How to Start Shrimp Farming in the Netherlands: Business Plan, Key Rules, Setup Cost, and Profit

Shrimp farming has been an industry in the Netherlands for over 40 years. It is a vital part of the aquaculture industry and provides thousands of jobs to local citizens. Shrimp farming in the Netherlands is a thriving industry with a bright future. The focus on sustainability has allowed for the sector’s growth by utilizing renewable energy sources to reduce environmental impacts and improve food safety.

How to Start Shrimp Farming in the Netherlands
Image Source

How to start shrimp farming in the Netherlands

What is shrimp farming?

It is the process of raising shrimp in an enclosed environment. This can be done in either fresh or salt water and usually occurs in coastal areas. The main goal of shrimp farming is to produce large numbers of shrimp for human consumption.

Shrimp farming importance in the Netherlands

  • Shrimp farming is an important industry in the Netherlands. The country is one of the world’s leading shrimp producers, and shrimp farming plays a significant role in the Dutch economy. The country is now one of the world’s leading shrimp producers, and shrimp farming contributes significantly to Dutch exports.
  • Shrimp farming is important for the Dutch economy for several reasons. Firstly, shrimp are a valuable commodity, and the Netherlands exports each year significantly. Second, shrimp farms employ many people in rural areas of the Netherlands. Finally, shrimp farming helps to conserve wild shrimp populations by providing an alternative source of seafood.
  • Today, there are approximately 200 shrimp farms in operation in the Netherlands. These farms produce around 18,000 tonnes of shrimp annually, worth around €100 million. The vast majority of Dutch shrimp is exported to other European countries, with Belgium being the biggest market.
  • Thanks to its innovative and sustainable methods, the Netherlands is widely considered to be one of the world leaders in shrimp farming. As a result, growing demand for sustainably farmed seafood and Dutch shrimp farmers have been at the forefront of meeting this demand.

In case you missed it: How to Start Dairy Farming in the Netherlands: Business Plan, Cost, Profit, Subsidy Loan, and Challenges

Shrimp Marketing
Image Source

The benefits of shrimp farming in the Netherlands

  • Shrimp farming is an important industry in the Netherlands, providing employment and economic benefits to the country.
  • Shrimp farming is a sustainable and efficient way to produce seafood, with farmed shrimp accounting for over 50% of the world’s shrimp supply.
  • Shrimp farming provides an important source of income and employment for many people in rural areas of the Netherlands.
  • Shrimp farming also has positive social and economic impacts on local communities, including providing jobs and training opportunities.

How to start shrimp farming in the Netherlands?

Shrimp farming is an activity that can be started with small-scale investment and infrastructure. Most shrimp are farmed in freshwater ponds in natural or man-made ecosystems. The Netherlands is one of the world’s top shrimp-farming nations and produces almost 300,000 metric tons annually.

To start shrimp farming, first select a suitable location for your farm. The climate and water conditions in the Netherlands are ideal for shrimp farming, so any location here should work well. Once you have selected a location, build or purchase the necessary infrastructure, including ponds, aerators, filters, and pumps. You will also need to procure shrimp fry (baby shrimp) from a hatchery.

After your pond is built and stocked with fry, it will take around 6-8 months for the shrimp to reach harvest size. During this time, you will need to regularly monitor the pond conditions and provide adequate food and Oxygen for the growing shrimp. Once they reach harvest size, you can begin harvesting them regularly – typically every 2-3 weeks.

In case you missed it: How to Start Poultry Farming in the Netherlands: Business Plan, Breeds, Management, Cost, and Profit

Shrimp Farming
Image Source

Are shrimps profitable in the Netherlands?

Yes, shrimps are profitable in the Netherlands. The country’s shrimp farming industry has been growing steadily over the years, and today it is one of the leading shrimp producers in Europe. Shrimp farming is the second most important aquaculture sector in the Netherlands after eel farming.

The Netherlands is well suited for shrimp farming due to its climate and water conditions. The country has a large coastline with sheltered waters and a mild climate, which is ideal for raising shrimp. Additionally, the Netherlands has access to high-quality seawater, which is essential for shrimp farming.

