Bill Bien, CEO of Forever Oceans, met this week with Jorge Seif Junior, secretary of aquaculture and fisheries at Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply to sign a 20-year concession agreement that authorises Forever Oceans to ocean-raise fish within automated enclosures in two zones, located 7-15km (4.3-9.3 miles) off the Brazilian coast of the state of Bahia.
Together, they represent the largest offshore concession ever given for sustainable marine aquaculture, totalling 64,200 hectares, an area three-and-a half times the size of Washington DC. The operation is expected to create up to 500 jobs over the next eight years.
“With a coastline of more than 8,500 km, Brazil is one of the main frontiers for fish production, generating, in addition to healthy food, employment and income,” said Seif in a press release.
“This landmark agreement is historic for Brazil and will set the country on the path to the development of sustainable marine aquaculture.”
The company plans to farm amberjack, known locally as ‘Olho de Boi’ or Remeiro. An onshore hatchery in Ilhéus, Bahia, Brazil, will raise fingerlings from eggs for placement in large deep-ocean enclosures. Initially, 24 automated enclosures are planned inside the two ocean zones. The operation in Brazil is expected to create approximately 300-500 jobs over the next eight years, once full capacity is achieved.
“This agreement will help us to serve the growing demand for delicious, nutritious seafood and gives us the space to scale and grow rapidly, and the opportunity to develop the largest offshore sustainable seafood capability in the world,” said Bien.
“We will bring our different approach to the waters of Brazil, applying our expertise in aquaculture, conservation and innovation to raise delicious and protein-rich fish in deep-ocean waters in a highly environmentally-friendly and sustainable way that’s good for people and the planet.”
In addition to the new site in Brazil, the Virginia, US-headquartered company has a research and technology facility in Hawaii, and offshore operations in Panama and plans an offshore operation in Indonesia.