Patent clears way for Hawaii tuna farmer
Hawaii Oceanic Technology has received a U.S. patent for its Oceansphere Automated Positioning and Submersible Open Ocean Platform for Fish Farming. The company filed the patent for its underwater fish cage in September 2007.
“This is an important value creating milestone for the company. We plan to use Oceanspheres to produce yellowfin and bigeye tuna within the next two years,” said Bill Spencer, the company’s CEO. “We will also sell and license Oceanspheres globally. The goal of the company is to demonstrate new fish farming technology that allows pelagic species such as tuna to be grown in deep ocean waters where constant currents and large volumes of clean water assure fish health and rapid mineralization of effluents.”
The company has permits and approval for a 247-acre lease site 2.6 miles off of North Kohala on Hawaii’s Big Island. Twelve Oceanspheres are permitted to operate in the site, producing 6,000 tons of tuna annually.
“More than 21,000 acres of land and mass quantities of fresh water would be needed to produce the same amount of beef protein. By farming protein in the vastness of the ocean, we can be more efficient, use no land or fresh water resources and reduce the carbon footprint associated with traditional fishing methods, not to mention reducing impact on wild fish populations that are already severely stressed,” said Spencer. “Our goal is to demonstrate that you can move some types of fish farming out into deep water where larger farms can be constructed and environmental impact can be insignificant due to naturally occurring processes.”