Blue Ridge Aquaculture invests USD 2.5 million in new tilapia nursery facility
Blue Ridge Aquaculture (BRA), a tilapia producer based in Martinsville, Virginia, U.S.A., announced it is completing the construction of a new USD 2.5 million (EUR 2.1 million) nursery facility to support its existing farming operations.
BRA is the largest producer of tilapia in the United States, with a vertically-integrated operation that spans aquafeed to trucking. The new nursery will be adjacent to the company’s existing facilities, and will consist of a 16,000-square-foot recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) that is expected to be commissioned in January 2021.
“The nursery was designed to create the ideal conditions for raising tilapia fry and fingerlings. By reducing stress and creating ideal conditions, BRA is able to raise tilapia without the use of antibiotics or hormones,” the company said in a release.
The new nursery will use filters to disinfect the culture water, and allow for 95 percent water reuse, according to BRA. That will allow the company to produce a high quality product with low environmental impact and consistent deliveries that can be distributed without seasonality.
The company was founded in 1991, and claims the title of longest continuously operating commercial RAS farm in the world. Facilities include a 90,000-square-foot RAS facility, broodstock and genetics operations, a hatchery and nursery operation, a feed mill, and a distribution company.
The latest expansion, BRA said, is “part of the company’s vision for large-scale domestic aquaculture.” The company is currently on the 19th generation of its genetics program, which uses non-GMO husbandry techniques in order to “develop an improved strain of tilapia ideally suited for BRA’s operating systems.”
“As a vertically integrated company, Blue Ridge Aquaculture is now positioned to expand into other product categories, including fresh and frozen fillets for the North American market,” the company said.
Photo courtesy of Blue Ridge Aquaculture