The shrimp are coming from inside the house
July 19th, 2010
01:00 PM ET
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Hurlock, Maryland (CNN)- Surrounded by cornfields and a chicken farm in rural Maryland sits the possible future of shrimping in the US.

“Bringing it indoors, making it 100% re-circulating, we were able to move the facility off of the coastline to middle America, farm country,” says Marvesta Shrimp co-founder Scott Fritze, pointing to one of sixteen large tanks filled with partial-salt water and thousands of shrimp. “There were no limitations from a geographic standpoint anymore [on] where you could build these.”

Fritze, along with Guy Furman and Andy Hanzlik, believed the domestic shrimp industry was fragile and ripe for change. So, in 2002, they began a new blueprint to grow shrimp. The first step: move the farm inside.

“We decided to take the technology indoors as we’ve been trying to do in the industry for a long time because of all the advantages that come along with that. You avoid all the diseases that are available in the open environment,” says Furman. “You get control over the systems so that you can bring it to a northern climate like Maryland or even further, and you can still keep them warm like they would have in the Gulf and grow a controlled indoor product.”

Built on roughly 32 acres on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, the Marvesta shrimp farm produces roughly 130,000 lbs. of fresh shrimp per year. The company purchases hatched shrimp larvae from Florida, raises the crustaceans for roughly five months, then harvests and ships to restaurants and customers from California to New York.

Fritze says there is a simple reason for his product’s high demand. “Most shrimp that you eat has been frozen for six to nine months. Sometimes our chefs have our shrimp within 2-3 hours of coming out of the water. Or as a home consumer, if you have access to a product within 24 hours of coming out of the water, you’d be amazed at the difference in taste of a fresh shrimp versus a frozen shrimp.”

Aside from taste, Furman says there are other advantages to his company’s way of doing business.

“Marvesta is green because unlike the rest of shrimp producers in the third world, we do not produce a bunch of pollution that we pump out into the environment. That’s why they’ve destroyed a ton of mangroves at various points in history and why they’ve caused environmental damage and ecological damage all the way down the coastline of places like Peru and Ecuador. So we don’t have that byproduct and part of that has to do with our technology when it comes to water re-use and water treatment.”

indoor shrimp farm

But that technology did not come to fruition without obstacles.

“No one had ventured into this at the level that we had planned to do. So essentially we were pioneering a system and built it from a piece of paper,” says Fritze.

“We had to learn it all by trial and error and so it’s been a very long learning process because shrimp don’t grow overnight. So when you want to change something, you have to change everything and hope for the best in eight months [that] you’re going to get it right that time. So we’ve always had some great results and we’ve had some problems,” adds Furman.

Marvesta’s great results have not gone unnoticed. With the recent disasters in the Gulf, people are looking to the company as an alternative to the traditional methods of farming shrimp.

“It’s peaked because of the Gulf. There’s been a lot of talk about the shrimp industry,” says Furman.

Fritze sees the recent oil spill as a way to help change shrimping in the US.

“It gives us an opportunity here to step back and implement some new strategies and new techniques to mitigate some of these risks that the oil spill has really heightened everyone’s awareness about. What we can do is provide a sustainable, supplemental source of economy for these industries and help create jobs. And more importantly, domestically produce a sustainable fresh product 365 days a year.”

As he pulls up a net of gray squirmy shrimp from the murky green water in one of his tanks, Furman puts it simply, “This is the future of how shrimp are going to be grown in this country and in the world.”

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Filed under: Aquaculture • Business and Farming News • Farms • Fishing • News • Path to the Plate • Weird News

soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. RW Spurlock

    First I want to thank you for allowing me to post this comment on your site. If you visit my site(s) and leave and comment there I will approve them, thereby providing a link or links back to your site. We are a authorized manufactures representative providing wholesale sales of pre-engineered metal and tensioned fabric buildings, nationally and internationally. In addition to meeting local building authority codes and regulations we custom quote and design engineer these buildings to meet the customer’s specifications and the intended use of the building.

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    April 11, 2011 at 10:15 am |
  2. recognizer

    "The shrimp are coming from inside the house"
    Touche, CNN.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:32 pm |
  3. GetRealPeople

    I agree with Shawn who posted earlier-the USA is not overpopulated. The ocean contains trillions of shrimp and other food supply. People who believe that crap also believe in Santa Claus. These are stories put out by the media when think tanks want society to react and act a certain way. It's how the world is run-by smarter people than most.

