Shrimp In Minnesota: Company Announces Harbor Coming To Luverne

Americans consume more than 1.5 billion pounds of shrimp every year, and about 80 percent of it is imported from Southeast Asia. But a Minnesota company is hoping to change that in the next few years. Tru Shrimp Systems announced Monday that they’re bringing their first ever commercial shrimp harbor to Luverne.

“The whole world is watching what we’re doing. The whole shrimp world is watching,” said Michael Ziebell.

The President and CEO of trū Shrimp Systems says the whole world has their eyes on Minnesota watching as they get ready to break ground on ‘Luverne Bay Harbor’ early next year. The more than $50 million facility will sit on a 30 acre site along Interstate 90 just west of Papik Motors.

“We’re going to build the foremost shrimp production facility in the world in the precincts of your city,” said Ziebell speaking at a press conference fulls of community leaders at Grand Prairie Events in Luverne.

Ziebell says the facility will house 256 ‘tidal basins’ or tanks that hold about a foot of water. Ziebell says the tanks will be 150 feet long and stacked eight high. Robots will feed the shrimp eight times a day. He says the shrimp have a current environment for them to grow in. All of the refuse, the uneaten feed and fecal matter, gets carried away and exhausted from the tanks. The shrimp never live in their own waste.

“The shrimp of Southeast Asia are latent with disease and antibiotics and the American people are pushing back against that; the American consumer and we have the answer for that,” Ziebell said.

Ziebell says it was validated a year ago that they could grow shrimp in shallow water at their research facility in Balaton. The company will also build a training facility there, and a hatchery in Marshall. They’ll also be renovating a facility in Marshall for processing. The facility in Luverne will be the first of many so called harbors across the state. But why Minnesota?

Ziebell said, “The feed is here. We brought the shrimp to the feed, the soybeans. We’re the first ever to feed shrimp corn effectively.”

The company say they wouldn’t have been able to invest in the city without the connection to the Lewis & Clark Water System a little over a year ago. The system was incorporated in 1990 and now has 20 members.

Lewis & Clark Regional Water System Executive Director Troy Larson said, “This project has been a battle uphill for so many years, but we kept saying the reason we’re doing this is for economic development and improved quality of life. That’s the whole reason Lewis & Clark exists is improve quality of life and expanded economic development, and it’s so exciting to us who have been working for so long on this project to see it finally coming to fruition.”

Ziebell says it will take about 70 people to operate the facility in Luverne, 60 in Marshall, and 20 in Balaton. They hope to harvest their first shrimp at Luverne Bay Harbor in July of 2019.

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