Hatchery Facility

The Hatchery

The Hatchery Facility is where all the shrimp breeding takes place. Once shrimp reach about one centimeter in size, they have one of two destiny's—to be sent to the grow-out farm for meat production sales, or to remain on the hatchery grounds and grown to adult size for sale as live broodstock shrimp (through the Kona Bay Marine Resources trade name) or used for further breeding. The hatchery consists of four different sections: algae building, larval rearing, maturation, and grow out ponds and tanks for broodstock (adult shrimp).

Algae building

While it looks like aliens might be growing here, it's really just algae! Algae, or diatoms, are one of the food sources for shrimp, and during the larval rearing stage, the primary food for its development. Specific strains of algae are cultivated to feed the larval shrimp. Cultures are grown-out in these large cylinders and transferred to larval rearing tanks for feeding.

hatchery algea


This area of the hatchery facilities is used specifically to breed the shrimp. The atmosphere is controlled to simulate day and night (shrimp naturally breed at night—our employees sleep at night) and temperature to promote mating behavior. Female broodstock shrimp are fed a VERY special diet to ensure healthy egg development.

hatchery maturity

Larval Rearing

After shrimp have spawned and their eggs have hatched, larval shrimp are reared in special tanks. The "babies" will go through a series of larval stages before they become an actual shrimp. The process of larval rearing takes approximately 3 weeks, at which point the shrimp become "post-larvae", are approximately 1 cm/each, and are transferred to outdoor ponds for grow-out.
Learn more about the shrimp lifecycle.

hatchery larval

Broodstock Holding Tanks & Ponds

Shrimp reserved for broodstock purposes are grown out and held in tanks and ponds for both international sales (live broodstock) and use as our own breeders. Different "families" are tagged using poly-elastomer tags. This coding system helps us to identify the various genetic lines.

hatchery pond

Selective Breeding Program

The selective breeding program is the heart of the business. The program utilizes genetic selection (NOT modification!), in which the shrimp are bred for such traits. These traits include resistance to known shrimp disease, rapid growth rates, and reproductive capabilities. Our shrimp stock go through routine, rigorous testing to ensure they're free from common shrimp diseases, which makes the stock highly desirable to hatcheries around the world. Testing is done at one of the top crustacean pathology labs in the world at the University of Arizona.

Specific Pathogen Free Facility

The Sunrise Capital Hatchery is a specific pathogen free facility, meaning any live shrimp sent from this hatchery are certified to be free of certain shrimp diseases (i.e. specific pathogens). Following the protocol of the International Council for Explanations of the Seas (ICEAS 2003), the hatchery (over a period of years) has undergone primary and secondary quarantines along with extensive diagnostic testing on a continuous basis. Why is this important?

Shrimp, like other animals, are subject to bacterial, viral, fungal, protozoa, parasitic and nutritional diseases. To rear the most successful crop possible, a hatchery must start with clean, disease-free animals as well as provide for their nutritional requirements. The documented disease-free shrimp (for tested pathogens), coupled with the improved genetics achieved through selective breeding, Kauai's relative isolation and source of pure, clean saltwater (virtually unheard of in the international aquaculture world), makes for some of the most in-demand breeding shrimp for hatcheries all over the world.

Kauai Shrimp is a voluntary partner in the Shrimp Surveillance and Certification Program (SSCP) monitored by the State of Hawaii Aquaculture Development Program (ADP). Participation in this program allows Sunrise Capital (as Kona Bay Marine Resources) to have Specific Pathogen Free (SPF) status. Routine testing administered by a third party representative (ADP state veterinarian) is achieved through polymerase chain reaction testing (PCR) protocol guidelines set by the World Organization of Animal Health (referred to as OIE, the acronyms for its former name Office International des Epizootes) for seven currently listed diseases of marine shrimp pathogens. Sunrise Capital (as KBMR) currently tests for 10 specific pathogens, beyond the guidelines set by the OIE.