Sustainable Seafood

Ocean Fishing

The increasing development and economic prosperity of the world's industrializing nations now exert relentless pressure on all natural resources, especially food stocks of all kinds. Many noted authorities agree that the world has entered into a new period of food shortages rooted in climate disruptions, global economic competition, planning failures, rising energy costs, bio-fuel production and other complex factors. The role of hit-or-miss fishing and other fuel intensive, inefficient food production methods will necessarily diminish. We noted above that the world's fish stocks face serious decline. The Pacific Fishery Management Council, a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce began taking action over a decade ago to reduce fishing fleet sizes by as much as 50% in an effort to sustain these rapidly depleting stocks. Many other US and foreign jurisdictions have forced similar substantial reductions in fleet size. Fishing the oceans in an ever more global and competitive economy with dramatically increasing food demands is not sustainable. There are simply not enough shrimp in the sea to meet the rising demand, and even if there were, it is economically risky to fish for them, as well as environmentally unsustainable.

The rising cost of fuel, increasing ocean contamination, proliferating competition, regulations, inherent seasonality and hit-or-miss nature of fishing increasingly limit the ability of fisherman to compete with aquaculture production. These mega-trends are not likely to change.

Pen & Pond Aquaculture

Competition and profitability in the aquaculture industry depends on operating efficiency and bio-security, the ability to consistently protect fish stocks from disease, predation and other causes of crop death. The US industry includes an estimated 4800 aquaculture producers, but it is a fragmented industry with no dominant firms. Worldwide, there are thousands of small and large pen-and-pond shrimp farms, with especially high concentrations in Asia and South America. China, Thailand, Vietnam, Brazil, and Ecuador are the largest exporters.

Pen and pond farming subjects shrimp to upstream pollution and pollutes downstream farms with shrimp waste. Birds pick at the crop leaving dead shrimp to rot in the ponds and spread disease. Bird droppings pepper the pens and ponds, polluting them with disease and otherwise altering water chemistry and the flavor of the crop. Heavy rains introduce terrestrial pollutants and hot, dry spells deplete available dissolved oxygen causing kills. Stillwater ponds accumulate waste and sediments until the mess renders the pond unfit for production. Trying to rush grow-out by feeding heavily adds excess nutrients to the water, making it turbid, risking disease and altering the quality of the crop at best. At worst, it creates algae blooms, consumes oxygen and destroys the crop. Exposed outdoor pens and ponds need constant attention. FOA will be one of the most bio-secure aquaculture facilities created thus far.

The Future of Sustainable Seafood Production

FOA will use its own specialized closed-loop, zero-exchange circulating water aquaculture system. This system retains, continuously monitors and treats the water within the system, virtually eliminating bio-waste or excess food discharge. It also protects the system from intakes of polluted water, prevents fish escapes and thus eliminates all need for antibiotics or chemicals used to combat disease. Recirculating aquaculture is a cleaner, greener, more sustainable method of shrimp production than the open water aquaculture systems, and FOA's system is the most sophisticated of these. It incorporates a number of additional technologies that have been used successfully elsewhere, but never all combined in a single production facility.