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Swimming Upstream to the Redland

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Posted: Friday, August 17, 2018 10:23 am | Updated: 11:02 am, Fri Aug 17, 2018.

A Norwegian company, Atlantic Sapphire, chose South Florida for its land-based fish farm after a competition among several states.

Jose Prado is the CFO of Atlantic Sapphire. He presented to the Homestead Rotary Club, Kiwanis Club, Soroptimists, the Mexican American Council, and other groups at the Women’s Club on August 8th.

Prado holds an MBA from Northwestern University where he studied the business of Ralph Sanchez, founder of the Homestead Miami Speedway.

Salmon farming has been done in ocean pens in Norway and Scotland since the late 1960s. Although salmon hatcheries were tried as early as the 19th Century, land-based salmon farms first succeeded in a company venture in western Denmark eight years ago.

Ocean-based fish farming is often criticized for pollution from waste

discharge, encouraging parasites and diseases, and genetic dilution of wild stock. There are also problems with predators, net malfunctions, escapes due to storms, and lately, pollution from micro-plastics.

Prado said Atlantic Sapphire uses its unique “Bluehouse” technology to farm the fish on a large scale. Bluehouse innovation was developed by the company to manage full-cycle land-raised Atlantic salmon production. 

The company’s eighty-acre Redland property is at Epmore Road and 217th Avenue. Only twenty acres are being developed for a climate-controlled building larger than six football fields. The facility has been hardened to withstand Category 2 hurricanes including a generator larger than Homestead hospital’s generator. The site was selected because of good water quality, the climate, and access to highways.

Atlantic Sapphire’s schematic shows an egg hatchery, four small juvenile tanks, four larger smolt tanks, twelve very large grow tanks, a large space for biofilters, a processing room, and trucking docks. “Smolt” is the term for when wild salmon first migrate to he sea. The heavy water filtration is a signature piece of the Bluehouse technology. 

After 2024, Phase 3 plans call for thirty-six of the larger grow tanks. Currently in Phase I, the company predicts creation of 100 direct jobs and indirect development of 2600 additional jobs. Many direct jobs would be in the processing room where salmon is gutted and shipped out with the head on. Commercial use of the waste material is being considered.

Norway-farmed salmon can be flown to market within four days.

This South Dade project would deliver salmon to New York City in about twenty-four hours, avoiding significant airline costs. Prado said it could be ten years until the company is profitable as returns are reinvested to build out the business.

Atlantic Sapphire has water permits to draw 375 gallons a minute or fifteen million gallons a day from wells 180 feet deep into the Floridian Aquifer. The water enters at seventy-nine degrees, is cooled to fifty-nine degrees, and pumped into fish tanks creating a one to two knot current.

Florida’s DEP approved an underground injection well permit, allowing the company to eliminate excess water after treating it to approved water quality standards. The injection well reaches the aquifer’s boulder zone at 2705 feet for disposal of non-toxic waste water.

Ninety-eight percent of salmon for the U.S. market is imported, most of it from sea-farms in Chile. Prado predicts enormous growth in the current 520 thousand ton U.S. market with an eight percent increase each year. From an estimated start of ten thousand tons, the Redland facility expects significant harvest increases by 2022 to a goal of 92 thousand tons by 2026. U.S. demand is expected top 900 thousand tons by 2027.

Only Atlantic salmon is being raised, although the possibility exists to expand the operation to include steelhead trout as a separate product.

A German company that produces most of the world’s salmon eggs for farming is looking at development next to the Atlantic Sapphire plant. It plans to bring brood stock to America. Prado said his company welcomes the interaction.

Prado was asked about the taste of his salmon. He said it’s not as lean as its Alaskan counterpart but leaner than the farm-raised salmon from Chile.

Prado said salmon producers can provide a processed fish in different colors through enhancement with yeast. He also said that although Europe has a certified organic standard for farmed fish, the U.S. has no organic standard for fish.

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Welcome to the discussion.

2 comments:

  • Elma Mahurin posted at 4:34 am on Tue, Aug 28, 2018.

    Elma Mahurin Posts: 1

    It is good news for me that Norway is doing well and making companies in American states which is a good step towards the australianwritings writing and I think, it will help American people to make good relations with Norwegian public.

     
  • kritter posted at 8:17 am on Mon, Aug 20, 2018.

    kritter Posts: 18

    why are we helping norway?