Blue Ocean Mariculture began its life as a demonstration project in 2001. The intent was to show how offshore aquaculture could become a viable business model for the citizens of the State of Hawaii, who stand committed to preserving the integrity of their ancestral waters while encouraging enterprises that enhance the local economy. The project was a resounding success, which triggered a spark in the minds of the founders: what if Blue Ocean could be more than just a demonstration?
Eight years later, with solid partnerships built with the University of Miami and the University of Hawaii, Blue Ocean Mariculture launched the only commercial operation in the United States that raises fish in the open ocean. “We see our role as linking the economic and social elements to the ecology of Hawaii,” says Dick Jones, Chief Executive Officer at Blue Ocean Mariculture. To that end, the company has dedicated itself to finding and hiring only the best staff, bringing their expertise and ideas to bear on this ambitious operation to ensure that business and environmental considerations achieve an equilibrium that benefits people and the planet. “It’s especially important for us to take our people’s views and perceptions into consideration in order to balance human needs with the needs of our fish.” The Blue Ocean team worked hard to collect as much data as possible to situate sea pens in ideal locations, continue to gather maritime and biological information today to adapt to changing conditions, and consult with local stakeholders to stay informed on community needs.
The result of this conscious approach is that Blue Ocean Mariculture has been built in a way that will improve the marine environment while responsibly safeguarding the economy for future generations. “It means we are able to really benefit the local ocean economy and the livelihoods of our people, while caring for our fish and protecting the environment, and that’s what creates a Blue Economy.”
Community and Partnerships
In an effort to work outside our organization to encourage broader economic and environmental progress, Blue Ocean Mariculture is actively involved with a variety of community groups, scientific institutions, and partners, both locally and further afield. Locally, we maintain an active relationship with the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce; we are developing a training and internship program with the University of Hawaii at Hilo; and we regularly donate our specialty product to local fundraising events. Outside our beautiful state, we are active partners with the Northwest Aquaculture Alliance. We also collaborate closely with the University of Miami on analyzing the nutrition of our fish, as well as the Center for Aquaculture Technologies, who helped us jumpstart our selective breeding program. Finally, much of our equipment, from our net pens and environmental sensors to biomass estimation cameras and automated feeders are supplied by Innovasea. They are a great partner and an invaluable factor in our success.
Blue Ocean participates as a member of Stronger America Through Seafood, a US organization that builds increasing support for expanding opportunities for American aquaculture which currently meets only 5-7% of U.S. demand for seafood. While aquaculture supplies over 50% of seafood globally and is the fastest growing food sector in the world, it is still an untapped industry in the United States.
The U.S. imports 90% of the seafood we eat and ranks 16th in production of farmed seafood, behind producers in Asia, Europe, South America, Canada and Africa. As a result, our seafood trade deficit is $14 billion and growing.
With vast coastlines, ample feed sources, and its leading role in marine science and technology, the U.S. has the potential to expand seafood production through aquaculture, while creating thousands of new jobs and stimulating economic growth in coastal and agricultural communities nationwide. Responsible marine aquaculture has the potential to feed a growing population, increase the resilience of the global food system and mitigate climate change, making it a valuable tool for the U.S. to meet its climate goals.
Blue Ocean supports the development of US aquaculture and as a leader through our commitment to the ASC certification we see ample opportunity to others to build from our success.
Our dynamic management team blends diverse expertise with a passion for excellence in the field of mariculture and a commitment to protecting the clear blue waters of Hawaii.
Our highly skilled team consists of leading experts who offer a wide range of education and experience from veterinary science and marine biology to engineering and sustainability. Blue Ocean Mariculture is dedicated to supporting diversity and inclusive hiring practices, with a key commitment to hiring locally to bolster the Hawaiian economy.