weather icon Clear

North Las Vegas shrimp farm offers locavores fresh seafood

In the northern most point of North Las Vegas, immersed in the dry desert climate 300 miles from the nearest ocean, salt water shrimp are thriving.

The 30,000-square-foot Blue Oasis Pure Shrimp Farm opened at the beginning of the month in the Kapex area of the city, 30 miles north of the Strip. The $5 million farm aims to produce fresh, sustainable, white shrimp from pond to plate to a majority of the West Coast.

Shrimp are grown and harvested in 44 ponds built from recycled shipping containers. No water is discharged from the tanks, making the facility completely self-sufficient and environmentally friendly. The shrimp’s waste is used to fertilize the algae that keeps the salt water system going. An estimated 462,177 pounds of shrimp are expected to be harvested annually when the facility reaches full production capacity.

The first shrimp are scheduled to be ready for purchase Sept. 1. Many chefs from the Strip’s high-end restaurants are first in line to buy the product because they will no longer have to rely on frozen shrimp imported from Asia.

About 85 to 90 percent of the shrimp served in the valley come from overseas. Las Vegas is one of the top shrimp-eating cities nationwide, according to Scott McManus, CEO of Ganix Bio-Technologies, which opened the plant.

The company is expected to sell the shrimp at local grocery stores late next year, he added.

North Las Vegas Mayor Shari Buck and Councilwomen Anita Wood and Pamela Goynes-Brown toured the facility when it opened. All comically struggled to put on blue protective booties over their shoes as they entered the fishy-smelling, tent-like structure.

The sounds of running water and pumps echo throughout the facility. One peek into the recycling water reveals tiny shrimp about one week old. Another container shows larger shrimp about 24 days old scurrying across the bottom. A typical growth cycle is about 120 days.

Over the next five years, the plant is expected to bring about $16.3 million into the financially strapped city, including about $900,000 in property taxes and $180,000 in state sales tax, Buck said.

The project also created 30 jobs.

Buck, who confessed that she is not a shrimp eater, added that she was skeptical when she heard the facility wasn’t going to use a lot of water.

"The technology is just amazing," she said. " Think about the other types of foods we could grow — other things we could do organically — that don’t use a lot of water that can maybe be grown in parts of the world where there’s water deficiency. This technology could come in and fill a need. This will be fresh, organic and grown in North Las Vegas. It makes me proud."

Wood said it was "tough to visualize" this concept.

"They kept talking about tanks in the middle of the desert and not having to continually add water," she said. " Just being able to bring in the chefs and bring in consumers who love shrimp, like I do, is tremendous. It will bring stability to this market like we’ve never had before."

Goynes-Brown, a self-professed seafood eater, said the farm "sets us apart from other cities and sets a precedent that this can be done."

"It puts us on the map, and I’m excited about it," she said. "I think the process they use, fresh out of the pond, will bring the taste back. The stuff you get now, it’s like just chewing stuff in your mouth just to chew. Now we’ll be able to enjoy it again.

"This is fabulous. It will bring in new business and jobs, it will help stabilize our economy, and it’s all positive."

Contact Downtown and North Las Vegas View reporter Kristi Jourdan at kjourdan@viewnews.com or 383-0492.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Mob Month is back at the Clark County Library

For the fifth year the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District is making an offer some people find they can’t refuse. Mob Month is coming back to the Clark County Library, 1401 E. Flamingo Road, with events Tuesday nights in January.

7 ways autocomplete can get smarter

Autocomplete is one of the best (or depending on how hastily you push ‘send’ – worst) things in the world. We rely on it so much that Google plans to let us autocomplete whole emails. Here are seven ways predictive input can improve. 1. Recognizing names from previous emails Jakub Kokoszka has a tough name to […]

Movie posters might soon be based on your clicks

You may have thought you left Blockbuster behind, but the basic way we browse movies hasn’t changed all that much. We peruse poster after poster, kind of like walking the aisles of a ‘90s-era video store. That one poster image, meant to appeal to as many people as possible, is often all we see before […]

What I’ll be covering at NAB 2018

The National Association of Broadcasters show kicks off this weekend in Las Vegas.  The show focuses on new and emerging technologies and trends in relation to the media and entertainment industries. As it’s not open to the public, I’ll be at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday to share some of […]

EXECUTIVE TRAVEL: Forget Strip flash; some prefer lake’s panache

If you get called to a board meeting at Lake Las Vegas, you might want to bring your swimsuit. That’s the term Westin at Lake Las Vegas marketing director Matt Boland uses for upright paddleboard races, one of many team-building exercises offered regularly at the resort.

After $4,700 in live poker career winnings, James Romero, 27, wins nearly $2 million

It was a 15-year celebration of The World Poker Tour at Bellagio for the Five Diamond World Poker Classic. The largest field size in WPT Five Diamond’s history was created when 791 entries were tallied, and it was James Romero, 27, of Portland, Oregon, who won his first WPT title.

Auto electronics at SEMA and AAPEX: A brave new world

The Specialty Equipment Market Association celebrated its 50th annual SEMA show at Las Vegas Convention Center this month by showcasing a car culture of “do-it-yourself” garage mechanics who share a passion for customizing vehicles.