LA-based company TransparentSea is trying to reinvent shrimp farming

On this episode of ‘Dan Does’, host Daniel Geneen visits LA-based company TransparentSea, which aims to grow the biggest, happiest shrimp using cleaner, cheaper, and more sustainable growing conditions. Geneen watches the process first hand to see if this model works and is actually better for the environment.

Geneen starts the day with Steve Sutton, the president of TransparentSea, as they receive a box that contains 12,000 15-day-old shrimp in it. The TransparentSea team brings in 50,000 microscopic shrimp babies every three weeks, with the goal of selling 100,000 jumbo prawns three months later.

The baby shrimp are put into the nursery tanks — which are at a perfect salinity for growing as curated by the team — for three weeks. The shrimp then get moved into a growing tank. The transfer has to be fast so the shrimp have time to acclimate and grow accustomed to their new conditions at the same time.

“They grow a lot better in here,” explains Sutton. “It takes them a couple days to get situated and then they start taking off with growth.”

The shrimp stay in the growing tank for eight weeks, and during that time Sutton and his team are conducting multiple processes in the background — like operating the filtration system that allows them to reuse 95 percent of the water to maintaining tank temperatures that replicate the shrimp’s native tropical temperatures.

Once they are ready, members of the team will get into the tank with the shrimp to harvest them so they’re ready for restaurants. The shrimp are collected, and taken to counting where they will be divided out by size and weighed. They are sorted into large, jumbo, and soft shell shrimp, which are not common in the United States.

“We want to change a really inefficient industry into one that’s as efficient as it can possibly be,” says Sutton. “This farm is a big step.”

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