SeaFood Business

MAY 2013

SeaFood Business is the global trusted authority for seafood buyers and sellers. We are the seafood industry's leading trade magazine with more than 30 years of experience. Our coverage is based on the "business" of buying and selling seafood.

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Page 44 of 54

Special Feature Photo by Melissa Wood a nondescript warehouse is home to Massachusetts' frst shrimp farm. Shrimp start-up New England shrimp farmers hope to create a niche for domestic product By MeliSSa Wood L ike many types of partnerships these days, the people behind a shrimp farm that is the frst of its kind in New England found each other online. James Tran, founder and CEO of Sky 8 Shrimp Farm, investigated starting his own indoor shrimp farm by visiting operations in Indiana and Nevada and trying out small-scale experiments in his spare time. It was a career shift from the semiconductor business and his electrical engineering background, but made some sense given his family history of harvesting wild and farmed shrimp in Vietnam. 40 SeaFood Business May 2013 "Even though I came here when I was young, basically my whole family are fshermen," he says. He decided to pursue the project in earnest. After getting nowhere with Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, he was told by a state regulator he needed to fnd a seafood expert. He found 40-year seafood industry veteran Peter Howard in an online search and gave him a call. "He called me and said, 'Do you want to start a shrimp farm? I said, 'When do you want to start?' He said, 'Next month,'" remembers Howard, who is a part owner and overseeing sales and marketing for Sky 8. A year later in April, their venture, located in Stoughton, Mass., was preparing to introduce its frst batch of 16-count Pacifc white shrimp (Penaeus vannamei) to the market. Howard says the market focus for Sky 8 will be local — and upscale — with wholesale prices between $14 and $20 per pound. "I see the market in fne product that is imported. "Te shrimp are going to be sold right as they come out of the water." Te company name comes from Skyworks Solutions in nearby Woburn, for which Tran designed and built semiconductors. Tran included the number 8 in the company name because he believed it was the eighth farm of its type in the United States. Sky 8's shrimp operation is the frst in Massachusetts, and the frst of its type in New England, where the waters are too cold for outdoor ponds common in shrimp farming around the world. Other indoor farms can be found in Maryland, Illinois and Nevada. Sky 8 and other indoor farms are just a tiny slice of the U.S. farmed shrimp industry. Although shrimp is the most consumed seafood species in the United States, the majority, 1.17 billion pounds in 2012, is imported. Te uniqueness of the operation led to some initial challenges. Even with Howard's help the permitting phase hit a roadblock when it took two months for the state to create an appropriate application form for them to fll out. It also wasn't easy fnding a landlord. Most start-ups don't include giant indoor tanks of seawater and live animals. "i see the market in fine dining. The shrimp are going to be sold right as they come out of the water." — Peter Howard, part owner, Sky 8 Shrimp Farm dining," says Howard, who hopes it will appeal to top Boston chefs cooking whole shrimp instead of the more common headless frozen Te space that eventually became Sky 8's home is located within an industrial park. From the outside, it Continued on page 46 Visit us online at

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