    My concern about this new way to farm shrimp is this: do they taste good? Or do they taste like existing farm-raised shrimp-which has no taste at all – I like to call it salty water gel. The consistency is awful and the taste worse. There is a whole generation of adults who for the most part have no idea what real shrimp taste like (unless they live on a gulf coast.) REAL shrimp should be a little firm and chewy and have a somewhat sweet taste. If you want them salty you add it to the water you boil them in (the best way to cook them for full robust flavor.) So if this new shrimp farming can produce shrimp that tastes llike gulf shrimp I'm all for it!

    July 20, 2010 at 1:40 am |

      The taste is with out comparison the finest tasting shrimp any where. you obviously have no knowledge of what you speak of

      September 23, 2010 at 3:43 pm |
  4. N.P

    Farm raised fish have more contaminants than wild caught. I don't think farm raised shrimp is a good idea unless they can remove chemicals from the water that the shrimp live in.

    July 20, 2010 at 1:24 am |

      This farm is 100% sustainable. No chemicals, No preservatives and no additives

      September 23, 2010 at 3:45 pm |
  5. Tron

    The problem is too many hot women, shaking their whatnot's in plain view. Just let us work and put food on your table ladies, please DO NOT tempt us into reproduction, then there might not be enough Mac & Cheese for capnmike

    July 20, 2010 at 12:42 am |
  6. Bob Malthus

    This is a novel approach that could potentially be bad for business. Any of you 'overpopulated' posters interested in being part of the solution vs. being part of the problem? The human capacity for solving problems is as limitless as the capacity for creating them. How much of the issue is the entitled overconsumption of the declining 1st world populations? We've been blessed. Let's return our blessings by being blessings instead of curses.

    July 20, 2010 at 12:25 am |
  7. Byron

    They don't say what they feed these shrimp, being bottom feeders and not recommended by God in the bible. What say we some experts on this ? Surely you cannot create something pure from something that feeds off dropping and dirt that siphen down to the bottom of the ocean where these shrimp live ?

    July 20, 2010 at 12:11 am |
    • N.P

      All I can say is "LOL"

      July 20, 2010 at 1:25 am |
  8. John North

    STOP whinning!........

    July 20, 2010 at 12:06 am |
  9. Terry W. Brookman

    Finch you are one of the morons, just have to play the race card. Even if it does not apply or race is not mentioned you pull the joker out of the deck, you feeling guilty of something, got eight kids you don't take care of?

    July 20, 2010 at 12:04 am |
  10. Gary

    What about mercury content? All farmed seafood has higher mercury than wild caught. I don't care if the company claims it is 'green'.. they have to prove it.

    July 19, 2010 at 11:58 pm |
    • jeana

      The way fish are currently farmed is not the best both in contaminants and contamination. Yes we are taking their word at this point that it is green, however since they are recycling the water that means they are not dumping contaminants in the oceans. Most farmed fish currently not only contain pollutants from the environment but also seep them out into the oceans, not to mention when they lose fish into the waterways they affect the natural fish stocks. I am just saying that maybe we can learn to farm other fish in a healthy safe way.

      July 20, 2010 at 12:10 am |
  11. Terry W. Brookman

    Ok lets blame the white man for over breeding, if it was not for the white man producing most of the food then I guess overpopulation might not be a problem. Fish farming is another way the white man keeps the morons fed, perhaps we should stop that. There are seven billion people on this planet and that is five billion more than there should be. This is a self cleaning system and wash day is getting close, it has nothing to do with race or creed. Natural disasters like tidal waves and earth quakes take no sides. LOL

    July 19, 2010 at 11:54 pm |
  12. emma

    My son is a commercial fisherman on the WEST coast. He is limited to how many shrimp he may catch, at a very low price, because the processors can’t resell them quickly. So how come no one wants to buy shrimp caught in American waters, by AMERICAN fisherman, instead of grown in the tank shrimp, or imported. They are fed antibiotics and God knows what else.YUCK! There is plenty of food, if onl;y one knows where to buy it.

    July 19, 2010 at 11:43 pm |
    • jeana

      emma, I am also on the west coast so I understand the fishing industry (I use to work for a co that sold to the fishing industry), Many commercial fishermen are limited in what they can catch because the fish are not replenishing fast enough. Not all of this is due to over fishing, a lot is due to pollutants in the waters and habitats being destroyed. Not all farm raised fish is bad, this is something that needs to be worked on. This doesnt mean the end of fishermen just how they fish. Dont jump to conclusions that these shrimp are pumped full of antibiotics. In fact when you realized what some of the natural fish has in them from various polutants antibiotics dont sound all that bad.

