Kona Blue Urges NOSB to Set Organic Standards for Finfish

Open ocean fish farming can and should be organic
March 29, 2007

Kona Blue Urges NOSB to Set Organic Standards for Finfish

Kona Blue Water Farms, the first integrated open ocean fish farm and marine fish hatchery in the U.S., today urged the National Organic Standards Board to move expeditiously to establish regulations for use of net pens and fishmeal and fish oil in Organic aquaculture.

Kona Blue grows sashimi-grade Kona Kampachi in waters over 200 feet deep, using sustainable practices, innovative hatchery techniques and advanced ocean engineering.

 “We are committed to environmentally-sound aquaculture,” said Neil Anthony Sims, Kona Blue President, “and we believe that open ocean fish farming can and should be organic.”

The NOSB has deferred recommendations on the use of fishmeal and fish oil (FMFO) from non-organic marine sources, and on the use of net pen culture. This deferral essentially blocks organic certification for fish grown in open ocean pens, which is the eco-friendly form of aquaculture pioneered by Kona Blue.

“We believe that this is a lost opportunity,” said Sims. “This decision means that fish farmers will not yet have the prospect of an Organic premium, as an incentive to improve their farming methods. And it means that Americans will not yet have Organic seafood products they can consume with confidence.”

There is an increasingly overwhelming body of scientific evidence that shows that American consumers need to eat more fish. Doctors and dieticians agree that the health of the nation is suffering from over-consumption of fat-laden land animals. Heart disease alone is a national epidemic that costs hundreds of thousands of lives annually. Seafood provides a solution as a healthful source of protein rich in beneficial Omega-3s. However, with the alarming depletion of ocean fisheries, it is certain that wild fish stocks cannot sustain any increase in seafood demand.

“Establishing Organic seafood standards for marine fish – fish raised in net pens, and fed with fish meal and fish oil – could result in a sustainable increase in American consumption of seafood,” said Sims. “And that will save lives, just as surely as, say, a reduction in cigarette smoking would save lives.”

Sims urges the NOSB to act expediently to establish some standards – however rigorous as they see fit – “to allow fish to be farmed in the sea, where they belong. Why not establish Organic standards, and provide an increased level of consumer confidence in seafood, sufficient for some to begin to increase their seafood consumption? This will help consumers live longer, healthier lives.”

Kona Blue is the first sustainable fishery in the United States to grow fish in the open ocean from an integrated hatchery. Six years ago, the company began culturing Kona Kampachi™ (or Seriola rivoliana), a delicious Hawaiian yellowtail fish. The fish is nurtured from hatch-to-harvest, fed sustainable and natural feed, and grown in some of the cleanest water on Earth. Kona Kampachi™ is healthy, pure and rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, with no detectable mercury. Kona Blue is committed to building an environmentally sustainable future through marine fish hatchery technology, natural feeds, and deep-ocean aquaculture.