Winter 1998               arg_times.gif (914 bytes)             Argent Labs


The Artemia Crisis   
& World Aquaculture                                   
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[Salt Lake City, Utah, USA].
A crisis has developed in the world Artemia cyst (brine shrimp egg)
market. The 1997 brine shrimp egg harvest in America has failed to materialize to any commercial significance. Scientists believe excessive rain fall and snow melt have caused a decrease in salinity. The unseasonably warm temperatures are undoubtedly caused by the El Nino warm weather climatic disturbance. .

Adult Artemia thrive in high salinity lakes with salinities as high as 200 parts per thousand. During the warm summer months, the Artemia propagate by live birth, however, as the harshness of Winter approaches, the biological apparatus of the Brine Shrimp converts to the production of "encysted, or egg birth. These Artemia cysts or brine shrimp eggs are "engineered" to withstand the harshness of winter and eventually will hatch during more temperate, springtime conditions. This natural hatching of the Artemia cysts is synchronized by warmer water temperatures, the ultraviolet light rays of spring and summer, lower salinities, and abundant algal blooms to forage upon.

Scientists report that the absence of any reasonable harvest is  a result of the El Nino warm weather climatic disturbance.
It is certainly plausible, that El Nino may be responsible for excessive rains, snow melt and unseasonably warm weather which has respectively, reduced salinity and increased water temperature, thus limiting to almost "nil" cyst production by adult Artemia.

Utahs' Great Salt Lake provides in excess of 90% of the global aquaculture industries Artemia cysts. Other sources including the prized San Francisco Bay (SFB) at California with perhaps 3% of the global harvest and SFB transplants at Macau, Brazil, Mekong Delta, Vietnam, and Mindoro. Philippines. Other possible sources include cysts from Canada (Chaplin Lake), Australia (Shark Bay) as well as intensive cyst production at various salt works comprise the remainder of the global resource. Aquaculturists should be forewarned that cysts emanating from the Russian Far East and China are problematic; being intrinsicall unstable, lacking significant fatty acid profile and originating from asexual (parthenogenetic) adults.

USA is depicted in Figure 1 over the last 15 years. The harvesting of Artemia Cysts is licensed by the government, the number of harvest boatslicensed per year is shown in Figure 2. The total catch allowance, is dependent upon biological review of the ecosystem and has generally been in the range of 12 to 16 million pounds (5.5 to 7.3 million kilograms) of crude cysts.

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Following the harvest, "crude" cysts in burlap bags are placed into deep, cold storage for at least three months. This process is necessary to age the cysts. Technically, this process is called "Diapause Inactivation" - 
a process that is analogous to hybernation.

Following the cold storage period, raw cysts are cleaned, washed and separated. The partially hydrated eggs are disinfected. The partially hydrated eggs are dried in rotary ovens to about 6 % residual moisture. Following extensive quality control, the eggs are vacuum canned. The conditions of anhydrobiosis, or biological locking of the eggs metabolism has been achieved thus permitting the finished product to be stored for as long as 2 years.

During the autumn of 1997 at the Great Salt Lake, 3.8 million pounds (1.7 million kilograms) of "crude" cysts were harves-ted.Unfortunately, these cysts are apparently of very poor quality, having thin shells, many cracked eggs and 15% of the crude egg. Further, these "transitional eggs" may not show the stability of previous harvests.

The impact of the 1997 harvest on availability and price has been striking! Active hoarding of brine shrimp eggs and price increases of 500% are commonplace.

The situation may be even more tragic than realized earlier. If and when a successful harvest materializes during the autumn of 1998 the finished Artemia cysts cannot come to commercialization until January of 1999! What if the harvest is limited or nonexistent again? Clients are urged to contact Argent as quickly as possible to avoid disappointments we have considerable stocks, from various origins available at our global locations.

ALTERNATIVES:   The Argent Laboratories Group reports considerable
success with a new biologically engineered organism of the Copepod family. It is named CYCLOP-EEZE and has much higher concentrations of essential omega-3 fatty acids, biological pigments and other nutrients.

This Artemia Nauplii substitute is presented in a freeze dried format and is a significant cost effective replacement - Please see CYCLOP-EEZE in the Nutrition section.

Egg2.GIF (3861 bytes)News Briefs....
No Brine Shrimp Egg
Harvest for 1998-1999?

In a telephone conversation on January 19,1998, Director Craig Tilley of the Artemia Processing Center at Salt Lake City expressed great pessimism at the possibility of any Artemia Harvest during the Autumn of 1998.

Mr. Tilley bases his pessimism upon measurements made by the U.S. Geological Survey indicating a 9 inch rise in the Great Salt Lake water
table, and extraordinary mountain snow pack." Already, the Salinity of the lake has dropped a great deal and the effects of El Nino" may be far worse than expected.With the potential of a second year with no harvest, secondary sources of "questionable" quality products originating from the Russian Siberian region and China have entered the market. Research performed by Argent Laboratories and the Artemia Processing Center in conjunctions with Professor James Clegg of the University of California have confirmed that these cysts are asexual, originating from Parthenogenica species.They are further, apparently devoid of
w-3 fatty acid content and biopigmentation. Clients of Argent Laboratories are urged to contact the sales desk to avoid disappointment.

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A major breakthrough from the Argent Laboratories Group will be launchedat the World Aquaculture Society Triennial meeting at Las Vegas' Bally's Resort. CYCLOP-EEZE is a biologically engineered and farmed member of the family Copepoda. Scientists at Argent state that the brilliant blood orange organism boasts the highest known concentration of w-3 highly unsaturated fatty acids, as well as the highest known concentration of biological pigments. The product is lyophilized (freeze dried) to retain these very sensitive nutrients.

CYCLOP-EEZE will be of immense importance as a larval feed in shrimp and fin fish culture, as a color and reproductive enhancer insalmonids and ornamentals. Argent Laboratories is providing free samples and descriptive literature at WAS or upon request.

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