Who we are

Our Story

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.”

Our Mission

Blue Ocean Mariculture is dedicated to promoting the health of people and the planet through responsibly grown seafood. The unique meroir and pristine waters of Hawaii produce clean, firm, versatile kanpachi with an extraordinary taste prized by restaurateurs and specialty retailers who demand consistent, reliable, premium-quality, and guilt-free seafood.

Core Values

We act with integrity.
We are dedicated to excellence.
We are resourceful and resilient.
We are inspired to find a better way.
We are committed to healthy oceans and vibrant communities.

Future Vision

Blue Ocean Mariculture is the model of what is possible when you combine the demand for healthy, abundant mariculture with our commitment to respect the environment and enrich our community.

Our customers and stakeholders regard the seafood we produce as the best choice because of its quality, its sustainability, our transparency, and our commitment to excellence.

Blue Ocean Mariculture is an amazing place to work. We empower our people to achieve their full potential and do what they love, every single day.

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 Team

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.

Dick Jones
CEO

Dick Jones is the CEO of Blue Ocean Mariculture, currently the only open-ocean finfish aquaculture company in the US. His passion for the ocean started very early in life, leading him to his first full-time job working at his family’s seafood processing business on the Boston Fish Pier in 1986. His diverse career includes 14 years leading the seafood operations at Whole Foods Market and HEB Grocery. Over the past 12 years he has been a leader in the non-profit sector; assisting industry, governments and development agencies implement improved practices at fisheries and aquaculture operations globally. Dick is a co-founder of Sea Pact, a group of leading North American seafood companies dedicated to driving stewardship and continuous improvement of social, economic, and environmental responsibility throughout the global seafood supply chain. He is also a founding trustee of ThinkAqua, a non-profit whose mission is to improve the performance of small-scale aquaculture in Africa and ASEAN nations. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Northwest Aquaculture Alliance, Sea Warden, Finless Foods and Stronger America Through Seafood. He has served as a Board Director or Advisor to several organizations throughout his career, including the California Salmon Council, the Aquaculture Certification Council, the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions, World Resources Institute, and Fair Trade USA. MORE

Robin Coonen
Vice President of Finance

Robin Coonen, Vice President of Finance, joined Blue Ocean Mariculture in 2016, bringing with her over 20 years’ experience in Finance and Human Resources. Her previous roles focused on manufacturing analysis, forecasting, strategic planning, and employee relations. She received her B.A. in Economics and Masters in Business Administration from Mills College. 

Tyler Korte
Vice President of Marine Operations

Tyler Korte is the Vice President of Marine Operations at Blue Ocean Mariculture. Tyler started his career as a marine ecologist working with various non-profit organizations, including the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Catalina Island Marine Institute, and the University of Hawaii, where he promoted ocean conservation through research and education. In 2008, Tyler began working with commercial finfish producers focused on sustainable offshore farming. Tyler has dedicated the last decade to helping develop environmentally friendly farming practices in the offshore waters of Panama and Hawaii. Tyler has a degree in marine biology with a focus on coastal ecology from Brown University and has worked with the University of New South Wales, the University of Hawaii and the University of Florida on coral ecology and invasive species assessment projects. MORE

Federico Rotman
Vice President of Hatchery Operations

Federico José Rotman has been working in the field of marine fish culture for over 20 years. In 2001, he completed a master’s degree from the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences and has been involved with commercial and research marine fish aquaculture since. He has extensive experience with the culture of many marine species. Federico has been a commercial hatchery manager in Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i, a national and international aquaculture consultant, and a Research Scientist at Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute. Federico is currently the Vice President of Hatchery Operations at Blue Ocean Mariculture. In his spare time, Federico tries to spend as much time in, on or near the water surfing, camping, and exploring Hawai’i’s natural surroundings. MORE

Sam Yamamoto
Director of Sales 

Sam Yamamoto, Director of Sales, is responsible for developing and implementing a comprehensive sales strategy for Blue Ocean Mariculture and Hawaiian Kanpachi in the United States and Canada. He also leads the company’s ongoing efforts in developing international business. Growing up in Japan, he was always surrounded by seafood that has been the main staple of Japanese diet. He is proud to be part of Blue Ocean family with sustainable and environmentally safe aquaculture practices in mind. He is a results-driven leader with over 20 years of sales experience in food industry. In his free time, Sam enjoys exercising, hiking, golfing, watching baseball and traveling with family and friends.

Sarid Ditton
Director of Marketing

Sarid Ditton brings 14 years of experience as a Marketing/Digital Marketing specialist and proven consistency in developing and executing successful outbound/inbound marketing strategies. Her passion for the ocean and aquaculture, make her an ideal community builder and business storyteller. Sarid grew up in Kona, Hawaii where she now resides with her family.