Billund Aquaculture from Denmark and Germany’s Aquapurna have joined forces to create more sustainable and animal-friendly shrimp farming using a cutting-edge automated and tech-driven production model. While the initial focus is to supply neighboring countries with farmed shrimp, the companies believe this new production method can be replicated worldwide.

Founded in 2020, the German food and agritech startup Aquapurna has, from the outset, aimed to “develop the most advanced method of land-based shrimp farming to provide the world with delicious shrimp while protecting the planet.”

For two years, Aquapurna has been working together in a joint venture (JV) with Danish land-based aquaculture technology and RAS specialist Billund Aquaculture, to build the next generation of land-based shrimp farms.

The German company operates the only R&D centers in Europe dedicated solely to sustainable and cost-efficient land-based shrimp farming. Through this unique JV, the two firms expect to improve and develop existing practices and technologies as well as going off the beaten path to create a novel farming system, capable of bringing real change to the industry.

While the initial focus is to supply neighboring countries with farmed shrimp, the companies believe this new production method can be replicated worldwide.

The farming most environmentally unfriendly

In recent years, numerous UN and WWF reports have warned about the negative impact shrimp farming has on other species and the environment in general, especially in developing countries. Cited adverse consequences range from annihilated mangrove forests to human trafficking and slavery.

“The overall problem is that shrimp farming is one of the most, if not the most, environmentally unfriendly way of producing seafood. Comparing the average imported Asian shrimp to that of mass domesticated cattle in South America, the CO2 footprint of shrimp is up to ten times worse than beef,” assures Aquapurna’s CEO and co-founder, David Gebhard.

“This is why we have developed a production model that does not emit pollutants or involve using antibiotics. It leaves ecosystems untouched. Ultimately, it’s highly scalable and cost-effective, which puts us in pole position to transform an industry that’s long overdue for change,” he added.

According to Gebhard, by working with Billund Aquaculture the companies will be able to “co-develop a cost-efficient, RAS- based system for large scale shrimp projects in Europe and similar regions”.

Scale up the facilities, next step

Through its JV with Billund Aquaculture, Aquapurna plans to scale up its existing hatchery ‘Lakshmi’, where it is raising broodstock and producing shrimp nauplii, as well as build a large-scale Lighthouse Project that aims to start the revolution of land-based shrimp farming through the development of state-of-the art RAS grow-out unit.

Resilient R&D is the backbone of the project, which is why the two companies aim to further intensify their R&D efforts, to truly create and maintain a market leading technology.

Producing shrimp in a more sustainable way in a very short time

Billund’s Operations and Business Development Manager, Bjarne Hald Olsen, said that “the technology for land-based shrimp farming is not yet suitable for creating large scale facilities. However, we believe that Aquapurna’s expertise in shrimp farming, combined with our experience in developing RAS for different aquaculture species will set us on the right path to producing shrimp in a more sustainable way in a very short time.”

Expertise in recirculating fish farms

Billund Aquaculture is specialized in design, implementation, start up and services for recirculating fish farms. They have vast experience in systems used for the production of fish, presenting themselves as the support of the new generations of fish farmers. They are currently present in more than 20 countries, with over 130 successfully-executed projects. With offices in Denmark, Chile, Norway, Australia and the United States, the company has been a pioneer in the development of RAS worldwide and it is considered a fundamental pillar in the construction of the sustainable and efficient aquaculture of tomorrow.

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