Supplying the world demand for shrimp and finfish causes a host of environmental, social, and food safety issues. Caught in the wild or farmed, the world’s seafood supplies are depleting at a rapid rate. Small improvements have been made to help address these growing concerns; unfortunately, it is not enough to appease the world’s seafood protein demands.
Shrimp trawlers using skimmers, midwater, or bottom trawl nets, destroy marine life by scooping up everything in their path. By-catch, ranges from 2.5 to 5 pounds of fish, crab and other marine life hauled in for every pound of wild caught shrimp. Although by-catch can be used for human consumption or fish food, it is more often than not dumped back as a casualty of trawling techniques. Bottom trawlers in particular destroy the benthic floor where vital corals and 98 percent of ocean life are found. The disruption of the ocean floor is so extensive that it causes huge mud plumes visible from space.
Small improvements have been implemented such as adding escape openings in nets to allow some marine life a chance once ensnared. This modification has lowered the amount of sea life destroyed in the shrimp fisheries but, it is still not a solution for all the damage trawlers can cause.
Traditional aquaculture methods are, sadly, just as damaging to the environment. Vast expanses of coastal mangrove forests, where the young of countless fish and crab species shelter and grow, are gone, uprooted to make way for thousands of hectares of shrimp Ponds. Once in operation, these open-air farms face the devastating effects of disease such as White Spot, Taura and Early Mortality Syndromes. These can cripple production and drive nations out of the shrimp aquaculture business.
The GBT Solution
Both definitions apply to Global Blue Technologies’ (GBT) effect on aquaculture.
On every level, on the science of aquaculture, its effect on business as well as how it relates to its product, its co-workers, clients, the community and the environment, GBT’s approach to aquaculture is “revolutionary.” It is revolutionary in its impact on avoiding and reducing damage to the environment. It is revolutionary in how it raises its farmed shrimp and farmed finfish. It is revolutionary in how it conducts business and builds relationships with its employees, consumers, buyers, and the community.
GBT’s aquaculture technology transcends traditional approaches to cultured seafood – shrimp and finfish – and commercially far outstrips the production efforts of academic and boutique projects.
GBT technology applied to farmed shrimp is a proprietary modular bio-secure recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) developed since 2009 that produces large quantities of U/15 and U/12 Pennaeus vannamei white shrimp of the highest sushi grade, faster, and more economically than ever before.
GBT’s modular farm includes:
- Enclosed bio-secure modules.
- Each module has eight ponds under cover.
- Each module will produces approximately 625,000 pounds of colossal shrimp annually (10 million pounds per year per farm).
- Harvest size can be tailored to meet market demand.
GBT shrimp are descended from a proprietary genetic line of specific pathogen-free shrimp bred for rapid growth and large tail size.
GBT uses bacterial flock as feed reducing the food-conversion-ratio (FCR). The GBT harvesting protocol results in our shrimp reaching the market with the highest standards of quality.
GBT’s aquaculture system is based upon our proprietary biological filtration system that operates in a state of equilibrium without any chemical supplements or water replacement except for evaporation.
Nutritious bacterial flocks are the basis for “natural production” in GBT’s system. Typically, these flocks consist of a significant amount of protein and much higher than the protein content of commercial feeds reducing the need of fishmeal and lowering the impact on the environment as wells as the cost of production. We believe the GBT growth protocol is perhaps the greenest and most sustainable in the industry.
GBT is committed to the principal of producing world-class quality product without additives in keeping with accepted standards of good manufacturing practices based on HACCP and ISO related international conformity.
GBT’s team members enjoy long standing working relations with major buyers and fully understand the importance of maintaining every buyer’s confidence that GBT shrimp meet all product and quality attributes: size, quality, continuity of supply, additive and antibiotic free, competitively priced, organically and sustainably produced.
Whether shrimp or finfish, GBT’s corporate goal is to produce the highest quality farmed seafood and build relationships within industry, with consumers and the community ethically.
We truly believe Global Blue Technologies is indeed the new paradigm for global aquaculture.
