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Funding windfall for tilapia and coral farms

Salmonids NGO Tilapia / Cichlids +7 more

An organic tilapia farm in Guatemala and a coral restoration project in the Bahamas are both set to receive funding from a Norwegian salmon farmer, as part of a global sustainable food initiative.

Coral Vita will be receiving support

Kvarøy Arctic has pledged to back aquaculture projects Coral Vita in The Bahamas and Tilapia de la Faja in Guatemala as part of the World Central Kitchen’s (WCK) Food Producer Network.

WCK is a non-profit organisation that uses the power of food to nourish communities and strengthen economies in times of crisis and beyond. It provides nutritious meals to communities during natural disasters and other crises, and invests in local food systems through its long-term resilience programmes, which include the Food Producer Network.

This programme, originally launched in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, has expanded its network of food producers and regions to include the Bahamas, the US Virgin Islands and Guatemala. The programme partners with smallholder farmers, fishers, and small food-related enterprises to promote the development of sustainable food systems that encourage the growing and consumption of locally produced foods. This work is done with the goal of improving food security and helping communities build food resilience against future disasters.

Among the new efforts, Kvarøy Arctic is funding grants for an aquaculture track that supports existing businesses that demonstrate a track record of success but are impacted by a natural disaster and need support to continue their work.

The funding will enable Tilapia de la Faja to build seven new ponds

The first aquaculture project WCK supported is Tilapia de la Faja in Guatemala, in an area that was impacted by the eruption of the Fuego Volcano in 2018. The organic tilapia farm was founded three years ago by seven young entrepreneurs and produces a new source of food and employment for a growing community. With this grant, Tilapia de la Faja is building seven new tilapia ponds and implementing the use of oxygenators facilitating year-round production and a steady stream of protein. Currently, the farm is supplying fish to five communities within their municipality. The growth of production will dramatically increase their impact, allowing them to reach 45 communities with an uninterrupted supply of fresh, organic tilapia.

In the Bahamas, Coral Vita is the world’s first commercial land-based coral farm. Founded by Sam Teicher and Gator Halpern, it is dedicated to maintaining and regrowing coral reefs incorporating breakthrough techniques for growing coral up to 50 times faster, while boosting resilience against warming, acidifying oceans. The original farm was mostly destroyed by a 17ft storm surge due to Hurricane Dorian. After focusing on humanitarian aid in the aftermath, Coral Vita is returning to their core mission, sustaining the ecosystems that support the local community and help protect it from the threat of increasing storms. Through the grant, Coral Vita will invest in critical infrastructure for its project including a heat pump system, a heat exchange system, and a UVC filter, all of which are necessary due to the compromised water table from recent hurricanes. These innovations will allow Coral Vita to increase its efforts from growing hundreds to over ten thousand coral fragments and build capacity for local jobs and tourism.

“The support of WCK and Kvarøy Arctic has helped us rebuild our farm even better than it was before the devastation of Hurricane Dorian,” says Halpern. “We've been able to scale our operations and increase the efficiency of our coral farming infrastructure to further benefit the reef ecosystem and community of The Bahamas.”

“We believe in the importance of supporting a diverse array of projects to benefit the health of our oceans and our communities globally,” says Kvarøy Arctic director of development, Jennifer Bushman.

“Aquaculture isn’t a well-known industry in the Caribbean and we believe our support through this WCK program will help grow the industry for the benefit of us all.”