This week marks the grand opening of a new land-based recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) and aquaponics facility in Waterbury, Conn. Ideal Fish is a 63,000 square foot state-of-the-art RAS facility developed with Pentair’s cutting-edge aquaculture filtration and aquaponics technology. At Ideal Fish, they expect to raise more 350,000 lb. of branzino and 50,000 lb. of leafy greens per year.
The Ideal Fish facility launch comes at a perfect time as branzino, also known as Mediterranean seabass, has grown rapidly in popularity in the US over the past couple years. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the US imported 7,585 metric tons of branzino last year, up 21 percent from the 6,260 metric tons imported in 2016 and nearly 50 percent more than the 5,076 metric tons imported in 2014.
The environmental and ecological benefits of a land-based RAS facility cannot be understated. Most imported branzino is raised in sea pens in Greece and Turkey. The Ideal Fish branzino will be raised in an environment free of pesticides, hormones or other chemicals. Ideal Fish will be the first aquaculture facility to raise branzino in the US using a land-based system. By utilizing advanced Pentair filtration technology, Ideal will be able to reuse more than 90 percent of the water they use. With land-based RAS, there’s also no chance of fish escaping into the wild – another major concern for ocean-based fish farms.
Located centrally between Boston and the New York City area, Ideal Fish Founder Eric Pedersen predicts that demand for his responsibly-raised product will be high as they are able to harvest and deliver fresh fish and greens to restaurants and groceries within 24 hours, considerably faster than traditional fisheries and ocean-based aquaculture facilities.
“From the start, I believed that recirculating aquaculture systems and aquaponic systems offered the ideal solution to some of the serious challenges facing consumers in this country when attempting to source fresh, high quality, traceable and safe seafood and greens. In addition to this, I knew that if we built the correct facility, with the technological expertise and influence from Pentair, we would create a clear solution to many of the long-standing issues that have plagued our existing food chain,” Pedersen said. “We have had a very strong and encouraging response from the market that has been demonstrated by current purchase commitments. Customers are putting money where their mouths are, and there is just no stronger indication that we are on the right path than that!"
Ideal Fish has plans for USDA certification as an organic farm, and is currently rated “Best Choice” by the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch Program. Ideal Fish is also in the process of becoming a Best Aquaculture Practices Certified company, one of the world's most trusted, third party aquaculture certifications.
The Pentair AES team is proud of our partnership with Ideal Fish, and looks forward to a continued commitment to water management technology.
“We deliver smart, sustainable water solutions to businesses and people around the globe,” said Bob Miller of Pentair. “We partnered with Ideal Fish because we saw how innovative their approach is, and how our technology can exponentially multiply the farm’s capabilities by helping to make it more water and energy efficient.”