Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Next Phase

The past two days I have been reading countless articles coming from news and industry sources all around the globe, each article announcing another fishery in crisis. 

Sardine stocks off the coast of California are at historical lows, problems with tuna fisheries in the Pacific, pollution issues in the Gulf affecting shrimp and other crustaceans, everywhere the news is bad to worse.

While I appreciate the effort that goes into reading these articles and then forwarding them on to me, honestly, I have not found one report of a disaster or problem affecting the marine health of this planet to be a surprise.

In point of fact, if it wasn't so sad, and so detrimental to the planet and its biodiversity, I would almost shrug it off. The truth is, this has all been coming for the past 6 decades. 

I am not going to go into another rambling diatribe of the destruction we as a species have done to the world's oceans through wild capture fisheries and traditional open air ponds for aquaculture, as well as the serious damage net pens are causing in the open ocean. 

I would suggest that if you really care about the fate of our planet and want understand how intertwined our lives are with those of the oceans, read the book "The Most Important Fish in The Sea", by H. Bruce Franklin, published in 2007. 

This book is about menhaden, a small, relatively misunderstood fish, that is vital to the health of the world's oceans. It is more than a cautionary tale, it is story that is being repeated around the world affecting multiple species and a tale that we ignore at truly, "our own peril."

I read this book the year it came out and it was one of those "epiphany" moments that was another piece in what was a long chain of events that lead me to try and develop a truly sustainable and environmentally positive system in which to raise marine protein.

On other fronts, Stephen and Lee got back from their two week journey to Japan and Taiwan and they had a very successful trip. 

Work is progressing on our Japanese production project and the design and proposals for bids will be started shortly.

Here at the Texas location we are convening this week to develop the CAPEX budget and get the process started for preparing the construction documents to get bids out to begin phase 2 here at Taft.

Phase 2 will see the addition of two more production modules and a new bio-filter for those units, being built and (hopefully) in operation by September of this year.

The production team is doing another harvest this coming week and  that should be the last of the "test" ponds. 

Hence forth, we will being stocking the ponds in modules 1 and 2 at higher densities and we anticipate the beginning of ongoing regular harvests starting in May. 

I have not spoken at length to Eduardo, since I returned from Maryland, but I am confident we will be in a position to stock our ponds going forward with post larvae from our own brood stock, grown on site at the hatchery here in Texas. 

That is a huge accomplishment for our team and a necessary step to self sufficiency and a vertically integrated production capability.

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