Sustainable shrimps from Switzerland: SwissShrimp AG

Nachhaltige Shrimps aus der Schweiz: SwissShrimp AG
© Symbolbild: CRNA

Shrimps are typically imported into Switzerland from aquaculture facilities in tropical countries. According to the Albert Schweitzer Foundation, approximately 3.4 million tons of shrimps are farmed each year, and of these, about 9,000 tons are imported into Switzerland annually, as reported by SRF. Shrimps in these farms are often treated with antibiotics to prevent diseases and promote faster growth. Local side effects of shrimp farming include flooding, soil salinization, and groundwater contamination. Long supply chains and antibiotic resistance are consequences that also affect consumers in Switzerland. SwissShrimp AG is working to change this.

In today’s world, we do not want to forgo foreign delicacies. However, due to long supply chains and shrimp farming with antibiotics, the footprint of shrimp consumption has been large. After visiting foreign shrimp farms, the founders of SwissShrimp AG wanted to find an antibiotic-free, environmentally friendly alternative.

The solution came in the form of a vacant area next to the Saline Riburg, a site of the Swiss Saltworks AG. The Swiss Saltworks covers the salt supply for the entire country. Due to salt production, the saltworks generate excess heat. A circular economy is the starting point for Swiss Shrimp. Swiss Shrimp can use the excess heat and salt from the saltworks to heat several large saltwater pools. Thus, SwissShrimp mimics the natural environment of shrimps and is able to produce in Switzerland.

What are the challenges for Swiss Shrimps?

The challenges of shrimp farming in Switzerland are manifold. For one, there is no provider in Switzerland for locally produced shrimp feed. Shrimps are fed a mixture of fish meal, fish oil, and soy meal.

Business Sustainability Today - SwissShrimp

For Swiss Shrimp, only organic feed that meets the highest quality standards is considered, which is why the company imports its feed from France. Additionally, Swiss Shrimp has its specially designed shipping boxes produced abroad. Therefore, one of the main goals of the company is to continue reducing its footprint.

What are the results (impact)?

Swiss Shrimp AG is now in its second year after entering the market and has already been able to produce almost 20 tons of sustainably and antibiotic-free shrimps in Switzerland. Thus, the company contributes to SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being for sustainability-conscious consumers who do not want to give up shrimps. Moreover, the company optimally uses the location advantage on the premises of Salinen AG. Thereby, Swiss Shrimp implements the idea of a circular economy, contributes to SDG 12, and keeps the company’s footprint as small as possible.

What vision does SwissShrimp AG pursue?

The vision of Swiss Shrimp is to become even more sustainable and to increase the share of locally produced shrimps in the Swiss market. Specifically, this means continuously optimizing their production and looking for alternatives in feed, packaging, and shipping options that can further reduce the company’s footprint. A long-term vision of Swiss Shrimp is also to find a partner who wants to use the chitin-containing shells of the shrimps, which accumulate in the tanks during the growth phase. Chitin is used in a variety of ways, primarily in food and pharmaceutical products. If reused, this would expand the cycle of Swiss Shrimp and Salinen AG.

Can the solution of SwissShrimp be multiplied and scaled?

The solution can, in theory, be well scaled and multiplied, but in practice, it depends on suitable locations that would allow for a circular approach. Moreover, the solution approach is also strongly dependent on consumer awareness and buying behavior. Swiss shrimps are twice as expensive as imported shrimps and thus a delicacy that some consumers may opt for a cheaper alternative. We at Business Sustainability Today are long convinced by Swiss Shrimp. For us, it’s clear: If shrimps, then very gladly from Rheinfelden.