      July 19, 2010 at 11:50 pm |
    • Cindy

      Emma – I don't know about the company in this article, but in Martinsville, VA the Blue Ridge Aguaculture produces shrimp, tilapia and, soon, salmon. This statement was pulled from their website: "Blue Ridge Aquaculture is committed to the idea that we can, and should produce more of our seafood in the United States. These products should be free of hormones, antibiotics, and industrial pollutants; it is our responsibility to provide the consumer with a healthy product. And this seafood should be produced in a way that does not do damage the local environment, respects our gift of water, and enhances the local social system that produces it." Just thought I would mention it....I am sure there are other places that may used the antibiotics, etc that are mentioned in these comments, but Blue Ridge Aquaculture has been commited to their statement listed above and I am glad that this method is being never know when it will be our only trusted source.

      July 20, 2010 at 1:38 am |
  13. ross

    Comments astroturfed? Check.

    July 19, 2010 at 11:40 pm |
  14. sunjka

    It is called Pharming not farming. The feed is full of chemicals not fit for human consumption. You ever notice They say eat wild caught salmon, not farm raised!

    July 19, 2010 at 11:28 pm |
    • Ana4

      Right on. Farmed Salmon gives me a headache, not so with wild Pacific NW or Alaska salmon!

      July 20, 2010 at 12:48 am |
      • Dane

        Not to mention, they've now apparently started feeding farmed fish CORN. this is atrocious.

        what are these shrimp eating, by the way? I'd be more curious of that than just about anything else mentioned.

        "Most shrimp that you eat has been frozen for six to nine months"
        Strange that in many countries you can go to the market and buy shrimp that are still swimming around... yet here we stuck buying frozen stuff. When he says he sells fresh shrimp, are they still alive? I'd be curious of that too.

        July 20, 2010 at 8:57 am |
  15. jeana

    I love that this farm is green. To many of the fish farms actually hurt the environment. This really could be the future of fish farms. Also hydroponic's is another avenue that needs to be looked at more for our veggies as farming the "old fashioned way" is also killing off the oceans with all the over fertilizing that is being done.

    July 19, 2010 at 11:24 pm |
    • Earl Hatleberg

      He SAID it was green. No details, though.

      July 19, 2010 at 11:43 pm |
    • Ana4

      There are ways to farm without over-fertilizing. What's needed is to move toward smaller local farms and dump agro-biz into the sewer they've created. Monsanto's new seed 'rule' is the final straw. No-one owns nature.

      July 20, 2010 at 12:53 am |
  16. David Welsh

    Since man appeared on this planet we have consumed our natural resources with little concern about the long term ramifications of same. Species extinction, deforestation, thalidomide, love canal, a plastic flotilla the size of Texas in mid-Pacific and fish nets in the belly of whales. We ignore plate tectonics and continue to build along the coast, defy drought conditions and madly build in the Southwest and dare nature by procreating to the point of mass starvation. Now, we bemoan the tragedy of the BP oil spill. We have been ignoring ecological, environmental and health warnings since the nineteen fifties. It seems right somehow, somehow justified and correct that an ooze from 65 million years ago should be freed to wash over us, baptize us in fear and anguish and leave us cloaked in our own black denial gasping for air in the stark light of day.

    July 19, 2010 at 11:23 pm |
    • jeana


      July 19, 2010 at 11:27 pm |
    • Ana4

      Well said. Remember that Native Americans consider the next 7 generations before making decisions, or at least they did before Europieans overran the continent and killed most of them to take the land. Maybe we should have listened. Maybe we should listen now; they're still out there teaching.

      July 20, 2010 at 12:44 am |
    • Surge

      Blah blah blah, yawn....

      July 20, 2010 at 1:26 am |
  17. CeeFoR

    Next week on CNN, shrimp house gases, a fishy truth.

    July 19, 2010 at 11:22 pm |
    • Kat Kinsman

      We promised not to report that one in Smell-O-Vision.

      July 19, 2010 at 11:51 pm |
    • Cheryl

      LOL, thanks for the comic relief amongst all the nay-sayers :D

      July 20, 2010 at 12:30 am |
  18. Chris

    Martinsville Virginia, Blue Ridge Aquaculture, great facilities, been doing it for years.

