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American Prawn Cooperative
22 Jun 2011
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The American Prawn Cooperative (APC) is "writing the book on the prawn industry." The APC feeds their prawn all natural feed (no animal or fish byproducts). They use no chemicals, no antibiotics, no hormones. They "don’t even treat the fire ants around the edge of the ponds." Their ponds are designated no fly zones, so that no airplanes or crop-duster planes can fly over the ponds potentially polluting the waters. And the APC recycles their water from one pond to the next, practicing water conservation. The APC will soon be certified organic and the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch list has voted them "Best Choice" for sustainable seafood. North Carolina has hard water—bad for washing clothes but great for prawns since crustaceans need to take calcium from water for their shells. The clay soil of North Carolina is essential for holding water in prawn ponds, and eastern North Carolina has excellent aquifers for feeding the ponds. The APC, whose processing facility is located in Greene County, bought two big steel trailers, 16 hauling tanks, and oxygen equipment (for the prawns) for their project. This equipment is invaluable because when prawns are stressed, they shed their shell which causes great damage to the animal, and so good equipment that can lessen this stress is essential. This was a "lesson learned" for the APC in their first years and with the new project equipment they've had almost zero mortality transporting their product. Learn about the power of the cooperative to create positive change, not only in their community, but for coastal fishermen and farmers in North Carolina. Learn how the cooperative members have fought to make this happen. Learn what a prawn really is! The Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund (TCRF) assists farmers in developing new sources of agricultural income through provision of cost-share grants. This story is part of a series documenting innovative farmers throughout the state of North Carolina. This program is made possible with support from the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission. Photography, audio, and production by Alix Blair.

Community Innovation Rural/Regional aqua culture community organic Coastal region Agriculture economy sustainability
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