Shrimp Sorting Technology

Farmed shrimp provide 6 million tonnes of aquatic food annually. Shrimp are the world’s second most traded marine food with an annual market value of USD 18 Billion. Sorting can greatly improve welfare and economic and production efficiency in aquacultured animals, including shrimp. However, shrimp are not sorted at all currently because there are no viable mechanisms to sort without stress. Sorting is simply considered too stressful for shrimp (many die if they are sorted “Manually”) and too resource- demanding.

AWI scientists have developed self-sorting systems for shrimp in aquaculture. The system exploits natural behaviour, the smaller animals are simply guided through a wall covered with special structures. Other structures, on the other side, are difficult for the shrimp to pass (to return back to where they came from). The combination of such structures in a device can be used to guide small animals through the sorting system, while larger animals cannot pass and small shrimp cannot return. Using this device, size groups of shrimps can be separated without stress, without losses and with minimal manpower.

The aim of the project Sorted! is to further develop this technology to a commercially relevant scale. Together with the partner EcoShrimp, Israel, AWI will develop, design and build a sorting device. This self-sorting device will be integrated into the experimental facility of the partner EcoShrimp and tested iteratively in several production cycles, under pre-commercial conditions. During the trials, controlled data recording will determine the effects on animal health and growth. This data will allow us to demonstrate the benefits of the system in a commercially relevant environment. Already during the project phase, a marketing strategy will be developed that will enable rapid commercial use.

This new system being developed by the partners AWI and EcoShrimp is uniquely capable of improving shrimp yields in aquaculture by allowing successful and stress-free sorting.