Aquaculture for all

UK shrimp farm set to start construction in 2024

Shrimp Recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) +3 more

FloGro Fresh, a UK-based pioneering aquaculture business founded to produce vannamei shrimp in a RAS facility, is ready to launch at scale after receiving planning permission for its large-scale site in south Lincolnshire.

Vannamei shrimp produced in FloGro's initial R&D farm

The company has recently been granted permission to open its first commercial scale farm © FloGro

It will be the UK’s first industrial-scale shrimp RAS, with an initial modular production unit of 250 tonnes, and will include a hatchery and an additional processing and packing area. The first harvest is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2026. Ultimately the site will be capable of growing in excess of 2,500 tonnes per year as demand builds.

Last week, the UK government awarded the company a £5 million grant as part of the UK Seafood Fund: infrastructure Scheme and the company is currently in a funding round. The company hopes to start construction in the first quarter of 2024.

“We are laying the foundations for the future of a sustainable shrimp British shrimp industry” the company states on its website.

FloGro uses a closed-loop recirculating aquaculture system, powered by renewable energy and features an innovative water treatment solution to recycle water, heat, salt and waste streams. The system can be situated anywhere inland to produce high quality fresh warm saltwater shrimp local to point of consumption, 24 hours from harvest to plate.

The company was established in 2011 by Ralph Maxwell, the managing director, to capitalise on the growing appetite for British produced sea food and won an Innovate UK grant to run feasibility trials for running a closed loop RAS system producing shrimp.

For five years, FloGro operated a research and development farm in Lincolnshire, developing RAS expertise and importing larvae from abroad.

“During this period, we identified optimal shrimp husbandry through careful application and integration of larval breeding with specific grow out feed recipes alongside developing a robust RAS operation and bio-security protocols ,“ the company says on its website.

The small volumes the company produced at the trial farm were sent to restaurants and premium food retailers with wide acclaim for the product. Additionally, during the Covid-19 lockdown, the company grew a direct-to-consumer audience who were willing to pay a premium per kilogram for locally grown, fresh, king prawns delivered to their home within 24 hours of harvest.

After five years of R&D the company says that it is now ready to launch at scale. Critically, FloGro says it has accumulated a wealth of knowledge around feed, animal behaviour, optimal growing environment and conditions to maximise yield and profitability. Essential ingredients are the building of the hatchery to give consistent quality and certainty of larvae supply and to maximise the use of sustainable energy to promote the green credentials of what we will be producing and as demanded by our customers.