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.

BioCentinela uses no chemicals or antibiotics, exceeding Naturland requirements. The company is also certified by BioSuisse, a Swiss-based organic farming organization, and Aquaculture Certification Council, a U.S. nonprofit dedicated to the certification of sustainable aquaculture projects.

The growth of the conventional shrimp industry in Ecuador in the mid-1990's resulted in the destruction of mangroves along the country's coast. BioCentinela has taken over abandoned, denuded shrimp farms and has embarked on a program of mangrove reforestation.

BioCentinela is poised to promote its product in the U.S. The company currently exports to the U.K.-based distributor Anchor Seafoods Inc. and to Coop-Switzerland, the second largest supermarket chain in that country.

BioCentinela will provide financial support and assistance to access medical facilities, fresh water, and basic education for over 2,000 people in two local communities, Rio Hondo and Campo Alegre.

EcoEnterprises Fund co-financed this investment with the project principal.