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In Southern Thailand, Aquastar gears up for state-of-the-art shrimp processing.

In Southern Thailand, Aquastar Gears Up For State-of-the-Art Shrimp Processing

Under an agreement with Australian and Danish firms, Thailand's Aquastar Foods Ltd. is setting up a shrimp processing operation in Songhkla with a capacity of 12 tons per eight-hour shift.

Aquastar already has a feed mill with a capacity of 1,000 tons a month, and a hatchery turning out 30 million larvae a month. It employs 500 workers, and has signed up 600 contract shrimp farmers serviced by 50 extension specialists.

With its entry into processing, the company will complete its plan for a vertically-integrated shrimp operation begun three years ago. Carnitech A/S, a Danish producer of shrimp processing equipment, and Austec, an Australian project management company, are the parties to the new venture.

The plant will combine state-of-the-art processing technology with a unique control system to provide premium-quality for the world market - mainly Japan, North America and Europe. Aquastar's design criteria are based on what it calls the 3TC concept: Time, Temperature and Touch Control.

Time means that shrimp will be processed on a first-in, first-out basis, from harvesting to cold storage of the finished products. Temperature means the shrimp are shock-iced within 10 minutes of harvest, and that temperatures are kept down below 5 (degrees) C throughout processing.

Touch control means that shrimp are touched by hand a maximum of three times between harvesting and racking of the finished products in the cold store. The whole processing line (graders, conveyors, inspection tables, etc.) is to be fabricated from easy-to-clean stainless steel and polyethylene.

Carnitech has equipped more than 140 seaborne and land-based complete seafood and shellfish plants around the world. In Asia, the company has been active in China and Pakistan as well as Thailand. Its increasing commitment to the Asian-Pacific area has reached the point that it plans to establish service facilities in Thailand, probably in cooperation with local manufacturers.

Aquastar has already streamlined growing operations by persuading farmers to consolidate their land into a contiguous farm served by such common utilities as infeed, drains and roads, for which the company itself provided designs, financing and coordinated construction. At the same time, it has trained shrimp farmers at a demonstration farm, in order to assure predictable quality and size of raw material.

"Without a stable supply, the processor cannot justify the investment required to upgrade to the controlled processing system and versatility of product forms needed to satisfy an ever more discerning market," said Mark B. Reid, managing director of Aquastar's marketing arm. "Our contract farmers provide us with predictable quality, volume and size of raw materials. We in turn provide them with profitable access to the world market."

Product lines include block-frozen headless and head-on shrimp (black tiger prawns), IQF frozen raw or cooked shrimp (retail or bulk pack) and special products from a special AQF (Aquastar Quick Frozen) line. The plant will be at Ginsanghanakorn, about 18 miles from the new deep port at Songhkla. It will employ about 140 people per shift, including 20 in management and control. A disinfection tunnel for workers and sanitized clothing will insure hygienic conditions.

Latest Cargill Cargo Is

Branded Shrimp Products

Fresh Cargo is the brand name for the entry of Cargill, Inc., into the seafood business with premium, farm-raised shrimp for the supermarket, restaurant and institutional markets in the U.S.A.

Both Pacific Rim and Central American countries are being sourced for farm-raised shrimp, according to David A. Larson, sales and procurement manager for the Minneapolis, Minn.-headquartered firm's fishery products department.
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Title Annotation:QFFI's Global Seafood Magazine; Aquastar Foods Ltd.
Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Date:Jan 1, 1990
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