous consumption of biofloc provides better nutrition.
Previously, if residents of Chongqing wanted to enjoy shrimp, the nearest source was Zhanjiang, Guangdong province, a journey of 1,200 kilometers that left the shrimp dormant. With the Dazu-bred South American white shrimp on the market, the journey from farm to store takes only an hour and a half.
"These Chongqing-bred seafood products have received antibiotic-free breeding certificates from international authorities," said Li Duosi, Commodity Director of Freshippo Chongqing, a fresh food retailer.
The supply of these antibiotic-free shrimps is limited, with only 200 pounds available daily, and they sell out by the afternoon.
From the initial experimental shrimp harvest three years ago to a stable scale today, orders have been continuously rolling in. Huan noted that the consistent demand not only boosts his confidence but has also attracted significant investment. After securing financing this year, he anticipates next year's production to reach 300,000 pounds, supplying over 30 Freshippo stores in Chengdu and Chongqing.
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