    July 19, 2010 at 10:41 pm |
    • Cindy

      I am in Martinsville and was going to post this, also.....Go Blue Ridge Aquaculture!!

      July 20, 2010 at 1:23 am |
  19. Scott

    Overpopulation is a taboo subject, but I would agree that it's a variable that should be considered when discussing the future of our planet and our place here. Even those that aren't treehuggers should agree that our resources are finite, and people generally like clean air and water. I would never support government regulating the population though. This is a change we have to make ourselves by understanding, not by force.

    July 19, 2010 at 10:39 pm |
  20. trixen

    Yum yum! I feel like eatin' at Joe's now.

    July 19, 2010 at 10:34 pm |
  21. Kris

    The overbreeding arguement is simply not true for most of the developed world. Western Europe has a negative birth rate (average of less than 2 children per couple) and is not even replacing its current population, let alone growing out of control. Russia is at and average of 1.34 births per couple (shrinking). China is at 1.75 children per couple (shrinking) and the US has an average of 2.05 children per couple (barely replacing ourselves). Third world countries, mainly in Africa and the middle east have the highest birth rates of over 7 children per couple, but this is offset by their much shorter life expectancy and infant mortality rates.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:29 pm |
    • tina


      July 19, 2010 at 10:41 pm |
    • Laura

      Life expectancy doesn't have anything to do with it. If the average couple has 7 children the population is growing exponentially regardless of the life expectancy of the parents. The parents may not be around to see their great grandkids, but the presence of absence of two individuals means nothing when you consider that each of their 7 children have 7 children and by now your original two have 7^2 = 49 descendants. One more generation and those two (now deceased) have 7^3 = 343 descendants. They would have 2401 great great grandchildren. It matters very little if the first two generations (amounting to 9 people) are dead by then. Even with an "under age 5" mortality rate of 248 per 1000 live births (Sierra Leon, ranked highest in the world in 2009) the population in question is growing rapidly.

      The problem is not so much the developed nations or the third world nations, as you state, though. As you point out, population growth is slowing or even diminishing in many developed nations. The problem mainly comes from developing nations, where large family size is still common and medical, sanitation and industrial advances are lowering the infant mortality rate and increasing life expectancy.

      July 19, 2010 at 11:18 pm |
    • me

      Millions and millions of people need to die before the planet can start healing itself. What mother needs to create is a good old fashioned pandemic to clear the vermin off her.

      July 19, 2010 at 11:30 pm |
      • Surge

        Millions and millions? Let's see. 60 million = 1% of population. Will that really impact anything. Think again before you make moronic statements like this

        July 20, 2010 at 1:25 am |
    • jack

      Well said Kriss!
      ( :

      July 20, 2010 at 1:42 am |
  22. Rick McDaniel

    Farming is essential, if we continue to expand the population, exponentially. As is, the seas will be empty in about 40 yrs. That will create its own set of problems, apart from the issue of seafood, but humans just refuse to recognize the problems they face, even in the short term.

    July 19, 2010 at 2:42 pm |
    • capnmike

      The human problem is OVERBREEDING, plain and simple. There are just too many humans, breeding, consuming, polluting, and multiplying without a thought for the future. If the race is to survive, this has to stop.

      July 19, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
      • JOKIIBI

        Your point cant be stressed enough, glad there is someone else out there that is on the same page!!!

        July 19, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
      • Finch

        So, capnmike, do you–in your infinite wisdom–propose a solution for this overbreeding problem?

        Perhaps pulling the plug on all who do not fit your ideology?

        You white men will probably live lonley, but extremely short lives.

        July 19, 2010 at 10:41 pm |
      • jas

        capnmike, you are spot-on. I've been aware of this for quite some time. I can't understand if people simply don't see it, or just can't bring themselves to admit it. I have been unable to come up with any reasonable solution to this issue though.

        July 19, 2010 at 10:53 pm |
      • Laura

        Finch,failing to provide an answer is no ground for ignoring there is a problem. Overpopulation is real. If we do nothing, the problem will eventually take care of itself in the form of death checks. It happens to all species when their environment can no longer support them. That means mass extinctions in the form of disease, famine, etc. We can wait for that and take our chances or we can try to limit our population growth more humanely. The problem there is that no one wants their rights taken away and there is no fair way to legislate reproductive rights. China has had great success limiting their population growth, but no one looks to China as a model system.

