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How technology boosts shrimp farming labour efficiencies

Ernesto Paredes
XpertSea
Ernesto Paredes
Ernesto Paredes

General Manager of Tecmarstar - Ecuador

Customer

With more than 33 years of experience and once the Manager of a 5000-hectare farm, Ernesto Paredes has developed a wealth of knowledge in the shrimp aquaculture sector. 

Currently acting as the General Manager of Tecmarstar, an 80-hectare farm in Taura, in the Guayas Province of Ecuador, Mr. Paredes has taken an interest in how technology is changing the shrimp industry and how he can be a driving force within the blue revolution.

Challenge

From identifying the latest management practices for increasing profitability to ensuring his field team remains proactive and efficient while working, Mr. Paredes is always on the lookout for new tools to optimize his operations. 

One area of inefficiency that caught Mr. Paredes’ attention was the process of shrimp monitoring.

Every week, technicians would collect and weigh a sample of shrimp from the ponds, count the individual pieces then manually record the results.

The process was tedious and required multiple technicians to complete but couldn’t be eliminated since the data was vital for many decisions on the farm.

Both the feeding rates and the date of harvest were reliant on this information being accurate and timely.

Solution

Mr. Paredes came to know about XpertSea’s technology through a company representative, and as an early technology adopter, he knew he wanted to try the tool at his farm.

Pairing pictures of shrimp taken through the app with powerful artificial intelligence models, XpertSea’s app gives producers valuable shrimp growth information such as,

  • Average body weights

  • Growth rates

  • Weight distributions

  • Commercial sizes

The app reduces the need for manual records by digitally generating faster and more accurate sampling data.

By leveraging the growth data sent directly to users' smartphones, feeding regimes can be adjusted to optimize crop profitability.

Furthermore, harvest sales can be confirmed directly through the app, making it easier for farmers to access secure transactions with shrimp buyers. 

Results

Recap of Ernesto Paredes's case study

Mr. Paredes implemented the XpertSea app into his weekly monitoring to maximize his team’s time and extract the most information from each crop. 

Replacing traditional methods with XpertSea’s app–where the technician places the shrimp into an XpertSea tray and takes a picture–proved to be faster and provided more information than before.

What previously took 1 hour was reduced to only 25 minutes, saving 60% of the sampling time per pond.

“Monitoring with the app is very accurate and gives results similar to what we collect with manual operations. Thanks to the use of the app, workers are more proactive, and time is not wasted.”

In addition to saving labour time, Mr. Paredes used the weight distribution charts provided in the app automatically with each sampling to reduce feed expenses. 

“The weight information is very accurate. I can save between 15% and 20% of the daily diet by giving better feeding and understanding of how the shrimp weights are distributed in a pond. Annually, this could represent $30,000 per cycle for my farm in savings.” 

Knowing with greater precision what was in the pond positively impacted other parts of Mr. Paredes' business.

Using the weight distribution charts, which are converted into the commercial sizes found in the pond, he strengthened his ability to negotiate with buyers and ensure the best prices for his harvest. 

“I used to make weight histograms manually before harvesting, now the application gives it to me immediately. The information I obtain from the app is very accurate and is practically the same size distribution as the one I obtain from the processing plant after harvest.”

The images taken through the app enabled Mr. Paredes to unlock faster capital through XpertSea’s harvest payment service.

Leveraging the information collected about his shrimp growth, he obtained 80% of his crop value on the day of harvest instead of waiting the typical 15 to 60 days observed in Ecuador.

The increased cash flow allowed him to pay his suppliers more quickly and start growing more shrimp right away. 

Conclusion

As an early technology adopter and industry advocate, Mr. Paredes takes pride in testing the XpertSea app and assessing new features before being available to the general market. 

“I want to make sure XpertSea continues working in the industry and will continue developing more technology that will be used by every farmer. The info I get is very useful, it is free, and through my interactions with the XpertSea team, I feel like my needs help guide their future technology development.

Ecuadorian farmers who would like simpler farming and faster payments can download the app and create their accounts for free.

Producers in other countries can send us an email at info@xpertsea.com to tell us how we could help them.

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