How big of a tank do a shrimp need?

The average shrimp needs about two gallons of water, so a 10-gallon tank is a good size for a shrimp farm. Larger shrimp may need up to five gallons of water each.

Key rules for starting shrimp farming in the Netherlands

If you’re interested in starting a shrimp farm in the Netherlands, the main step is to contact the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature, and Food Quality (LNV). The LNV can provide you with information on licenses and permits, as well as advice on setting up your business. Once your licenses and permits are in order, you’ll need to find a suitable place for your shrimp farm. The Netherlands has a wide variety of landscapes, from coastal areas to inland lakes and rivers.

You’ll need to find an area with enough space for your shrimp ponds and access to water and electricity. Once your location is sorted out, you’ll need to build your ponds and equip them with aeration systems and filters. You’ll also need to stock your ponds with juvenile shrimp, which you can purchase from hatcheries. Then, when your ponds are ready, you can start harvesting shrimp!

Shrimp species available in the Netherlands

The main shrimp farmed in the Netherlands is the Pacific whiteleg shrimp, which accounts for over 95% of all farmed shrimp. Other common species include the Dutch shrimp, black tiger shrimp, and the giant tiger prawn.

In case you missed it: How to Start Fish Farming in the Netherlands: Business Plan, RAS, Breeds, Set up Cost, Profit, and Management

Shrimp / Prawn
Image Source

Shrimp farming states in the Netherlands

The main shrimp farming regions in the Netherlands are in Zeeland and Noord-Holland’s provinces. Shrimp farming is an important industry in the Netherlands, with shrimp farms located in the country’s provinces. The main shrimp farming states in the Netherlands are:

  • North Holland: This province is home to the largest shrimp farm in Europe, in the town of Wieringerwerf.
  • South Holland: There are several shrimp farms in this province, including one of the world’s largest shrimp farms, located in the town of Yerseke.
  • Zeeland: This province is home to several small shrimp farms.
  • Overijssel: This province has a few shrimp farms, but they are not as large or well-known as those in North and South Holland.

Site selection for shrimp culture in the Netherlands

Shrimp farming is a booming industry in the Netherlands, and the country has favorable conditions for shrimp cultivation. The climate is moderate, with little temperature variation, abundant fresh water, and the coastline provides ample opportunity to set up farms. However, shrimp farming is a delicate business, and site selection is crucial for success. The farm must be situated in an area with good water quality and access to essential supplies like power and fuel. It is also important to consider the proximity of potential markets for the shrimp.

Steps to start shrimp farming business plan in the Netherlands

  1. Understand the shrimp farming industry and sector. There is a lot of information online and at the library that can help with this research.
  2. Write a business plan; this document will outline the costs, expected profits, and other aspects of the shrimp farming business.
  3. Choose a location for the farm. The climate and water quality are important factors when selecting a site.
  4. Obtain the necessary permits and licenses from the Dutch government.
  5. Build or purchase the shrimp tanks, filters, and other equipment needed for the farm.
  6. Stock the tanks with juvenile shrimp (postlarvae). This can be done by purchasing them from a hatchery or collecting them from wild populations.
  7. Monitor the health of the shrimp and provide them with proper care and nutrition. This includes maintaining water quality, ensuring adequate aeration, and providing food pellets or live prey items such as amphipods and brine shrimp nauplii.
  8. Harvest the shrimp when they reach market size (generally 9-12 months old). This can be done by hand or using special nets designed for this purpose.
  9. Sort and grade the shrimp according to size, then pack them for transport to processing facilities or markets.

In case you missed it: How to Start Sheep Farming in the Netherlands: Breeds, Business Plan, Setup Cost, Profit and Management

Prawn Marketing
Image Source

Types of shrimp farming in the Netherlands

  1. Intensive shrimp farms are typically large-scale operations that use high technology and inputs to produce large quantities of shrimp. These farms are typically found in coastal areas near markets where the shrimp can be sold fresh.
  2. Extensive shrimp farms are smaller operations that use lower technology and inputs and are often located further inland. These farms generally produce lower quantities of shrimp but can be more profitable due to lower costs.

