Pacifico Aquaculture commissions Billund to design and build first land-based striped bass RAS

Per-Roar Gjerde, CEO in Pacifico Aquaculture and Bjarne Hald Olsen, CSO in Billund Aquaculture.

Pacifico Aquaculture has commissioned Billund, Denmark-based Billund Aquaculture – a specialist in recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) – to design and implement what would be the first striped bass RAS facility in the world in Ensenada Bay, Baja California, Mexico.

The land-based RAS will be designed to raise juvenile striped bass to 80 grams before being transferred to Pacifico Aquaculture’s grow-out sites located 20 kilometers off the coast in the Pacific Ocean. According to Billund, while there are existing hybrid striped bass RAS facilities, this will be the first to raise pure striped bass.

Pacifico said it is the only company raising pure breed striped bass, and is also the first company in Mexico to achieve four-star Best Aquaculture Practices certification. It received funding from U.S. sustainability-driven asset management firm Equilibrium Capital in November in order to build the RAS facility – but did not disclose the size of the investment or the cost of its new facility.

“We are thrilled to have with us Billund as a main supplier to build the first striped bass RAS facility in the world,” Pacifico Aquaculture CEO Per-Roar Gjerde said in a release. “This is the before and after for Pacifico Aquaculture in its growth as a company and in a start of creating a new industry in Baja California Mexico.”

Founded in 2010, Pacifico produces around 2,000 metric tons (MT) of striped bass annually, and according to Gjerde the new RAS hatchery will help it significantly increase its production capacity.

“This project will allow us to build a state-of-the-art hatchery and nursery facility and unlock 20,000 metric tons of annual production capacity to meet the world’s growing demand for healthy, nutritious seafood,” Gjerde said.

The new facility will be built near the “Playa Tres Emes” beach – 14 kilometers to the north of Ensenada, Pacifico said. The location will give it access to seawater via a 1.2-kilometer pipe, which it will use to raise its striped bass.

The RAS facility, when at full capacity, will be able to raise 8 million 80-gram fish per year. The company said it expects to start construction on the new land-based facility in January 2024, and that it will be in operation by the end of 2025. 

“This is a very important contract for Billund Aquaculture because it represents a major step towards diversifying the number of species farmed using RAS,” Billund Aquaculture Chile CEO Marcelo Varela said. Also, Mexico is a completely new market for us with huge potential, due to the diversity of new species that can be farmed, and due to its proximity to such an important market as the United States. This whole area holds enormous possibilities for farming different high-value species that are suitable for RAS and we are thrilled to explore these new opportunities.”  

Photo courtesy of Billund Aquaculture


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