Posted: Jul. 8, 2011 | 2:00 a.m.
Updated: Jul. 8, 2011 | 10:13 a.m.
Las Vegas isn't exactly known for incredibly fresh seafood, but Ganix Bio-Technologies plans to change that with the opening of its 30,000-square-foot Blue Oasis Pure Shrimp Farm in North Las Vegas.
The $5 million facility, 30 miles north of the Strip, opens as North Las Vegas faces a fiscal crisis. Mayor Shari Buck said Blue Oasis is expected to contribute $800,000 in property taxes and have an economic impact of $16.2 million over the next five years. The facility also created 30 jobs.
Buck hopes the farm will generate more interest in North Las Vegas.
"Because this shrimp farm has come here, now we have all these businesses looking," she said.
Businesses are particularly interested in the Kapex area at the city's northern tip, where Blue Oasis is located, she said.
Ganix received $128,397 in tax incentives from the Nevada Commission on Economic Development to build the farm. The company is also eyeing expansion sites in New York, Chicago and Reno.
Blue Oasis will market its shrimp first to high-end restaurants on the Strip, Ganix CEO Scott McManus said. McManus also plans to sell the shrimp to consumers at grocery stores, but that won't happen until late next year.
The first shrimp will be ready to purchase Sept. 1. Rick Moonen, executive chef of RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay, plans to be one of the farm's first customers. Moonen, a sustainable seafood advocate, touted the Blue Oasis' environmentally friendly operations at the farm's grand opening Thursday.
"Closed-containment aquaculture can be done, and it can be done in the desert," Moonen said. "People ask me, 'Why do you have a sustainable seafood restaurant in Sin City?' Where else would be a better place to make a message, make a stand?"
Other restaurant customers include Border Grill at Mandalay Bay and N9NE Group, which has restaurants at the Palms.
The Blue Oasis farm was built using technology developed by scientist Adrian Zettell. Shrimp are grown and harvested at the North Las Vegas facility in 44 ponds built from recycled shipping containers.
To reduce environmental impact, no water is discharged from the tanks. Rather, the shrimp's waste is used to fertilize the algae that keeps the salt-water system thriving. The facility is expected to produce 462,177 pounds of shrimp annually when it reaches full production capacity.
McManus wouldn't disclose what Blue Oasis shrimp will cost, but did say the farm will be "competitive with what's out in the marketplace."
Contact reporter Caitlin McGarry at [email protected] or 702-387-5273.