Finalist, Seafood Champion Awards for Vision
Kampachi Farms sees development of offshore aquaculture as a pressing environmental imperative, and a tremendous economic opportunity. The company is pursuing environmentally-sound production of high-value marine fish in offshore sites, using innovative engineering and biology, and working closely with regulators and the conservation community. A commercial hatchery and offshore farm for our Cabo Kampachi is being set up in La Paz, in the Sea of Cortez. Fish from our deep-water site, 4 miles offshore, should be available in the North American markets by early 2019. Kampachi Farms is also pursuing permits for an offshore demonstration net pen project in the Gulf of Mexico, off Florida. Our cutting-edge R&D team, based out of Hawaii and La Paz, has led innovative breakthroughs in numerous facets of offshore aquaculture: the Velella Project Beta-test (the world’s first unanchored net pen) and subsequent Velella Gamma-test (unmanned “over-the-horizon aquaculture”); ongoing feeds research (successfully trialing zero-fishmeal diets); conservation of threatened species (Giant Grouper); and development of offshore farming technologies for macroalgae (seaweeds).
Kampachi Farms, with leadership from Neil Sims, has been working to transform production aquaculture for many, many years. Although the rapid growth in marine aquaculture was in salmon, Kampachi persisted with a variety of amberjack and with an innovative system that alleviated many of the problems of marine aquaculture (open depth, genetic issues from escapes, feed efficiency, etc). They were finally funded in 2017 to grow a substantial new production facility in Mexico.
How well does this nominee and his or her work demonstrate the qualities of the category?
Extremely well. Neil Sims is considered a visionary by many in the industry regarding the potential to transform the reputation of aquaculture from poor to great. He took a chance with a little known variety, risking his career while he could have made a very good living elsewhere. Neil and the Kampachi team are incredibly passionate about the work.
In what ways has this nominee positively affected, or mitigated negative impacts of, the seafood industry?
Kampachi has demonstrated that there is a new, proven way to address the world’s growing appetite for marine fin fish. They did so with a 500 MT facility in Hawaii. But, by raising the money to build a facility substantially larger than this, and located adjacent to the continental US, he is proving a model for others who want to do the same.
In what way do you feel this nominee’s story could inspire others and communicate successes achieved in sustainable seafood?
Go to any aquaculture conference, and Kampachi (and Neil) is one of the first names you’ll come across as it pertains to sustainability in aquaculture. This even extends to feed, as Kampachi is at the forefront of testing out the newest ingredients, from algae to grains to other alternatives.