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Ramping up land-based steelhead production to 21,000 tonnes

Trout Recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) +2 more

Blue Star Foods Corp has announced that it has completed the acquisition of Taste of BC Aquafarms, a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) steelhead farm in British Columbia, and plans to dramatically increase its output.

Taste of BC Aquafarms' RAS facility

© Taste of BC Aquafarms

"We believe that RAS is the future of our industry and win-win for all the stakeholders involved in a seafood supply chain that is sustainable over the long-term," said John Keeler, CEO of Miami-based Blue Star, in a press release.

Taste of BC Aquafarms operates the oldest continuously operating RAS full grow-out salmonid farm in North America. Established by the Atkinson family, their "Little Cedar Falls" brand steelhead have been on the market since 2013.

"We are excited to complete the acquisition of Taste of BC Aquafarms and to partner with the Atkinson family, who are pioneers in RAS farming for over a decade. They've built a proven and scalable model and we are excited to strategically fund their next level of growth and use our sales platform to market their delicious, sashimi-grade, steelhead," said Keeler.

“We have as an internal company goal to be producing 21,000 metric tons of product by 2028. Our job is to get the resources for Ben Atkinson and his team to scale their existing technology and proven methodology to get to those numbers. One of the things you are going to be hearing from us in the future, is that Taste of BC is producing more RAS steelhead salmon that is being consumed in the marketplace than many of our publicly traded peers. We believe that when properly resourced, we are more likely to hit our production goals than other folks," he added.

"The Atkinson Family is delighted to be joining forces with Blue Star through this acquisition. Almost 10 years ago I set out to create a salmon RAS model that could be replicated in multiple locations with predicable and dependable results. Our staff, family, and various partners have helped us achieve that original goal, and now Blue Star will help us implement the large scale roll out," said Steve Atkinson, president and co-founder of Taste of BC Aquafarms.

“We took a different approach than others developing RAS for salmon production. Ours is a more modular strategy that can be launched with confidence and we believe will be highly scalable."