Kampachi Farms has successfully harvested their first crop of Kampachi fish from their unanchored drifter pens. Since last summer their drifter pens have been riding eddies in the open ocean from 3 to 75 miles off the coast of the Big Island, Hawaii
Yellowtail, or “Kampachi” is a premium sashimi-grade marine fish being raised in the open ocean off the Kona Coast
. These fish are genetically the same as Seriola rivoliana
, also known as Almaco Jack, or Kahala. The fish are hatched from eggs in an on-shore facility in Kona, and are transferred to unanchored drifter pens as fingerlings. Wild Kahala are prone to parasites and ciguatoxicity, but the high-quality diets and culture methods used by Kampachi Farms without using growth hormones, genetic engineering, or prophylactic antibiotics, result in tasty and healthier fish.
According to Kampachi Farm’s website
, “Aquaculture offers the only viable solution to the growing demand for sustainable, healthy sources of seafood.” It also reduces the pressure put on wild fish stocks by commercial fishing operations, as well eradicating the need for some of the invasive methods commercial fishing uses to catch their product. The future for aquaculture looks very promising, and Kampachi states that it “stands on the cusp of a tremendous expansion. With increasingly specialized hatchery techniques, high value finfish such as tuna, grouper, and, of course, Kampachi are being (or may soon be) farmed in the open ocean to meet this demand. When coupled with cutting-edge fish nutrition and sutainable feeds research, this will afford the average consumer a safe, consistent supply of the most popular type of fish — marine finfish — without harming wild stocks.”
The goal of Kampachi Farms is to leverage scientific discoveries to advance commercial Kampachi production. Their drifter pens produced some amazing results, Neil Anthony Sims, Co-CEO of Kampachi Farms reported
that their harvest far exceeded expectations. In 6 months they grew to 5.6 pounds which resulted in harvesting 3 months ahead of schedule. Food conversion ratios were great when compared to traditional farming at 1.6:1 (1.6 pounds of food produced 1 pound of fish). Compared to the average food conversion ratio of chicken at 1.9:1, and beef at 6.5:1.