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Lab conducts largest-ever shrimp harvest

OCEAN SPRINGS — About 3,000 pounds of shrimp have been harvested from an aquaculture project at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory’s Cedar Point site.

The harvest of saltwater shrimp Aug. 10 was the largest since the program began in the mid-1980s, said Jeff Lotz, chairman of the University of Southern Mississippi Department of Coast Sciences and director of the Cochran Aquaculture Center.

The center is the largest commercial-scale shrimp farm research and development site in the United States. Scientists at the facility are working to find the most economical and environmentally friendly way to raise shrimp.

The healthy 25 to 30 count shrimp harvested were grown in just 13 weeks.

“Right now, it probably costs about $5 a pound to produce these shrimp, and we’re trying to get that down lower. And the way we do that is faster growth rate and higher densities,” Lotz said.

Lotz said the program aims to harvest about 500 pounds of shrimp per tank every 13 weeks, which is the minimal production for a commercial facility.

Among the selling points for the farm-raised shrimp are they are fresh and extensively tested compared to minimal tests of imported shrimp, he said.

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