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Prawns behind Bars

US - Inmates in a Colorado prison are benefiting from an initiative to set up a shrimp farm alongside an existing tilapia enterprise.

Colorado Correctional Industries managers are hoping it does not take a big product to yield big profits as the inmate work program delves into its newest venture of growing shrimp, reports Pueblo Chieftain.

A test batch of 30,000 shrimp is in its third month of growth in a converted greenhouse at Arrowhead Correctional Center, a minimum-restricted security prison, which also houses a tilapia fish operation and a floral greenhouse operation.

The Pacific white shrimp came from a South Florida production hatchery. When they arrived in late July, the shrimp were barely visible.

Ed McConnell, an inmate working with the shrimp, said: "When we got them, all you could see was a little pair of eyes. It has been a really nice thing watching them grow."

Jim Heaston, agribusiness operations manager, said: "For a prison industry business that runs everything from a furniture factory to metal and fiberglass shops and cow and goat dairies, managers are constantly trying to figure out what we can do to put inmates to work."

Thanks to independent contractor Pat Foley, who has been helping out with the tilapia fish operation, the managers already knew a shrimp expert who has raised the crustaceans from Malaysia to Hawaii.

the Fish Site Editor

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