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Turkish firm to construct 200-ton land-based shrimp farm

Work on the facility will kick off in summer this year, as the owners see 'great potential' for the species.

The Turkish Shrimp Company (TSC) is planning to start construction of a commercial recirculation aquaculture system (RAS) farm this summer, the audience at the recent EuroShrimp event in Bremen, Germany, was told.

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The land-based facility -- which will be located close to the Mediterranean sea -- will have a production capacity of 200 metric tons of Pacific white shrimp (vannamei), Metin Kumlu, director at TSC, and research professor at the University of Cukurova, said.

It got granted the license to import post larvae (PL) for commercial purposes by the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture in March this year, after successfully running pilot facilities for some time, he said.

"Our consistent R&D efforts forced the Ministry of Agriculture to declare shrimp as alternative commodity to be farmed in the country," he said. "We’re finally hoping to start commercial production in 2017 or 2018."

The company already secured a land plot spanning 80,000 square meters, and the actual grow-out units are expected to cover a total area of 44,000 square meters.

Natural well water with a temperature of 22 to 24 degrees Celsius is available and the warm climate means the facility will only be heated in the winter months.

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TSC is also planning to add a hatchery, once construction of the actual farm has been finalized.

Kumlu has been researching in the field for more than 27 years and over the years conducted several trials with imported and domestic shrimp species.

Studies included the fields of spawning, larvae culture, nursery, pond growout, RAS growout and improving husbandry of shrimp, he said.

In the past, two major companies -- Akuvatur and Palmar --  tried their luck with shrimp farming in Turkey.

However, the first pulled out years ago to focus on sea bass and sea bream, while the latter went bankrupt after five years in the sector.

Kumlu said they failed because they "didn't know enough about shrimp farming," applied "inadequate farming strategies and poor marketing opportunities," and had "inadequate short and long-term targets," for instance exporting live shrimp to Japan.

But there is "very good potential" to build up a farm now, Kumlu told the audience.

"Over the last decade we completed a lot of R&D studies, trying to mimic a commercial situation under local conditions," he said. "The technology suitable for farming under our temperature conditions has been tested and refined."

Kumlu said Turkish investor interest for shrimp farming is "huge, you wouldn't believe it."

In terms of markets, TSC aims to target both the domestic and the European market with its fresh shrimp.

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