tru Shrimp finalizing harbor plans

Construction of Luverne facility to start in summer

BALATON — trū Shrimp has started the process of finalizing construction plans for a 67-acre shrimp harbor complex in Luverne, according to a Wednesday press release.

The trū Shrimp Company’s board of directors approved the continued development of Luverne Bay Harbor Complex during its October meeting.  The board directed management to finalize all engineering and construction plans for the site and begin to execute a plan to finance construction and start-up of the 67-acre Harbor Complex in Luverne.

The company hopes to have financing arranged by June, with plans to break ground in Luverne shortly thereafter. The release said construction of the entire Harbor complex will take approximately two years to complete, with one half of the harbor in production as the second half is still being constructed.

“This is a watershed moment for trū Shrimp,” said Michael Ziebell, president and chief executive officer.  “This year, Balaton Bay Reef was built and shrimp are now stocked and growing in the pristine habitat of our indoor Tidal Basins.”

In November of last year, tru Shrimp announced it would build its first shrimp hatchery near its first shrimp production facility in Luverne instead of Marshall. At that time, Ziebell said changes in development have made it possible to have a shrimp hatchery closer to the “harbor” facilities where shrimp are raised.

Based on previous bio-security assumptions, we thought we could not build a hatchery and a Harbor in Marshall,” Ziebell said. “Now we can turn our attention to Marshall becoming home to a future Harbor and hatchery.”

Luverne will include a 42,000 square-foot hatchery, a water treatment facility, and the Luverne Bay Harbor. Luverne Cove Hatchery will raise shrimp larvae in tanks, until they are mature enough to be transferred to a harbor facility. Trū Shrimp’s announcement said the hatchery will be able to raise 2 million baby shrimp a year. The hatchery facility is projected to employ 20 people.

Tuesday’s announcement comes on the heels of the grand opening ceremony held for the Balaton Cove Hatchery in August.

“Balaton Cove Hatchery has also come on line,” Ziebell said. “The first broodstock shrimp have arrived from our genetics partner Oceanic Institute and they are mating, spawning, and offspring are growing in our created seawater.  The partnership with Oceanic Institute and the development of our Hatchery mark the final steps of a truly integrated shrimp company.”

 According to the release, trū Shrimp is nearly four years in the making. 

“A methodical and thorough undertaking of developing the technology to grow shrimp in the upper Midwest, indoors, and in a fashion of great care has always been the top priority at trū Shrimp.  This will remain paramount as the company expands into Luverne,” the release said.

“This is big moment for trū Shrimp, and a decision the Board didn’t take lightly,” chairman of the board of trū Shrimp Brian Knochenmus said. “Three years of research accompanied by painstaking engineering, construction development, and creation of a thorough business plan all enabled the Board to agree to proceed with Luverne Bay Harbor and take the next steps toward commercialization.  The investments made in Balaton’s Innovation Center, Balaton Cove Hatchery, and our magnificent Balaton Bay Reef are leading the way to Luverne Bay Harbor and many more harbors in the future — a very exciting future.”