Here’s How This Company Uses AI To Grow Shrimp Sustainably
Shrimp is the most widely eaten seafood in the United States. The global aquaculture market was valued at $204 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $262 billion by the end of 2026. Shrimp sales volume increased from 275 to 415 million pounds in the past five years, but traditional shrimp farming has an environmental cost.
Daniel Russek, CEO and founder of Atarraya wild shrimping, destroys two million kilometers of seabed each year. “Traditional shrimp farms rely on continuous water waste and mangrove deforestation. Creating a sustainable shrimp supply requires little or no dependencies on the ocean or natural habitats and no antibiotics or chemicals.”
But today, Russek says the industry has microbial systems that enable closed-looped production using only organic components. “It is doable, but its management is very complex, and artificial intelligence (AI) is very good at doing this at scale,” said Russek.
Shrimpbox is shrimp farming technology using AI. Russek says to think of Shrimpbox as the aquaculture equivalent to agriculture’s vertical farming. “Urban aquaculture shrimp vertical farming technology offers fresh, locally produced protein for immediate consumption.”
The vertical shrimp farms are housed in traditional cargo containers located anywhere, even in landlocked, urban areas. A Shrimpbox farm can be moved or scaled up according to production needs.
Shrimpbox is an AI-powered automated system that remotely monitors water quality, regulating temperature and oxygenation, and feeding the shrimp. The shrimp are identical to wild shrimp in the ocean because Shrimpbox mimics the ideal breeding environment with biofloc technology. ”Biofloc nourishes a microbial ecosystem that provides an environment where the shrimp are protected and can mature, with a minimal need for water discharge.
“The biofloc system eliminates the risk of disease and the need for antibiotics and other harmful chemicals, creating better genetics that enables the shrimp farming industry to become vertical aquaculture farming,” said Russek.
The first Shrimpbox prototype is located in the community of Guapinole, Oaxaca, in Mexico. And, in a partnership with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, the company has set up a Shrimpbox farm for training and demonstration.
Russek says that many of the world’s population’s technical challenges are biological, environmental and chemical. “Nature has solved much of this through billions of years of evolution, but new technologies enable us to tap into that optimization.”
“The 21st century started with an obesity epidemic and an environmental crisis in the making,” said Russek. “We know we can’t use the same approach on any front, but food production stands out because of the scale of its impact.”
Russek says that full-on precision farming has applications for a limited number of products which he anticipates will have massive adoption in developed countries.
“For the rest, I see a slow rise in tech-enabled solutions that may uncover efficiencies even in ancient ways of production, such as biodynamic agriculture based on microbial communities’ interactions with soil, root, plant, feed and animal,” said Russek.
Atarraya recently raised a $3.9 M Series A funding round bringing the company’s total funding to $10 million.