June 23, 2022


Ocean Ranch converts ammonia into regenerative fishmeal alternative for shrimp


Ocean Ranch, a two-year-old business headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada state, US, has developed a regenerable fishmeal substitute for shrimp that aims to stop the extraction of fishmeal from wild fish, and instead provide global aquaculture farmers with regenerative fishmeal, the Global Seafood Alliance reported.


James Baumgartner, founder of Ocean Ranch, claims that the ammonia in his regenerative fishmeal is naturally converted to protein.


He said there is enough ammonia pollution in the world's waterways that, with the right technologies, it could meet all of humanity's protein needs this way and have so much extra that the world could stop contaminating agricultural practises.


He collaborated with shrimp farmer Fabio Higa, who has also been interested in aquaculture circular economies. They rented a shrimp farm in Brazil, which gave them a cost-effective chance to test their project on a larger scale.


In order to reduce the use of fishmeal in commercial feed and the ammonia impact of fish effluent in waste streams, they set out to develop a circular economy product. And over the past 15 months, they started turning ammonia into proteins that their Pacific white (Litopenaeus vannamei) shrimp could eat.


To convert ammonia into fishmeal, Ocean Ranch uses a species of crustacean that is native to the Brazilian forest. In the same pond as the shrimp, a crustacean species is polycultured as an intermediary species. It consumes the nitrates in the water, which the shrimp then eat. The intermediate species makes the ideal aquafeed because its nutritional value is superior to fishmeal's.


While regenerative fishmeal trials are ongoing, this shrimp farm is currently using fishmeal-based feeds. However, he anticipates reaching full production by the end of the year with a 60% efficiency rate, which will mean that only 40% of Ocean Ranch's shrimp feed will be made up of commercial feed. He predicted that in the future, the company would be able to completely offset its need for commercial feed.


Sales of shrimp will be the main source of income for Ocean Ranch in the near future, and those shrimp will be polycultured in the same pond as the intermediary species. In the future, the business intends to farm the intermediary species separately using upstream nutrient flows that are rich in ammonia. In order to transform it into a fishmeal substitute that can be sold to other aquaculture and possibly agricultural producers, Baumgartner plans to work with a feed mill.


20 people work for Ocean Ranch to manage the farm, which has a 100 metric tonne annual shrimp production capacity and has so far produced 45 metric tonnes.


-      Global Seafood Alliance

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