Wild harvest largely supplies the ornamental marine fish markets. Impacts from over-harvest threaten not only the species directly, but the coral reefs in which they live. These habitats are directly and indirectly degraded leading to a proliferation of harm to the eco-system. These trends have been escalating for ornamental shrimp species in particular. We want to offer a sustainable and responsible alternative to prevent over-harvest that supports ornamental consumer market demands.
Commercial intensive propagation. The solution is to develop commercial habitats, hatchery, and production capacity. In this manner, the economic opportunity can be addressed without degrading the environment. This capacity can only exist by developing hatchery and production protocols that span the entire life-cycle from spawning to larval rearing through market delivery. The prototype will implement these protocols on a cutting edge system combining physical and mechanical filtration and habitat considerations. This prototype will focus on the Sexy Shrimp (yes, that is the actual common name, the latin name is Thor amboinensis). Methods developed are anticipated to also be applicable with adjustment to Skunk Shrimp and Firecracker Shrimp. Prototype results will be transferred to the commercial sector for production and implementation. A committed commercial partner, Sunset Creek LLC in Hampton Virginia, has already committed to commercializing this species once the prototype is complete. This approach has already shown success with Peppermint shrimp (see https://youtu.be/7FkbBdQH6B8) and Clownfish before that. The Virginia Seafood AREC team is enabled to effectively implement such multi-dimensional (bio / tech / procedures) because of their lab and funding through Virginia Tech, but that funding stops short of species conservation projects.
Larval stages will have similar dietary requirements as compared to Peppermint Shrimp with regard to live feeds
Density, water quality, water chemistry similar to Peppermint Shrimp
Market price of $15+ per shrimp (markup is over 100% to get to a retail of $40)
1) Lack of repeatable process for husbandry of broodstock 2) Need to determine optimal conditions and system to cultivate larvae 3) Maintain compact habitat structure and cost for commercial viability
Make Sexy Shrimp viable for commercial production. Enable new economic opportunities. Collapse the market for illegal trade of Sexy Shrimp. End over-harvest of Sexy Shrimp in the wild. Ensure the survival of the species in the wild as well as their role in the eco-system. Help preserve and protect coral reefs specifically through the preservation of Sexy Shrimp and their critical cleaning function.
Dr. Schwarz has the overall system and husbandry knowledge Mr. Urick has the proven design of systems and protocols for similar species The AREC lab has water intakes, test labs and necessary underlying infrastructure The project needs $3500 for consumables - feed, materials, pumps, supplies, etc