Texas official says inspectors to return to NaturalShrimp facility in mid-August
Officials from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will be back later this month to conduct a follow-up inspection on NaturalShrimp’s production facility and determine if the quarantine against the aquaculture company can be lifted.
Robert Adami, a fisheries biologist, told SeafoodSource that TPWD conducted an inspection at the La Coste facility on 18 July. While a sample of the company’s shrimp was inspected, TPWD staff did not notice anything unusual.
“NaturalShrimp managers noted that shrimp were not growing as fast as expected,” he said. “Department staff recommended sending samples to the University of Arizona’s Aquaculture Pathology Lab.”
Samples from one of the two tanks tested returned positive for infectious hypodermal and hematopoietic necrosis, or IHHNV. In Pacific white shrimp, which NatrualShrimp produces, the virus can cause severe deformities.
Those results came back on 30 July. The next day, Adami said the TWPD issued its quarantine order.
Inspectors from the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant health Inspection Service went to La Coste, located about a half-hour from San Antonio, on Monday and Tuesday this week to collect additional samples. Those samples will be tested at the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.
“A second round of samples will be taken two weeks later," Adami said. “If IHHNV is confirmed after the second test, depopulation and decontamination of the tanks may be required. The Department and USDA/APHIS will oversee these operations to ensure all protocols have been followed at which time the quarantine will be lifted.”
Adami said testing of the company’s other tanks is taking place to determine if the rest of the facility is disease free.
NaturalShrimp told SeafoodSource in a statement that the company purchased the infected batches of postlarvae shrimp from a supplier in Texas. They have purchased new batches from a different supplier and expect them to arrive next week.
A publicly traded company, NaturalShrimp along with a partner have developed a patented process to recirculate water that controls both ammonia and bacteria in its tanks. The company said it takes about 24 weeks for its shrimp to grow to market size and plans to add tanks to develop shrimp on a continual basis.
Eventually, the plan is to build similar systems across the country to produce shrimp for high-end restaurants.
The company also announced this week it received a commitment for up to USD 5 million (EUR 4.5 million) in equity funding from GHS Investments.