The team at Blue Ocean Mariculture monitors and analyzes water and seafloor samples to ensure that any impact from our operation is minimal and reversible, providing a healthy marine environment for both our kanpachi fish and the wildlife outside our pens. All potential interactions with marine mammals and seabirds are tracked to check for any changes in wildlife behavior, and all environmental monitoring is conducted through partnerships and permits with the State of Hawaii and federal agencies.
“We are proud to be the only open-ocean mariculture farm in the United States. We understand that mariculture must be done smartly—with respect for local culture, ocean water quality, benthic health, and wildlife. And most of all, respect for the fish.”
Blue Ocean Mariculture operates a fully integrated mariculture facility. Production begins with breeding at the onshore hatchery in the Natural Energy Laboratory – Hawaii Authority (NELHA). NELHA serves as a water-supply technology park and incubator for companies growing aquaculture businesses in Hawaii. When young fish have sufficiently matured, they are moved and their growth continues in submerged sea pens located off Keahole Point near Kona, Hawaii, in a 900 acre lease provided by the Hawaiian Department of Land and Natural Resources. The pens are located a half mile offshore in areas of high water exchange, and fish stocking densities are restricted to preserve water quality and seafloor health, while anchoring systems and net-pen moorings are engineered to eliminate the risk of wildlife entanglement, all in a strenuous effort to ensure the integrity of the local environment. Our net-pens are fully submerged to minimize the visual impact of the farm and preserve the dramatic offshore views of the Hawaiian Islands.
Fish Breeding Life Cycle
Kanpachi is a fast-swimming saltwater fish that schools, making them very similar to tuna. They begin their lives in our onshore hatchery where our broodstock spawn naturally without the need for chemical intervention like in some other types of aquaculture. Our female fish release their eggs into the water, where they are fertilized by male fish, become buoyant, and float to the top of the tank for easy collection once per day, with a total annual collection of around 400 million eggs.
When we’re ready to start a new cohort, we move the eggs to their own tank and for the first three days the fish sustain themselves on their yolk sacks. After that, we feed them in stages as they mature: first, rotifers enriched with vitamins and minerals; next, artemia and a carefully blended dry powdered feed; then, as our little fish grow, the size of the feed is increased in step with the development of their mouths and digestive systems, eventually arriving at pellets. We also vaccinate for common diseases found in the marine environment to ensure they stay healthy and develop robust immune systems.
After 30+ days in a larval rearing tank they each weigh about 1 grams, at which point we transfer them to the nursery where they stay for 30 to 35 more days while enjoying nutritious feed and oxygenated water. By that time, they weigh about 60 grams each and are transferred to a nursery net in the open ocean, where they’ll stay until they arrive at 450 grams, the ideal size for introduction to the submerged pens off Keahole Point. They continue to flourish there until they weigh 2.6 kilograms, or about 12 months. We currently harvest mature fish twice per week through a harvest cone that carries fish from the pens into an ice slurry in seconds in accordance with HACCP requirements for food safety.
One of Blue Ocean Mariculture’s key commitments is international certification by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council. Blue Ocean is the first finfish operation in the United States to achieve ASC certification. ASC has full access to our data, which ensures that they have a comprehensive view of the environment around us, including social needs, human resource needs, and monitoring and management of any potential impacts on the environment.
“While we know there will be others to follow, we want to emphasize the leading role we are taking to develop our company to the ASC standard, the very highest standard for aquaculture in the world. Achieving this key certification recognizes the significant work our company already had in place and marks a major milestone for the State of Hawaii, the United States aquaculture industry, our team members, and our customers.”
Dick Jones, CEO
Monitoring reports are prepared by our mariculture facility. If you are interested in historical information, please contact contact our office.
As part of the Cuna del Mar (CDM) portfolio of companies, Blue Ocean Mariculture participated in the Cuna del Mar Sustainability Report for 2020. CDM is a unique enterprise designed to support the development of open ocean aquaculture that is economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable. Cuna del Mar invests in businesses linked to that vision through land and water-based technologies, research and feed innovation, and monitoring capabilities. CDM is a change accelerator pushing innovation in warm water locations around the world.
The 2020 Sustainability Report has been built using widely accepted Global Reporting Initiative principles and standard disclosures. We are keenly interested in setting goals and measuring our long-term performance in a way that combines social responsibility and environmental protection with business profitability. The report is intended as a key platform to describe our approach to managing our social and environmental performance, reflecting the progress we are making and highlighting areas that require additional focus for our company in the future.