AquaSol, Inc. and Marine Innovation & Technology are pleased to announce that they have agreed in principle to form a new partnership and new company to develop a novel offshore fish farming system. Developed over the past two years, this new offshore aquaculture system is intended to become the technological advance that finally spurs global development of the offshore aquaculture industry.
Advances in the aquaculture industry over the past 25 years have been significant - increasing the sustainability and overall quality of species-specific aquaculture feeds, significant genetic advances in the most popular farm-raised species that have led to dramatic gains in production efficiency, dramatic improvements in industry and environmental sustainability, development of highly effective fish vaccines, new aquaculture species development, advances in recirculating aquaculture systems; all of these examples of dramatic advances in aquaculture that may ultimately pale in comparison to the advances we anticipate in the development of global offshore aquaculture operations over the next 25 years.
The aquaculture industry is almost exclusively relegated to land-based and near shore operations at present. Offshore aquaculture is literally in its infancy and there are only a handful of operations around the world that can be truly categorized as offshore. Consider these staggering facts for a moment and it is easy to appreciate the depth of possibilities for offshore aquaculture:
- Water covers nearly 71% of the Earth's surface;
- Over 96% of the planet's water is found in oceans;
- Only 2.5% of the Earth's water is freshwater, and almost 99% of all freshwater is either locked in ice formations or bound as groundwater;
- Less than 0.3% of all freshwater is in rivers and lakes.
The above facts make it clear that marine aquaculture, or mariculture as it is occasionally referred, is where the greatest potential lies for the future of fish farming, yet this potential remains virtually untapped.
To offer a clearer picture of the current situation, let's consider the breakdown of global freshwater aquaculture vs. brackish and saltwater aquaculture. According to the latest statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), global aquaculture production from freshwater represents 37 million metric tons or nearly 47% of total global aquaculture production, which was approaching 79 million metric tons in 2010. Put another way, the aquaculture industry is currently producing 47% of all aquaculture products using less than .025% of the Earth's total available water resources (i.e. freshwater), and that's assuming 100% utilization of available freshwater, which of course is not the case. Talk about an inefficient use of resources! And this is not even considering the high demand placed on these extremely limited and highly valuable freshwater resources for something not so trivial; the survival of all land-based life forms. Around 7% of all aquaculture output is from the brackishwater transition zone between land and sea and the remaining global aquaculture output (46%) comes from marine environments.
To get a glimpse of the output from offshore aquaculture, we can take a closer look at the statistics for marine fish; production in marine waters. In 2010, this figure stood at 1.3 million metric tons or around 1.7% of global aquaculture output. Even this last figure vastly overstates the true production coming from true offshore aquaculture operations as the overwhelming majority of this output is raised in nearshore waters. It becomes obvious fairly quickly that the potential for offshore aquaculture is huge and the aquaculture industry has barely tapped the surface of what's possible.
Why has the transition not occurred sooner? A number of reasons come to mind. First, we can describe what we refer to as the "low hanging fruit" theory. People naturally gravitate to doing what's easiest first using locally available resources on land, where they are more comfortable. A parallel can be drawn to the oil industry which started on land, then moved offshore, then moved further offshore, and now is tapping into the hardest and most expensive reserves to access like oil sands. We believe a similar trend will emerge in the aquaculture industry whereby the industry will eventually be forced to go offshore due to increasingly greater competition for scarce freshwater resources, while simultaneously developing more sustainable yet typically more expensive forms of production like recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS). A second reason is it's expensive to build offshore platforms and to access these platforms with sophisticated and specialized vessels and it takes a sizeable investment to rationalize these high fixed costs. A third reason is mother nature. Offshore aquaculture is exposed to the forces of nature and the fury of the seas and it is rarely an easy place to work. A final reason is technology. A strong argument can be made that we simply have not imagined or built the type of robust offshore aquaculture structure that can withstand the forces of nature over time.
AquaSol, Inc, along with our valued partner, Marine Innovation & Technology, intend to change this dynamic and bring offshore aquaculture to the forefront where it belongs. The offshore aquaculture system we are designing and developing will be able to withstand any cyclone or hurricane and can be located well offshore with the increasing cost of mooring and higher logistical costs being the primary limiting factors. Offshore cage technology will no longer be a limiting factor.
Qualified investors and venture capitalists who agree with our vision of the future are encouraged to contact us for further details.