Seedstock Digest: Aquaponics and Sustainable Aquaculture Startups Make Waves
August 19, 2011 | seedstock
It’s Aqua August 19th and to help you enjoy your aqua-filled weekend by the beach or the pool, today’s digest focuses on stories about aqua-related startup companies. There’s the one about a sustainable fish farm operation far off the coast of Panama, another about a revolutionary aquaponics company in Wisconsin, one about a distributor that uses narrative to sell sustainably farmed fish, and another about a high tech Yellow Perch farm in the middle of Indiana cornfields. Enjoy your weekend reads!
Chances are, if you’ve ever looked into aquaponic systems, the sustainable food production systems that combine aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as fish, crustaceans, or crayfish in a controlled environment) with hydroponics (soilless plant cultivation in water), you have probably heard of Nelson and Pade, Inc.
Some of the fish come from farms while others come from the ocean, but they all come with a story. The fish in these stories have all been produced or caught using sustainable practices and have names like Loch Duart Salmon, Fisherman’s Daughter Shrimp, and Nunavut Wild Arctic Char. The teller of these fish stories is CleanFish, a unique San Francisco-based startup that connects sustainable fish producers to conscious consumers, chefs and markets who have come to associate the company’s brands with sustainability, traceability and transparency.
Eight miles off the shores of Panama, past the horizon line in 220 feet of water where 15 – 20 foot seas are the norm, sits one of the most unique and sustainable open ocean aquaculture operations that Seedstock has ever come across. Run by US-based aquaculture startup company Open Blue Sea Farms, the operation currently consists of a number of technologically advanced offshore pens in which a fish species known as Cobia is harvested carefully and humanely in pristine ocean waters.
Aquaculture, or fish farming under controlled conditions, is growing faster than all other food producing sectors worldwide. According to the FAO, aquaculture has maintained an average growth rate of 9.2% per year since 1970 and as of today accounts for nearly 50% of total fish production by weight. The industry, which is dominated by operations in Asia, is just now starting to take off in the US.