        One thing is certain, though. The Earth survived long before us and it will survive long after us.

        July 19, 2010 at 11:07 pm |
      • Jon

        Agreed. We need to send condoms attached to food aid. Condoms attached to everything, actually..

        July 19, 2010 at 11:16 pm |
      • Raptoer

        No, not really. We have seen the same trend all over the world, when sanitation, food availability and medicine is improved in an area then the population explodes, for maybe two or three generations at the most. After that it levels off, and most modern 1st world nations don't have much population growth if you ignore immigration. Japan even has a decreasing population. The reasoning behind this effect is rather simple, in poor nations, people have a lot of children because most of them will die, and they are cheap labor. When a nation industrializes, that need for labor goes away, (along with child labor laws), a lot less children die, and children become more expensive. Thus, people have less children.

        July 19, 2010 at 11:17 pm |
      • me

        Amen, friend.

        July 19, 2010 at 11:29 pm |
      • Earl Hatleberg

        Finch: reproduction is not a right. It's a responsibility.

        July 19, 2010 at 11:38 pm |
      • Jeff

        OK, so kill yourself now!

        July 20, 2010 at 12:00 am |
      • debbie

        ok – um how does the human race survive if we quit breeding?? explain that to me and you'll have a convert! :) Doesn't anybody get it???!!

        July 20, 2010 at 12:09 am |
      • Terence

        Actually, the aid packages sent to third world countries usually include condoms...

        July 20, 2010 at 12:34 am |
      • Shawn Sammartano

        You people frighten me. Seriously, I am very frightened that there are people that think these things and actually believe they are rational ideas. First of all, there is no shortage of shrimp. The ocean is very, very large and filled with trillions upon trillions of shrimp and fishes. Sure, maybe not near our coasts anymore, but the rest of the ocean is filled with fish. We're not going to run out of food, especially when the US Government pays farmers not to farm their land. We're not overpopulated, we're under producing. Yikes, when I hear responses like those from most of you I feel like there is no longer any hop for america, intellectually.

        July 20, 2010 at 12:44 am |
      • kargo27

        Shawn Sammartano is ABSOLUTELY right on all counts! Learn what the truth is, people, don't just spout this ridiculous nonsense without knowing facts. Great reply, Shawn!

        July 20, 2010 at 12:55 am |
      • Manny

        @ Debbie. Simple. Tell the entire human population to stop having children for 5 years. If you allowed simply five years of human population to die off by themselves, cuz it's their time, you've just humanely controlled the entire population of the world with no wars or killing. I Say this needs to be something of a discussion in American politics in the very near future. And I'm Mexican, normally our families are huge. What's that tell you?

        July 20, 2010 at 1:00 am |
      • Dext

        Shawn, it is people like you who people should be frightened by. We are overpopulated plain and simple. Look at the increase and changes over the last 100 years. Imagine another 100, now imagine one thousand years... It's not sustainable at the rate we are going. It's sad we can't fathom a thousand years, when that would just be a grain of sand on a small island compared to the billions of years Earth has existed. "The population of Atlantic bluefin has dwindled by 80 percent over the last 4 decades, with much of that decline in just the past 15 years. A recent analysis by WWF predicts that the breeding population of Atlantic bluefin will be entirely eliminated by 2012, consigning what many consider to be the world's greatest big game fish to extinction."

        July 20, 2010 at 1:19 am |
      • jms58

        The bad thing about the problem is that our government encourages this overbreeding. Earned income credits are a prime example.

        July 20, 2010 at 1:25 am |
      • jack

        You must be a freemason? I am sure you are alll about the N.W.O am I right? You made alot of sense when you said that there are too many humans on the earth,perhaps you should depopulate the world starting with your kids and wife? I

        July 20, 2010 at 1:32 am |
      • John777

        That was a racist remark. capnmike was just stating a fact that the worlds population is growing exponetially. You were the one who said we need to start eliminating segments of the population

        August 16, 2010 at 3:29 pm |
    • jack

      Farmers will have to feed 2lbs of fish for every 1lb of shrimp that is grown. The pellets are made of the cheapest fish thus you are removing food from the supply of protein. The poor will have less available cheap fish so the rich can have a shrimp cocktail. 2lbs of fish product must be fed to farm 1 lb of shrimp. We are not saving anything accept a few pennies the poor will have to subsidize.

      July 20, 2010 at 1:39 am |
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