Red drum RAS farm to be based in Florida

red drum

The site for a new fish farm being developed by a former manager with The Kingfish Company has been announced as Pine Island in Florida.

Former Kingfish Maine Operations Manager Megan Sorby said her new recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) venture will be known as Pine Island Redfish. Redfish (Sciaenops ocellatus), otherwise known as red drum or channel bass, well known to sports fishing enthusiasts in the USA, but it has been protected from commercial harvesting since the 1980s.

The site is fully permitted and there is an aquaculture business there already, in the form of shrimp producer American Penaeid.

Pine Island is home to a vast array of tropical fruit and citrus groves as well as palm tree farms. “In studying sites for this farm, we were directed to Pine Island, Florida as a home for both terrestrial agriculture as well as aquaculture,” said Pine Island Redfish CEO Megan Sorby.  “We looked at multiple locations and found a property that provides all the key elements for our project while most importantly working within Pine Island’s desire to maintain its natural and undeveloped farm feel.”

Pine Island Redfish acquired a nearly 150 acre property towards the southern part of the island after required review and successful approval by all relevant local, state, and federal agencies.

Sorby said: “Previous farming activities on the property as well as the general location and site-specific characteristics are allowing us to establish operations with engineering that meets the goals we are all striving to achieve in the blue economy including water efficient technologies and climate resilience strategies.”

Unique geologic conditions of South Florida provide the opportunity to access high quality seawater through the ground’s natural sand filter, Sorby says, adding: “Likewise, we are able to process effluent on site and recycle its nutrient profile for other applications that create a more circular food system.”

The company is evaluating uses, including the growth of halophytes integral to climate resilience strategies.

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