Fish Farm Produces California Striped Bass Geothermally

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
28 September 2006, at 1:00am

CAILIFORNIA - Growing up as a hybrid striped bass can be rough. Born as fingerlings in Arkansas, some of the small fry are trucked to 96 holding tanks at the Kent SeaTech Corp. fish farm in the broiling desert near California's Palm Springs. They're dumped into water up to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius) that's heated naturally underground, helping them mature in a third of the time it takes in the wild. If the fish survive the desert heat and occasional cannibalism, they're dunked in a slurry of water and ice that kills them by shocking their hearts, and they're delivered by the next day. ``That fish can be harvested on Monday and I can get it 4 a.m. Tuesday morning,'' said Blake Wheeler, buyer for Los Angeles-based American Fish & Seafood Co., which purchases as much as 700 pounds (318 kilograms) a week from Kent SeaTech. Such enthusiasm for the desert fish has made aquaculture one of the most successful, if incongruous, crops in Riverside County, a landlocked region better known for windmill farms, illegal methamphetamine labs and date palms. Total aquaculture sales of $13.4 million last year, $10 million of which came from Kent, made the county California's largest aquaculture producer and 12th largest in the U.S. Source: Bloomberg