Ashtyn Chen in the tank of water and pulls up a dozen or so squirming shrimp. Chen is CEO of Ocean’s Friend Aquaculture, is not working in Louisiana or Texas, but in a 4,000-sq.-foot facility outdoors Pataskala. He runs one of many 181 aquaculture farms in Ohio and one of solely two that produce saltwater shrimp.
Learn About Shrimp Growing With Ashtyn Chen
“I actually deeply consider on this trade,” stated Chen, 26. “It’s a brand new industry I want to be part of, and as we over-fish and over-pollute the oceans increasingly, individuals are going to need a better supply for seafood.”
Chen, a Cambridge, Ohio, native and University of Southern California graduate, founded Ocean’s Friend in 2015 and has expanded to a few operations, in Pataskala, Zanesville and Cambridge. Each operation depends on 3,300-gallon above-floor tanks, each covered by a tarp. The Pataskala farm, which opened in February, has nine tanks.
Ocean Friend buys 10- to 12-day-previous shrimp from a hatchery in Texas and has them shipped through FedEx to Ohio. The shrimp go into nursery tanks for as much as 24 days before going into intermediate tanks for up to two weeks. Finally, they are moved to the grow-out tank, the place they stay for three months earlier than being harvested.
Ocean’s Friend’s three operations include about 280,000 shrimp whole. Chen hopes to consolidate the three operations into one large Pataskala farm by the tip of the year. Chen has added Aussie Red Claw crayfish and sea asparagus to his lineup and is contemplating raising Pompano fish as effectively.
The Pataskala farm is on pace to supply about four hundred pounds of shrimp in April. Chen stated. Some Ocean’s Friend shrimp have ended up on plates on the Bear’s Den Steakhouse in Cambridge. “We attempt to get local,” said Steve Wagner, executive chef on the Bear’s Dean, which has purchased Ocean’s Friend shrimp about a dozen instances. “It’s very important to support the community.”
Ocean’s Friend has additionally opened a retail operation in Pataskala, where consumers can buy recent shrimp for $20 a pound, more expensive than shrimp typically sold in grocery stores however, stated Chen, the shrimp is fresh, candy and tender. Chen’s shrimp are also larger than those found in grocery retailer aisles. When pulled out of the tank, the shrimp are so long as a hand.
Ocean’s Friend and Twin T Shrimp Farm in Clayton near Dayton are the state’s solely saltwater shrimp farms, but they are a part of a rising aquaculture industry within the state. In 2017, 181 aquaculture farms operated in Ohio in 2017, up from 149 in 2012, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. Other aquaculture farms raise numerous seafood together with catfish, trout, bait fish and crustaceans.
“Over half of the seafood we eat is farm-raised,” said Matt Smith, Ohio State University’s aquaculture extension program director. Chen said he is working to help two aquaculture farms get started close to Cincinnati and Athens. For now, he’ll fish the shrimp right out of the tank for patrons.
“We harvest to order,” Chen stated. “So if you happen to desire a pound, we’ll harvest it right out of the tank, nonetheless flipping and flopping. We’ll weigh it, clean it off with some clear water, put it on ice, you’ll be in your method home. Ordinarily individuals have it that night.