GARAPAN Saipan — The owner of Saipan’s  shrimp farm entered into a joint venture with a company based in Hainan China to open a bigger hatchery on island that will cultivate brood stocks for export.

Anthony Pellegrino owner and president of Saipan Aquaculture Co. Inc. which operates Marianas Sweet Shrimp; visited Hainan and met with officials of Hainan Houston Shrimp Farms who he said agreed to a proposal to open the hatchery.

According to Pellegrino Hainan Houston Shrimp Farms has 16 hatcheries in China and the Philippines.

“We did a joint venture. They like Saipan because it has the right climate ” Pellegrino told the Journal. He said the hatchery will be built in Obyan an area near the Saipan International Airport adding that negotiations are ongoing with officials of the Northern Mariana Islands Department of Public Lands for a permit to construct and operate the facility.

“The hatchery will be for growing brood stocks for export to China Singapore Malaysia and the Philippines ” Pellegrino said. “We expect to start growing the shrimp at the new place by February next year and first export will start between October and November ” he added.

Brood stocks are used for spawning. It takes six to eight months to grow them to the right size.

Pellegrino planned to expand his operations from Upper Gualo Rai where his 8 000 square-meter shrimp farm is to Tanapag a beachfront area that was a focal point for the U.S. armed forces during the second World War II.

 He decided against it upon advice of the Northern Mariana Islands Division of Environmental Quality which cited environmental hazards because the site used to be a fuel storage farm during the war and was also cited by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers because of traces of cancer-causing polychlorinated biphenyl in the soil.

Pellegrino opened his shrimp farm in Upper Gualo Rai in February 2005.

“We are doubling the capacity to grow shrimp. We are now making more space more tanks in Upper Gualo Rai. Our objective next year is to be able to do about 3 000 pounds a month. We hope that in the middle of May or June we should have achieved that ” Pellegrino said.

The variety is called white shrimp belonging to the penaeus vannemei species and is specific pathogen-free. The SPF varieties are immune to about six viruses and are therefore healthier. MBJ