Evolution of GBT
GBT’s proprietary Recirculating Aquaculture System was developed over the last 18 years, encompassing tens of millions of dollars of research. GBT’s system is unique and we believe superior to any other RAS in the world today. Other RAS companies have made claims that their systems are as effective and have the same origins as GBT. Here is our response in a “question and answer” interview format to those claims:
Question: Reports of companies touting their use of zero discharge, recirculating aquaculture systems to farm shrimp are appearing almost daily in seafood industry news and on the Internet. How does GBT’s technology differ from other RAS ventures?
Answer: The obvious answer is that all RAS systems do what their name says they do, namely recirculate pond water in a way that it is reused and not discharged into the environment. That said, each system varies in some subtle and some not so subtle ways. The biggest difference is how each deals with waste.
A second differentiation, of course, is the production capability of a particular system. Can the system produce quantities of shrimp or any marine animal as a niche or boutique facility that sells by the pound at a very local retail scale; can they supply customers in say a medium size city or two in a particular state; or are they producing truly commercial volumes aimed at a national or even global market.
Question: Global Blue Technologies’ pedigree, according to GBT literature, appears to have evolved over a period of years. Can you comment on the company’s development?
Answer: Prior to his founding of Global Blue Technologies, David Wills spent a lifetime, first in the national and later in the international humane movement, working to expose man’s inhumanity towards animals on land, in the air and in the sea. At the core of his work, then and now, is the constant search to find solutions to each environmental problem he confronted.
During that time and later serving nearly a decade as environmental consultant to Darden Restaurants, Wills recognized the dilemma facing shrimp aquaculture. On one hand, it was the source of jobs and income for the most poverty-stricken segment of the population of emerging nations; while on the other, it was causing terrific environmental damage.
Question: Is that the genesis of the GBT system?
Answer: That coupled with the convergence of happenstance, yes!
In 1998, David Wills was asked to conduct an audit of the ten years of federally funded research on shrimp aquaculture at a southern university.
His visit to the facility provided an opportunity to test a theory developed during his travels across the planet that he believed might prove a “solution” to the environmental problems of shrimp farms around the globe.
The academic research he reviewed proved very sound science on the biology of shrimp, but lacked any semblance of commercial viability, much less provide a foundation upon which an American shrimp aquaculture industry could be built.
Wills, with a friend and colleague who was the nation’s leading expert on environmental legislation, the late Stephen Boynton, brought together local investors and created Penaeus Ltd to test his ideas on how to improve growth parameters of farmed shrimp in an environmentally compatible way.
(Below is the Ocean Spring News story on Penaeus, Ltd.)
Wills’ improvements to the rudimentary RAS system pioneered at the university and the, then unheard of, refinements to raceway construction brought shrimp farm technology a few steps closer to the way nature functions and won over the most ardent doubters. Unfortunately, sufficient funding could not be secured to allow Penaeus Ltd to grow beyond an R&D facility into a commercial farm.
Still, Wills’ theory proved correct. The next step was to run a commercial-scale “proof of concept” R&D project.
A South African firm offered to fund the “proof of concept” project and in 2006, Wills traveled to South Africa where he performed the necessary research into his early theory’s commercial viability. He grew tens of thousands of pounds of very large shrimp faster and more economically than previously thought possible. Despite that success, he came to the realization that the technology employed at the South African project was still gravely flawed and ultimately would not achieve commercial sustainability. By 2007, all valuable data from the project was completed.
Quite without warning, the South African partners in the venture decided to break the original agreement made with Wills and after an acrimonious confrontation Wills, seeing no future in South Africa, returned to the United States.
Question: The South African group you worked with posted a very impressive video on YouTube in September 2012. The video showed a modern, fully operational shrimp farm. Is that facility still operational?
Answer: No, any inference to the contrary is a total fabrication. By 2009, the South African company found it could not duplicate Wills’ work nor could it obtain sufficient electricity or the necessary permits from the South African government (as Wills predicted) and closed the project’s doors. Google Earth satellite pictures show the facility to be abandoned and stripped of any and all equipment and buildings.