Great Lakes Shrimp Company started operating in June but finally had its first harvest in September. The new shrimp farm is the only salt water shrimp farm for 500 miles and sells to both restaurants and people looking for fresh, live shrimp in the Buffalo area.
"I did a little research into the market and found there wasn't any fresh, live shrimp in a reasonable distance of Western New York," Nigel Hebborn, the owner, explained. "It is a very unique product, very great tasting. Once you freeze a shrimp it loses a lot of its character and its taste."
Hebborn used to be an accountant, but decided to switch careers after taking a class on the topic at Cornell University last year.
"I think it's just mostly about being able to give back in the sense that you're now producing something other than a balance sheet in my perspective," he said.
The system is self-contained. Hebborn says if all goes well, the same water can be used for the next ten years. It gets its brownish color from the special bacteria that serves a double purpose. The shrimp eat the bacteria for nourishment and the bacteria helps clean the tanks.
There are 12 tanks, each measuring 15 feet wide that can hold around 3,000 shrimp each. Hebborn plans to double that production in the near future.
Great Lakes Shrimp Company has a website you can find here and is located at the Niagara Frontier Food Terminal at Clinton Street and Bailey Avenue. The company's phone number is (716) 259-9850.