Latvian shrimp farmers have high hopes for the future

Two young entrepreneurs in Dobele are expanding their shrimp farming business in the region, planning eventually to be delivering several hundred tons of shrimp to stores and restaurants within a few years, reported Latvian Television Tuesday. 

Prior to being entangled in the lucrative shrimp network, businessmen Māris and Gints installed water purification devices for fish farms, and as a result they became interested in farming underwater creatures.

When they started out, people called them opportunists, while now even the greatest skeptics have to adapt their views.

The place where the shrimp are grown has a temperature of a tropical +35 degrees Celsius, while shrimp pool temperatures are at +27C.

Māris and Gints took their first steps growing shrimp in Rīga, however it was too expensive due to high electricity and gas costs.

The business gathered pace when agriculturists Juris Pilveris and Uldis Pilveris became interested in their venture. Their biogas plant offered heat and electricity, plus they had decided to start growing sturgeons themselves.

"We started growing sturgeons. As the facilities are large and we couldn't use them all, we found a company in Rīga that was trying to grow shrimp, and as their largest expenses were heating bills we invited them to cooperate and grow [shrimp] at our place," said Juris Pilveris.

At first they imported little shrimp from the US, while now they are planning to breed them on the spot.

"These shrimp have grown enough to be used for growing roe. That's why we put them in a special pool to be able to breed them later," said shrimp grower Māris Hmeļņickis, adding that shrimp be at least 10 months old to be used for breeding.

At the moment they are growing several tons of shrimp a year in Latvia. Most of them are exported to Scandinavia. Their future plans are nothing short of grandiose.

"Our future plans are to create a 300-ton farm here in the Dobele region within a few years," said Hmeļņickis.

Most shrimp come from the Asian countries and are frozen. Latvians could be called shrimp pioneers in Europe, as besides them only German and Spanish farmers have ventured into this business.

Here's the whole story in Latvian, featuring delicious, locally-grown shrimp.

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