Bill Spencer, CEO of Hawaii Oceanic Technology. (Photo: Hawaii Oceanic Technology/FIS)
35 year lease granted for first deep ocean aquaculture site
Wednesday, November 03, 2010, 22:00 (GMT + 9)
The Board of Land and Natural Resources of the State of Hawaii granted an application from Hawaii Oceanic Technology for a 35 year lease on the company’s 247 acre deep open ocean aquaculture site, permitted by the same board in October 2009.
“This is a historic precedent for Hawaii and the United States,” says Bill Spencer, CEO of Hawaii Oceanic Technology.
The U.S lags behind the rest of the world in open ocean aquaculture because of the lack of a regulatory infrastructure to farm seafood in the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
Hawaii is the only state with a law on the books that allows open ocean aquaculture and has a comprehensive legal framework for leasing an ocean column to companies that want to farm the sea.
“We are happy to have been held to and met the highest possible environmental standards Hawaii can impose, and are glad to be moving forward with the unanimous support of the land board,” Spencer said.
“What is different about our site is that while we are in State territorial waters, it is very deep, 1,320 feet, which allows us to grow large volumes of seafood in a small foot print. The ocean water at the site is abundant and will quickly mineralize effluents making for healthy fish and a healthy ocean environment,” Spencer said.
The company’s goal is to demonstrate egg-to-plate tuna aquaculture using a suite of proven technologies combined to make deep ocean aquaculture environmentally responsible, efficient and economically sustainable.
The company also hopes to make a major contribution to the Big Island economy and the State of Hawaii with 60 direct and indirect jobs, tax revenues and the stimulus needed to create a host of support businesses that can service a growing aquaculture industry.
Hawaii is already seen as the Silicon Valley of aquaculture due to the open ocean aquaculture law, the high concentration of land and ocean based fish farming activities, the existence of world-class institutes, ocean scientists and marine biologists, and a 200,000 square mile Exclusive Economic Zone.
If allowed to expand into federal waters, Hawaii aquaculture entrepreneurs could create food security for the islands, and become an important economic engine for the State of Hawaii.
Farmed seafood already meets one third of the world’s demand. Globally it is a USD 100 billion industry dominated by China. But farmed seafood production must double within the next twenty years or ocean resources will be depleted, according the United Nations Food Agriculture Organization.
Hawaii Oceanic Technology, Inc. was founded in 2006 as a Delaware C corporation by Bill Spencer its CEO and Paul Troy, Ph.D. at the University of Hawaii trained oceanographer and the company’s Chief Technology Director. The company has an active board of advisors that includes world-renowned ocean scientists.
The company will focus its fish farming efforts on the production of yellow fin and big eye tunas known as Ahi in Hawaii. Its tuna, raised in Hawaiian waters will be distinguished in the marketplace as “King Ahi”. The company expects to have its first patent pending fish farming Oceansphere deployed by 2013.