Among the exhibitors at the 23rd Japan International Seafood and Technology Expo, taking place at the Tokyo International Exhibition Center from 8 to 10 November, will be a number of pioneering shrimp-farming recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), including Tokyo, Japan-based International Mariculture Technology Engineering (IMTE), the developer of a proprietary “Indoor Shrimp Production System.”
The ISPS system in place at its pilot farm in Myoko City, Niigata Prefecture, is a clear-water recirculating aquaculture system that uses an external biofilter in addition to the micro-screen. ISPS was developed in cooperation with the Japan International Research Center for Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, an industry-government collaboration. The system features a wavemaker, a quasi-natural environment with artificial seaweed and hidden places to reduce stress for the shrimp, and water filtration through a micro-screen.
In October 2020, IMTE teamed up with Osaka-based Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO) in a joint venture to farm whiteleg shrimp (Penaeus vannamei) on land, and to process and sell them to food-processing companies and restaurants under the brand name “Yuki Ebi.” The new company, called Kaiko Yukinoya Co., is 98 percent owned by KEPCO, with IMTE holding 2 percent. Initial capital was JPY 10 million (USD 96,000, EUR 81,000) and Ryo Akita of Kansai Electric Power Co. is the representative director.
Kaiko Yukinoya is in the process of constructing a 16,000-square-meter production facility in Iwata City, Shizuoka Prefecture, with six 12-by- 40-meter grow-out pool lanes and four nursery tanks. The original target to start production at the new plant was January 2022, with sales to begin in May of the same year, but IMTE Executive Advisor Setsuo Nohara told SeafoodSource, the construction is three months behind schedule and will be completed in May.
Kaiko Yukinoya also recently announced an expansion into e-commerce and direct-to-consumer sales. Clicking a shopping basket link on the Kaiko Yukinoya Co. Ltd. website displays the “Craftfish” e-commerce website, with pages devoted to the Yuki Ebi brand. The company touts the quality achieved through sterilization, vacuum-packaging, and instant-freezing, all conducted at a facility adjacent to the production site. This results in high-quality shrimp can be thawed and eaten raw, according to the company. The shrimp are produced without chemicals, antibiotics, preservatives or water-retention agents, and the stress-free environment obtained by simulating seaweed, and the exercise of swimming due to the wave-maker, give the shrimp an improved eating texture, the company said.
The shrimp are offered on the site in L, 2L, 3L, and mixed sizes in a price range of JPY 4,019 to JPY 5,610 (USD 35.29 to USD 43.96, EUR 30.42 to EUR 42.46) for three packs of eight to 10 shrimp, depending on the size.
As part of its efforts to improve its systems, Kaiko Yukinoya is seeking to improve the survival and growth rates through technical research using internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence, and image analysis for management and control of water quality, temperature, and feeding.
“We are currently developing the technology, and the survival rate from the young shrimp is about 70 percent,” Nohara said.
IMT Engineering also provides consulting services and will be promoting the system widely at the show. Nippon Suisan Kaisha (Nissui), also based in Tokyo, will also be in attendance at the show. It operates a competing land-based shrimp farm in Kagoshima Prefecture that utilizes a bio-floc system that uses microbes to clean its tank-water by converting waste products to food. Shipments from that operation commenced in 2017.
Last year’s Japan International Seafood and Technology Expo was canceled due to the pandemic, but the 2019 event attracted 9,426 visitors over the three days of the trade show.
Photo courtesy of International Mariculture Technology Engineering