Open Blue debuts ocean-raised Pacific snapper for SENA
Open Blue announced the debut of a new open-ocean raised Pacific snapper during Seafood Expo North America 2019.
The new product, which comes as both frozen and fresh headed and gutted, the debut is the first time Pacific snapper has been commercially produced using mariculture. Produced by Earth Ocean Farm, the new product represents roughly five years of research and development by the company.
“For the first time in the world after many years of research and development, delicious premium Pacific snapper are now commercially produced under sustainable open ocean aquaculture practices,” Pablo Konietzko, director of Earth Ocean Farms, said in a release. “Year-round availability will help reduce the pressure on wild stocks and will make a difference for distributors and customers that value sustainably and responsibly raised fish.”
Those challenges, Konietzko told SeafoodSource, include learning the biological challenges of the species –things like grow-out period and nutritional requirements – and the environmental challenges – such as predation challenges in the deep-ocean areas the farms are raised, and the regular threat of hurricanes during the stormy season in the Sea of Cortez off Baja California, where the fish are raised.
“That’s why we’re off shore with the deep pens, to minimize the risk [of hurricanes]” Konietzko said.
Open Blue Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing Bernard Leger told SeafoodSource the product is going to be marketed and sold in a similar manner to the company’s cobia, which was the recipient of the 2017 Seafood Excellence Award and recently named a “Good Alternative” on seafood watch.
“We have now the ability, to leverage Pacific snapper within the existing customer base,” Leger said.
The snapper, as well, is going to be a more premium, sashimi-quality product due to a rapid-freezing process that gives it an extended shelf-life, and the capability of being re-frozen.
“The quality is superb, it’s a premium quality product, its grown with a purpose, the outcome, the taste, the texture, the flavor, the way you can cook it, the skin, everything comes together,” Leger said.
The product will also be fully traceable, using a QR code gill tag with information about the product’s harvest date, location, and more.
The new product, according to Leger, will be sold throughout the U.S. Fresh product will largely be limited to the West Coast. Fillets will be available in the “near future,” according to Open Blue.