Former Kingfish manager sets sights on a new species

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US aquaculture expert Megan Sorby, formerly Operations Manager at Kingfish Maine, is planning a new land-based project. She aims to farm red drum, a popular game fish in the United States that is now in short supply.

Red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus), also known as redfish, channel bass or a variety of other names, is found along the US Atlantic coast from Massachusetts to Florida, and in the Gulf of Mexico.

The species has been protected from commercial harvest since overfishing reduced stocks in the 1980s, and demand for red drum in the US has largely been met by imported farmed fish.

Sorby plans to farm red drum in a location yet to be revealed, using RAS (recirculating aquaculture system technology.

Sorby said: “This development brings together a well understood culture process of the species and pairs it with the technological benefits and controls of RAS. We cannot continue importing this premium product when it is native to our waters.

“There’s deep US investment in the research and development of this species. Pairing red drum with RAS technology optimizes this species to its fullest potential in a domestic location.”

Megan Sorby

Megan Sorby, with her partner Tom Sorby, played a key role in establishing The Kingfish Company’s new US RAS facility, in Maine. Together with her team in the US and the Kingfish Company, Sorby helped secure the required permits for the Netherlands-based company to expand in the US, built out a hatchery facility and increased US broodstock. Kingfish Maine celebrated its first harvest of Dutch yellowtail from Maine earlier this year.

She has now taken up an advisory role with Kingfish, while Tom is now Operations Manager.

From Kingfish Maine’s facility earlier this year, a limited release of Dutch Yellowtail from Maine of 8,000 pounds was distributed to and served at restaurants in Maine, Boston, DC and California.

Kingfish is announcing another harvest scheduled in November, which will be distributed to select restaurants in the US, as well as available to the residents of Jonesport.

 

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