A German TV Team, led by Galileo and directed by Deutsche See, films a documentary of BioCentinela's entire operation.

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Like so many Ecuadorian shrimp producers, BioCentinela was hit hard by the crippling bout of White Spot Syndrome that ravaged farm after farm in 1999. But unlike most of the disease's survivors, BioCentinela didn't return to its former production; instead, as company president Javier Barragan puts it, the business decided to 'seize the moment’ and move into organics. After several years hard slog, BioCentinela has now turned a corner – production is up, revenues have grown and the product itself, Pacific white shrimp is in high demand from lucrative European markets.

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BioCentinela is one of only a handful of certified organic shrimp production companies in the world, most located in Ecuador. The shrimp company’s facilities are on Puna Island, in the Riohondo Inlet of Ecuador. Not only do the company’s shrimp farming activities need to be certified organic, so does its reproduction and production of the larvae, and its processing plant. The cornerstone of the company’s organic production system is its mandate to conserve and regenerate the environment.

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Brandon Sun and Shailesh Makharia didn't know much about shrimp before they went to South America this summer, but they do now. The two Eller MBA students - both starting their second year this fall - traveled to the town of Guayaquil, Ecuador to work on a feasibility study for BioCentinela, an organic shrimp farm wanting to cease sending their catch to a processing plant and instead operate a plant of their own. Sun and Makharia took on the sizeable task as part of a program sponsored by the New Ventures program of the World Resources Institute, which works for sustainable enterprise creation in emerging economies.

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BioCentinela, one of the world's leading producers of organic shrimp, has again demonstrated its commitment to responsible aquaculture by obtaining Best Aquaculture Practices certification through ACC. BioCentinela's mission is to market premium-branded organic shrimp utilizing an environmentally safe production process while engaging in new technology development and maintaining high standards of client service. High-quality standards and 20 years of experience enable BioCentinela to offer the widest possible range of products from headless block frozen to ready-to-eat rings, skewers and other preparations.

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Established in 2002, BioCentinela is one of the first companies worldwide dedicated to the production and export of organically certified saltwater shrimp and has one of the only two certified organic larvae labs in Ecuador. The company is well-positioned to take advantage of the emerging market with this niche product. BioCentinela is certified by Naturland e.V., a German-based organic agriculture organization. Naturland certified farms must monitor and document effluent water quality and feed intake, and must maintain lower water exchange to decrease energy consumption and loss of nutrients.

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When Javier Barragan looks out over the shrimp hatchery his company BioCentinela operates on Ecuador's Peninsula de Santa Elena, his view not only encompasses the site of production of 30 million shrimp larvae per month, but also a distinct but invisible feedback process that is enriching the local ecosystem. The hatchery -- as well as BioCentinela's four farms where the shrimp mature -- is one of only eight organic shrimp aquaculture operations in the world and is intimately designed and monitored to minimize the impact on the fragile coastal ecosystem it inhabits.

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In early June, a number of companies from across Latin America will square off in a competition unlike any other. The annual New Ventures Investor Forum in Lima, Peru will pit ten environmentally savvy companies against each other in the hopes that several of them may attract interest from one of the investors attending the event. One finalist is BioCentinela, an Ecuadorian company that has developed a process for growing and selling certified organic shrimp grown in ponds. There is now a premium on wild and organically grown shrimp.

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