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Aug 26, 2022

Caribbean Shrimp Company Awarded International Aquaculture Stewardship Council Certification

A small shrimp farm in Ladyville has been awarded an International Aquaculture Stewardship Council Certification after meeting exacting industry standards. The certification comes on the heels of investments undertaken to revitalize the shrimp industry in Belize. As News Five found out, while the industry had collapsed due to disease years ago, Caribbean Shrimp Company had not been affected and continued supplying the local and international markets. This certification is reflection of its resilience. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

The Caribbean Shrimp Company Limited is the only aquaculture facility in Belize District and, since 1986, is the oldest continuously-operating shrimp farm in the country. It produces organically-grown shrimp for the local and export markets. In 2022, the company is now certified by the International Aquaculture Stewardship Council.


Heather McIntosh

Heather McIntosh, General Manager/Owner, Caribbean Shrimp Company Limited

“It’s fantastic. I can’t even begin to describe how ecstatic I was that we were able to work through this process. This is to Belize the longest continuously owned shrimp farm in the country because it’s been under one ownership the whole time. And we have been operating the whole time – maybe at a lesser capacity depending on how things are going – but we have been operating right through.”


Caribbean Shrimp Company Limited is one of five companies that were awarded grants through Compete Caribbean to embark on this process and it was the first to meet all the requirements for certification.


Heather McIntosh

“I am Belize’s smallest shrimp farm so for us to be able to work through such an arduous process and it is only a team of two – myself and my office manager, Miss Yolanda Cacho – we did all of the documentation provision and everything. ASC sends a control union representative; two actually to come and do an onsite audit. We actually had three because they brought a trainee with them as well. And they were here for two solid days, starting at six in the morning and they looked at every single document, every single process, did a full site inspection to go through the multitude of processes and parameters to make sure that we complied with that process. And it wasn’t easy. There are steps along the path where we weren’t a hundred percent compliant, but they give you time to show them that you can become compliant.”


The company produces sixteen shrimps per cubic meter because it does extensive farming as natural as possible.


Heather McIntosh

“Some of the other farms do between two hundred and four hundred shrimp per cubic meter because they do intensive farming. I have extensive farming and I have earthen ponds. I try to keep it as close to nature as possible. I have mangrove all around the ponds to try and naturally filter the water. I have no mechanised equipment here it is all natural.”


The processing at the plant is completely hands on. Depending on the size that is desired – which can be anywhere up to nine months for jumbo shrimp – the crustacean is manually harvested, de-headed, hand selected, hand quality controlled, hand-packaged and then blast frozen on site.


Heather McIntosh

“We invested in packaging. So I now have made in Belize product packaging specific to the supermarket line. I do my shrimp now in one-pound packages for the supermarket ready crowd and I have now added another line which is called ceviche ready which is a peeled and deveined, ready to eat product.. So I focused on market enhancement, looking at where the niches were and in all the literature that’s where they saw that the value of shrimp has held is that supermarket product.”


McIntosh is dreaming big. As the company shifts its business to focus on export, niche consumer, resort/retail markets and, now, agri-tourism, it wants to meet and exceed international standards.


Heather McIntosh

“We are lucky because we follow organic protocols. So we raise our shrimp to organic standards. We are in the process of working to see if we can be internationally certified for organic shrimp as well. So I have bigger dreams, but I am still so excited to get pass this first hurdle.”


On a good year, the company produces about one hundred thousand pounds of shrimp. Duane Moody for News Five.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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