Fire destroys NaturalShrimp production plant
NaturalShrimp, Inc. announced on Wednesday, 18 March, that the company’s production building at its La Coste, Texas, U.S.A. headquarters was destroyed in a fire the previous day.
The company announced the news Wednesday afternoon, after trading of the over-the-counter stock finished for the day. It said that the fire occurred at its pilot production plant, where its working on a way to grow food-quality shrimp in aquaculture tanks using recirculated water to control both ammonia and bacteria in the tanks.
In the statement, the company said it believes a natural gas leak by the facility’s boiler room led to the fire. Attempts by SeafoodSource to contact the state fire marshal and the La Coste Fire Department were not returned by Thursday afternoon.
In January, the company announced upgrades at its facility, located about 25 miles southwest of San Antonio, would be ready for the second quarter of this year. That would have given the company four nursery tanks and 40 grow-out tanks with a capacity of more than 600,000 gallons.
In a letter to shareholders sent 18 March, NaturalShrimp CEO Gerald Easterling said while the fire affected the tanks, it did not impact the administrative offices or the company’s greenhouse.
The company’s long-term prospects “remain very bright,” he said. Insurance should cover the cost of a “newer, state-of-the-art” building to house new tanks and equipment.
“Our shrimp, which numbered approximately 1.5 million [postlarvaes], were growing on schedule and were extremely healthy,” Easterling said. “Our equipment and new tanks were operating efficiently and as we had expected.”
Last summer, NaturalShrimp was forced to halt production after inspectors detected a viral disease in the postlarvae shipments it received earlier in the year. When the company announced its upgrades earlier this year, it noted that it had an agreement with Sea Products Development, LLC to receive one million postlarvae shrimp per month, allowing it to do year-round production.
On Wednesday, during trading before the company made the announcement, NaturalShrimp’s stock lost half its value, finishing at USD 0.04 (EUR 0.037).
It opened Thursday at USD 0.031 (EUR 0.029) before dropping to a 52-week low of USD 0.023 (EUR 0.022) in early trading.
The stock’s 52-week high of USD 0.301 (EUR 0.281) occurred on 21 March, 2019.
Photo courtesy of NaturalShrimp