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Kona Blue Offers Response to Demise of Fisheries

HAWAII - The recent study by Worm and colleagues, published in the journal Science, projecting a collapse of fish stocks by 2048, caused widespread dismay. The news, however, was hardly surprising to the marine scientists who founded Kona Blue Water Farms.

Upon news of the report, President and Co-founder of Kona Blue Water Farms, Neil Anthony Sims, noted that, “The plight of the world’s fish stocks was apparent to me nearly two decades ago. As the government Fisheries Biologist in a small South Pacific island country, I had a microcosmic window on the future of the oceans. I was charged with instituting rational management of the high-value fisheries in the lagoons of these isolated atolls. Trying to manage fisheries for pearl shell, giant clams, trochus (a pearly snail) or reef fish was, to flog an old metaphor, like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic; it was pretty discouraging stuff.”

Seeing the looming crisis of the world’s fisheries, Sims began to work several years ago with a team to explore open ocean aquaculture. In deep water fish farming, they found synergy between commercial cache and conservation rationales. This nexus of economic incentive and environmental imperative led to the founding of Kona Blue.

Kona Blue is committed to the environmentally sound culture of the ocean’s finest fish. A year after its first harvest, the company is now producing up to 10,000 lbs per week of sashimi-grade Kona Kampachi™ from their offshore cages near the Kona Coast of the island of Hawaii. These fish are all hatchery produced, so wild stocks are not depleted.

“We grow these fish in some of the cleanest waters on earth, in innovative submersible cages. We control the feed from hatch to harvest, so there is no detectable mercury in our Kona Kampachi™. In brisk currents, in water over 200 feet deep, there is no discernible impact on water quality: the water up-current of the cage is indistinguishable from that down-current of the cage. We continually strive to improve the sustainable nature of our feed, reducing our reliance on fish meal and fish oil, and increasing our use of agricultural grains and trimmings from edible wild-caught seafood,” said Kona Blue Chief Executive Officer Michael Wink.

“We believe that open ocean fish farming offers a sustainable, environmentally friendly answer to this crisis that confronts the world’s oceans. So by 2048, we hope that wild fish will be protected and managed, in the same way that most wildlife on land is protected and managed. And the looming seafood crisis will have been resolved by farming the ocean, as we now farm the land,” added Sims.

Kona Blue is the first sustainable operation in the United States to grow fish in the open ocean from an integrated hatchery. Four years ago, the company began culturing Kona Kampachi™ (or Seriola rivoliana), a delicious Hawaiian yellowtail fish. Kona Kampachi™ is healthy, pure and rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids with no detectable mercury.

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