Megan Sorby, formerly of Kingfish Maine, founds Florida RAS redfish start-up
Former Kingfish Maine Operations Manager Megan Sorby has founded a new recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) company in Florida, U.S.A. dubbed Pine Island Redfish.
The new project will farm redfish on the eponymous Pine Island in Southwest Florida, located near the city of Fort Myers. The site of the farm has already been fully permitted, the company said.
“In studying sites for this farm, we were directed to Pine Island, Florida, as a home for both terrestrial agriculture as well as aquaculture,” Sorby said.
Sorby previously worked as operations manager at Kingfish Maine for four years, helping to advance the company’s efforts to open a land-based RAS farm in Jonesport, Maine.
Pine Island Redfish, Sorby said, has acquired a “nearly 150-acre” property on the southern part of the island after it went through the required reviews and successful approval by all relevant “local, state, and federal agencies.”
“Previous farming activities on the property as well as the general location and site-specific characteristics are allowing us to establish operations with engineering that meets the goals we are all striving to achieve in the blue economy including water efficient technologies and climate resilience strategies,” Sorby said.
Sorby said the geology of Pine Island and South Florida gives the company access to the water it needs through the ground’s “natural sand filter."
“Likewise, we are able to process effluent on site and recycle its nutrient profile for other applications that create a more circular food system,” Sorby said.
Sorby said that her company plans to use the effluent for another purpose, including the growth of halophytes – a classification of salt-tolerant plans that grow along coastlines – for the purpose of climate resiliency.
Sorby said the RAS will be located near American Penaeid, a provider of vannamei shrimp broodstock, creating the beginning of an aquaculture cluster in the area.
“We looked at multiple locations and found a property that provides all the key elements for our project while most importantly working within Pine Island’s desire to maintain its natural and undeveloped farm feel,” Sorby said.
Photo courtesy of Kingfish Maine