Tour of Kampachi Farms at the Hawaii Ocean Science at Technology Park in Kona

This was the final YouTube video that Guy Toyama uploaded last week.

I know that he himself personally was the one that started these tours as I was invited to one personally!

[youtube=http://youtu.be/6eU4I56-YAs]

Each Friday, the Friends of NELHA hosts a fascinating aquaculture farm tasting tour from 10AM. Number is limited to 20 people so reservation is required. This is one of the farms on the tour and they are raising kampachi which is the Japanese name of the amberjack. They are also experimenting with new species including the Giant Grouper, Peacock Grouper (Roi) and the Chub (Nenue). Smoked kampachi is available for tasting after the tour.

Kona Blue Water Fish Farms Loses Its Ocean Cages

Kona Blue Water Farms has officially reported to NOAA that both of its cages broke free while they were being towed behind a boat.

“…Food & Water Watch allies in Hawaii confirmed that NOAA received a call from someone at Kona, alerting them to the loss of the cages…”

A quick look at the Kona Blue website and it states:

Sorry, we’re temporarily out of Kona Kampachi® due to ocean site upgrades for increased sustainability.

This reminds me of the cartoon that Greg Henkel sent me back in 2008:

Kona Blue Water Farms Awarded NMFS Grant to Research Alternative Proteins in Marine Fish Diets

By-Products From Biofuels, Food and Fish Processing Could Improve Sustainability of Kona Kampachi® Diets

Media Release:

Kona Blue Water Farms, Inc. (www.kona-blue.com), the first integrated marine fish hatchery and open ocean mariculture operation in the United States, today announced that the company has been awarded a Saltonstall-Kennedy grant from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for research into alternative protein sources to reduce the reliance on marine proteins in aquaculture feeds.

The project will look at three novel, sustainable sources of protein as a substitute for fishmeal in the diets of Kona Kampachi®, a sashimi-grade, marine finfish grown in waters offshore of Hawaii. The three sources of protein to be studied include: microalgal by-products from biofuels production; a single cell protein made from food processing water; and, a Fish Protein Concentrate filtered from the wastewater of fish processing plants.

For the study, Kona Blue will substitute these various protein sources at different ratios into the Kona Kampachi® diet, and compare growth rates, food conversion ratios and product quality to that of fish fed their standard commercial diet.

“This research addresses the fundamental challenge of developing marine fish diets that are both scalable, and sustainable,” explained Neil Anthony Sims, co-founder for Kona Blue. “The study aligns closely with Kona Blue’s commitment to continually strive to soften our footprint on the seas.”

“By using by-products from other processes, we can re-use resources, rather than deplete them,” said Jennica Lowell, Research Manager for Kona Blue and Principal Investigator for the project. “Not only do we lessen our reliance on Peruvian anchovies as a source of protein for our fish, but we also find value in by-products or effluents from other food processing or fuel systems.”

Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program, and a number of other aquaculture standards, use protein conversion efficiency of marine fish as a key metric of sustainability.

“Kona Blue aspires to use sound science to develop innovative solutions to the problems facing the oceans,” said Sims. “It is imperative that we find alternative means of supplying healthful seafood to meet growing global demand. Developing more sustainable marine fish diets would alleviate one of the remaining concerns for scale-up of open ocean mariculture.”

The research work is projected to begin by July this year. Results from the study will be shared with academics, industry, and the environmental and conservation communities through conference presentations and peer-reviewed publications.

Kona Blue Water Farms’ applied research also focuses on areas such as new designs for open ocean net pens, hatchery production of imperiled native Hawaiian fish species, and satellite tracking of ocean current eddies in the lee of the Big Island. These research projects are supported by NOAA, USDA, the National Science Foundation and private industry partners.

Kale Gumapac to Hold Press Conference at Monterey Bay Aquarium

I noted back in August that I heard Kale Gumapac talking about Fish farming at a forum.  Looks like he’s stepping it up a notch and taking this issue national.

He submitted this letter back in June ’08 on behalf of the Kanaka Council Moku O Keawe:

The Kanaka Council Moku O Keawe filed an application for contested case against Kona Ocean Blue Farms and received word from DLNR 2 weeks ago that Kona Blue Ocean Farms withdrew their application for expansion. The Kanaka Council successfully stopped Kona Blue Ocean Farms.

However, we believe that Kona Blue withdrew their application to wait on the outcome of the appeal filed by State of Hawaii Attorney General Mark Bennett to the U.S Supreme Court regarding the Hawaii Supreme Court ruling on January 31, 2008. The State of Hawaii is seeking to overturn the Hawaii Supreme Court ruling on ceded lands claiming that the State of Hawaii has the sovereign right to disburse ceded land.

