IKEA-like portable units using microbes and solar power to cheaply grow shrimp indoors could transform the booming aquaculture sector and prevent further environmental degradation, according to its inventors.
If made available to farmers in developing countries, the technology could help tackle malnourishment while reducing environmental degradation, and all at a lower cost than current shrimp production, they say.
Founded by biochemical engineering students from University College London, the start-up Marizca is producing whiteleg shrimp in central London in its first trial operations.
With Marizca’s system, the shrimp are grown in layered trays with about 300 animals per square metre. One unit can produce roughly 10,000 shrimp every three months – fairly standard figures for an intensive shrimp operation, but with much lower operational costs, according to Rios.
Nonetheless, the technology’s broader relevance to small-scale shrimp farmers, who constitute the majority of the industry in many developing countries, is not guaranteed.