Transforming Shrimp farming: The IoT Advantage

Based on projections gathered by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), it is anticipated that by the year 2050, food production will be required to increase by 60% to adequately nourish a global population of 9.3 billion. In the coming decade, as global food systems work to accommodate the needs of an expanding global population, it becomes increasingly imperative to give greater consideration to the aquatic dimension. Aquaculture is set to play a key role in ensuring food and nutrition security.

Spotlight on shrimp
Within aquaculture, shrimp will be crucial in ensuring food and nutrition security. It is a relatively efficient source of protein. Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR) is the ratio of feed intake to the weight gained by an animal. Feed Conversion Ratios (FCRs) usually range from 3.0 to 5.0 for pigs, 1.7 to 2.0 for chicken, and 1.0 to 1.7 for farmed shrimp.

In the best-case scenario, if it takes 2 kg of feed to produce 1 kg of chicken, then only 1 kg of feed is needed to produce 1 kg of shrimp. This is 100% feed conversion efficiency. Moreover, besides being an outstanding protein source, shrimp is rich in essential minerals such as iron, manganese, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, and more. It also boasts antioxidants that bolster immunity, making it a valuable addition to a balanced diet. The demand for shrimp has been steadily increasing and is projected to continue growing in the future. Due to its numerous benefits shrimp stands as one of the most valuable traded marine products. Success in shrimp farming will serve as a major contributor to ensuring food and nutrition security.

Risks in shrimp farming
Shrimp farming comes with its own set of risks throughout the value chain, but it’s the farmer who shoulders the greatest risk. From volatile market prices to the threat of diseases, crop failure, poor seed quality, escalating production costs, limited access to credit, and sustainability challenges, the farmer navigates a complex landscape of uncertainties. To ensure the success of shrimp farming, it’s imperative to empower the farmers who bear the brunt of these risks. Among the challenges they face, fluctuating prices and disease outbreaks pose the most risk.

Mitigating shrimp farmer risk using technology
Reducing Farmer Risk Amid Fluctuating Shrimp Prices
In the face of fluctuating shrimp prices, farmers often face uncertainty about their profitability. However, technology emerges as a crucial ally, enabling them to mitigate the impact of price volatility by cutting production costs. By fostering operational excellence, technology streamlines processes, allowing farmers to boost biomass per hectare, lower FCR (Feed Conversion Ratio), and ultimately slash production expenses.

Addressing Farmer Risk Associated with Diseases
Utilizing technology for enhanced monitoring and control of shrimp culture results in increased growth rates, higher survival rates, and strengthened biosecurity. By continuously monitoring and taking proactive measures based on data insights, the occurrence of diseases can be significantly minimized.

Technology products that are transforming aquaculture
Automatic feeders
Shrimps grow optimally when they are fed a controlled quantity of feed frequently. Automatic enables this requirement. As the feed is dispensed frequently and in small quantities, there is minimal feed wastage. This has a five-fold benefit.1. Shrimp growth and survival improve as shrimps always have access to fresh feed.
2. Due to improved shrimp growth, the number of days of culture decreases.
3. FCRs decrease and farmers save considerably on feed costs.
4. Water quality does not deteriorate as there is no excess feed rotting in water.
5. The pond bottom remains healthy as sludge formation decreases.

Acoustic feeders
Unlike land-based farming, shrimp grows underwater. What happens underwater is a black box for the farmer. In traditional farming, the farmer decides how much feed to dispense. With super-intelligent acoustic sensors, hydrophones detect shrimp sounds and use these sounds to develop algorithms that create feeding advice. Using acoustic feeders, the shrimp decides how much feed needs to be dispensed based on its appetite rather than the farmer deciding the same. This leads to significantly reduced FCRs for the farmer.

Continuous water quality monitoring systems
Good water quality is paramount for shrimp growth and health. Maintaining the right amount of dissolved oxygen is essential for shrimp survival and optimum growth. The ammonia, pH, and salinity levels in the water must be at the right levels to ensure good shrimp health. Real-time water quality monitoring devices continuously monitor essential water quality parameters and alert the farmer in case any parameter crosses the critical level. This helps the farmer in ensuring good crop health and de-risks them from any sudden crop wipe-outs.

Applications for farm management
The data from all the sensors serves as great fuel for predictive analysis. There are various applications available that aggregate this data, run complex analytics, and display this data in an easy-to-understand format for the farmer to be able to make data-driven decisions.

Technology and sustainability
The integration of technology in shrimp farming not only enhances efficiency but also promotes sustainability. By minimizing feed wastage, technology helps maintain optimal water quality and ensures the health of the pond bottom. Moreover, leveraging advanced techniques allows for increased shrimp production within the same land and water resources, thereby enhancing environmental efficiency.

Through the utilization of advanced tools such as automatic feeders, acoustic sensors, and continuous water quality monitoring systems, farmers can optimize their operations, enhance productivity, and minimize environmental impact. As we embrace the IoT advantage in shrimp farming, we not only enhance profitability and sustainability but also pave the way for a brighter future where food security is assured for generations to come.

By Twisha Upadhyay, Eruvaka Technologies