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New Mexico Shrimp Company works to expand


Shrimp raised in the New Mexico desert. That is the pitch that one man will be making as he prepares for a competition that is basically like the “Shark Tank” of the seafood industry.

He is trying to sell investors on the idea in hopes of expanding his business of locally-grown shrimp throughout New Mexico.

It sounds a little strange to some people in Albuquerque we spoke with.

“I don’t feel like we can really replicate that here, so I wouldn’t buy it,” Ali Moore said.

“I think that sounds kind of awkward because we’re so far from the ocean,” Barbara Andrews said.

However, New Mexico Shrimp Company Co-Owner Tracey Carrillo said that is exactly why people want to try it.

“You know, what we’re finding is the novelty of it, people come in they’re like, ‘Wow, shrimp in New Mexico, in the desert,’” Carrillo said.

After the first taste, he said, the shrimp does the rest.

“Once they try our shrimp, they come back,” Carrillo said.

He said he and a team of researchers at New Mexico State University launched this new industry in an effort to help an old one: cotton farming.

“Cotton is primarily grown for fiber, for the lint to make fabric,” Carrillo said.

He said the cotton seed isn’t used for much.

He found a way to use for fish food to grow shrimp after it has been produced in a hatchery.

Carrillo said cotton seed is high in protein and comes at a fraction of the cost of typical fish food.

“They’re all natural, no chemicals and you just can’t get fresh shrimp in New Mexico,” Carrillo said. “The response from people wanting to buy fresh shrimp was just overwhelming.”

After four years of perfecting the business, Carrillo wants to expand.

His goal is to set up ten new facilities within the next year, spreading to cities like Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

“It could impact New Mexico economically, I would say, fairly significantly,” Carrillo said.

He will be pitching the idea at Fish 2.0 at Stanford University on Nov. 10 and 11, competing for more than $180,000 in prizes and networking.

“The real meat of it is going to be the opportunity to meet with investors,” he said.

He will work to convince them that this isn’t just some fishy idea, that it is a sustainable business model.