Seafood company Forever Oceans has signed a 20-year agreement with the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Supply to farm ocean fish in a 64, 2000-hectare concession off the coast of Bahia state, Brazil. The zone covers an area three and a half times the size of Washington DC, making this the largest ever offshore concession devoted to sustainable marine aquaculture.
The agreement will last for an initial twenty years and is set to boost Forever Oceans finfish production capability by more than 25 percent. Forever Ocean’s new venture is expected to create between 300 – 500 jobs over the next eight years. Forever Oceans plans to raise Amberjack fingerlings from eggs at an onshore hatchery in Ilhéus, Bahia, Brazil. Once mature, they will be raised in the ocean environment of the concession zone.
Forever Oceans was founded in 2014 and is based in Virginia State, USA. The seafood producer specialises in deep water ocean fish cultivation with a focus on sustainability. A distinguishing aspect of its business model is its use of digital technology for monitoring fish health in real-time. Currently, it has a research and technology facility in Hawaii and onshore operations in Panama with another planned in Indonesia.
Marine farming is a subset of aquaculture where saltwater fish are raised in either the open ocean, fish farms built on coastal waters, or artificial tanks filled with seawater. Forever Oceans uses open ocean farms for rearing and recirculating seawater aquaculture systems for breeding. Marine fish farming can contribute towards sustainable fisheries by easing pressure on wild stocks.
In 2013, an FAO study stated that Brazil had the world’s second-largest area suitable for offshore aquaculture. Although overall aquaculture fish production doubled from 400, 000 in 2009 to 800, 000 tonnes in 2018, Brazil’s marine aquaculture has remained mostly at subsistence level. Commercialised marine fish production is so far limited to small net-cage farms in San Paolo, Rio de Janerio, and Espírito Santo. The agreement with Forever Oceans could help Brazil realise its potential in marine fish farming.
“With a coastline of more than 8,500 km, Brazil is one of the main frontiers for fish production, generating, in addition to healthy food, employment, and income.” Said Jorge Seif Junior, Secretary of Aquaculture and Fisheries at Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture. “This landmark agreement is historic for Brazil and will set the country on the path to the development of sustainable marine aquaculture.”