Managing the shrimp farm in the Netherlands

Shrimp farmers need to have a good understanding of the shrimp lifecycle. Shrimp farmers need to monitor the water quality in their ponds carefully. This includes regularly testing the pH, ammonia, and dissolved oxygen levels. If any of these levels get too high or too low, it can be detrimental to the health of the shrimp.

Another important aspect of managing a shrimp farm is feeding the animals properly. Shrimp are omnivorous, so they need a diet that includes plant and animal matter. Therefore, farmers must carefully calculate the amount of food they give their shrimp so they don’t overfeed or underfeed them. Keeping an eye on disease is crucial for any livestock operation, but it’s especially important with shrimp farming since no vaccinations are available for diseases affecting shrimp.

Feeding for shrimp farming in the Netherlands

One of the main factors that shrimp farmers in the Netherlands consider is the feeding of their shrimps. Farmers use various methods and strategies to ensure that their shrimps get the best possible nutrition. One such method is to grow their food for the shrimps. This is usually done in ponds or tanks specifically designed for this purpose.

The water in these ponds or tanks is often filtered and aerated to ensure that the conditions are ideal for shrimp growth. Another popular method of feeding shrimp in the Netherlands is to use commercially prepared feeds. These feeds are usually made from fishmeal, soybean meal, wheat flour, and other similar ingredients. Shrimp farmers will often add supplements to these feeds to boost their shrimps’ nutritional value.

Shrimp farming challenges in the Netherlands

  • The main challenges facing shrimp farmers in the Netherlands are water quality and disease control. In addition, due to the small scale of the industry, there is little infrastructure or research available to help farmers improve their operations. As a result, shrimp farming is still a relatively new and experimental industry in the Netherlands.
  • One of the main issues is a disease. Shrimp are susceptible to several diseases, which can quickly spread through a farm and kill off large fish. This is a particular problem in intensively farmed shrimp ponds, where the close quarters make it easy for diseases to spread.
  • Another challenge is the changing climate. As global temperatures rise, shrimp are increasingly threatened by extreme weather events such as hurricanes and floods. These events can damage farms and kill fish, leading to financial losses for farmers.
  • With careful planning and management, they are meeting the challenges head-on and keeping the Netherlands at the forefront of European shrimp farming.

In case you missed it: How to Start Rabbit Farming in the Netherlands: Business Plans, Breeds, Cost, Profit, and Management

Prawn Harvest
Image Source

Shrimp farm set-up cost in the Netherlands

The average cost of setting up a shrimp farm in the Netherlands is around €2.5 million. This includes the costs of land, buildings, tanks, pumps, and other infrastructure. Most of these costs are for the land and buildings, with the rest for the tanks and other equipment. Therefore, the total cost of setting up a shrimp farm in the Netherlands will depend on the size of the farm and the number of shrimps you plan to raise.

Shrimp farming loans and subsidies in the Netherlands

The Dutch government provides financial incentives for shrimp farmers, including infrastructure, research, and development subsidies. This support has helped make the Netherlands one of the world’s most efficient producers of shrimp. In addition, the country’s proximity to Europe means that seafood from the Netherlands can be quickly transported to markets across the continent.

Shrimp farming in the Netherlands is a lucrative business, and the government offers loans and subsidies to farmers to encourage production. The loans are typically for equipment and infrastructure costs, and the subsidies are for operational costs such as feed and labor. This support from the government ensures that shrimp farmers in the Netherlands can continue to produce high-quality seafood for the country’s residents and visitors.


Shrimp farming is a relatively new practice, and it has only become possible due to technological advances. Nevertheless, shrimp farming in the Netherlands is a thriving industry, and shrimp farmers are constantly innovating and improving their methods. One of the most important aspects of shrimp farming is managing the shrimp farm.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here