Posted at 18 January 2021
Interview of Hiroshi Ozeki, General Manager at Diana Aqua Durán, Ecuador
Ecuador is the world´s second largest shrimp exporter only surpassed by India nowadays. Yet the country’s shrimp farms also produce a lot of valuable co-products. This is an opportunity for Diana Aqua subsidiary in Durán, Ecuador, to offer new products that contribute to sustainability in various ways.
When we look out our office window in Durán, we can see the anglers at work in the Guayas River. Our customers, the shrimp feed manufacturers, are practically outside our door. Our production facility is in the center of the Ecuadorian shrimp production.
Alongside oil and bananas, shrimp are one of the country’s most important export products.
In 2019, Ecuador exported 3.6 billion US Dollars’ worth of shrimp around the globe. The animals are bred in very large aquafarms, in extensive way harvested after three to four months, then packed and shipped to many countries around the world. Some customers want shrimp without heads and shells; only the tail can stay on. Peeling takes place in factories on-site, directly after its harvest. This results in more than over 5,000 metric tons of shrimp waste each month. “This residue was a big problem for the industry up until a few years ago,” says Hiroshi Ozeki, General Manager at Diana Aqua for the LATAM and NA regions. “It frequently ended up on surrounding fields. An environmentally friendly solution was needed."
"We saw these leftovers as more of an opportunity than a problem,” says Hiroshi. "There are nutrients we can extract from shrimp heads. With our experience in hydrolyzing different raw materials, we worked to develop a process using the shrimp remains to manufacture high-quality ingredients that contained all these nutrients and could be used for the manufacture of diets for farmed fish. The result are a powder (Actipal) rich in peptides and amino acids that is the best performing palatant and also nutritious, that in turn contributes to better health of the fish, and a liquid (Extrapal) targeting carnivorous fish feed palatability. Both are manufactured in a batch hydrolysis process with the help of enzymes. We thereby guarantee a consistent and high level of quality".
The quality of the shrimp is important, and Hiroshi explains that it is very high in Ecuador. This has to do with the shrimp farming methods used in the country.
Fewer shrimp are raised per square meter of water in Ecuador than in other countries. The location of the production site also plays a role in the quality. “We’re also located here in Durán to keep transport distances short. We process the shrimp products within 24 hours of catching them,” Hiroshi explains.
Diana Aqua sells our made in Ecuador powder and liquid mainly to carnivorous fish aquaculture industries in all major farming countries, making fish farming as environmentally friendly as possible, also for fish feed. Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing sectors in food production in the world and farmers have a strong will to reduce the impact of fish farming on the planet.
Our shrimp based solutions help our customers around the word to reduce the amount of fish meal in their formula with high digestibility and high quality protein. For the liquid part, used as a palatability enhancer, it helps reduce the fish cycle and the overall aquaculture footprint. Hiroshi is convinced: “With our Actipal and Extrapal products, we are helping to make commercial fish farming more sustainable in the long term.”