The contested case file against Kona Blue Ocean Fish Farms set forth the argument that the State of Hawaii does not have the right to lease ceded lands. The January 31, 2008 ruling by the Hawaii Supreme Court we believe supports that argument. The State of Hawaii is obviously pulling out the stops as Bennett was able to get 29 other states to file an amicus brief to support overturning of the ruling….

Here is an article in today’s “The Californian”.

Hawaiians Seek Removal of Kona Yellowtail from Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Card

A fish listed as a “good alternative” by Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch card should be removed from that list, native Hawaiian leaders say.

U.S. farmed yellowtail is exclusively produced by Kona Blue Water Farms near the Big Island in Hawaii and marketed as “Kona Kampachi”. Native Hawaiians say the farm has caused negative cultural impacts.

At 12:30 p.m. Saturday in front of the Aquarium at 800 Cannery Row, Monterey, Kanaka Council Moku O Keawe Leader Kale Gumapac and Food & Water Watch Staff Attorney Zach Corrigan will hold a press conference. They’ll deliver a Kanaka Council letter to Monterey Bay Aquarium urging the removal of U.S. farmed yellowtail from the card…

More Here

Kona Kampachi – 60 Times Less Impact on Stock than Wild Caught Fish

Press Release:

Kona Blue Water Farms released an analysis that demonstrates sustainably maricultured fish actually have 60 times less ecological footprint on the ocean than wild-caught fish. Kona Blue’s analysis supports the recent recommendation from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) that called for an increase in fish farming amid falling wild populations and increasing fisheries closures, such as west coast rockfish, Gulf grouper, and the impending restrictions on red snapper.

“If we examine the true environmental cost of wild-caught predatory fish — such as swordfish or tuna — we find sustainably maricultured fish have some 60 times less impact on fish stocks at the base of the food chain, such as sardines and anchovies,” said Neil Anthony Sims, President of Kona Blue. The leading offshore mariculture operation in the U.S., Kona Blue raises sashimi-grade Kona Kampachi®, a Hawaiian yellowtail, off the coast of Hawaii.

“What would ocean-conscious consumers rather have on their plates?” asked Sims. “One pound of Kona Kampachi®, or one sixtieth of a pound of tuna? The impact on the oceans is about the same.”

Sims bases this estimate on three primary considerations. First, aquaculture is continually moving towards sustainable substitutes in farmed fish diets to lessen reliance on fishmeal and fish oil. Kona Blue’s current feed formulation includes only 35% fishmeal/fish oil from wild baitfish, of which approximately 3% is from capture fishery by-product. Contrary to outdated ratios of 5:1 or higher quoted by some environmental groups, the current ratio of “wild fish in to farmed fish out” has fallen to approximately 1.5:1 (1.5 lbs. of anchovies producing 1 lb. of sashimi-grade farmed fish).

By contrast, wild fish are subject to the laws of trophic transfer, where only 10% of their prey’s food value is transferred up each step of the food chain. “If a tuna eats a mackerel that earlier ate an anchovy, then there are two trophic steps, compounding the costs,” said Sims. “A tuna may therefore need to eat the equivalent of 100 pounds of baitfish to increase its weight by one pound.” As the fishmeal/fish oil for farmed fish feed involves only one efficient step, trophic transfer loss is minimized.

Secondly, Sims points out that farmed fish have a life cycle that is estimated to be three to ten times more efficient than wild predatory fish, since they are harvested at a young age, after their most efficient growth, and do not expend energy reproducing or competing to survive in the wild.

The last consideration is by-catch, or those unwanted fish caught by commercial fisheries that are discarded as unsaleable, undersized, or over quota. Some fisheries generate up to eleven pounds of by-catch for every pound that is retained. Experts estimate that almost 30% of the global wild harvest is discarded. Farmed fish have no by-catch, as only fish in the pens are harvested, and the schools of baitfish that go into fish feed rarely have any extraneous “take.”

“With these considerations,” said Sims, “we’ve estimated that one pound of our farmed Kona Kampachi® requires an environmental input of close to one pound of anchovies. A one pound serving of wild-caught tuna, however, would require around 60 pounds of baitfish.”

Sims asserted that responsible open ocean mariculture is a key solution to the depletion of ocean resources, but cautioned, “We still need to ensure rational, effective management of baitfish resources, and take into account ecosystem impacts.”