Open Blue CEO Dario Marchetti: “We've rebuilt the team”

Open Blue CEO Dario Marchetti.
Open Blue CEO Dario Marchetti | Photo by Cliff White/SeafoodSource
4 Min

Panama City, Panama-based cobia farmer Open Blue went through a difficult period during the Covid-19 pandemic but, after a retooling, is set to improve its fortunes, according to Open Blue CEO Dario Marchetti.

“We've rebuilt the team,” Marchetti told SeafoodSource at the 2024 Seafood Expo North America in Boston, Massachusetts. “We are taking a fresh approach, so we needed a fresh team; plus, some of our previous leadership retired.”

In August 2023, Ryan Pieper was named Open Blue’s sales and marketing director, following stints as West Coast sales director for Raw Seafoods and vice president of sales at Pescanova USA. Underneath him, the sales team is now smaller and are specialized in certain channels, such as foodservice, according to Marchetti.

It was a rejuvenation. It's a much smaller team. It's much more focused on special channels that help us to penetrate those markets,” Marchetti said.

Open Blue has cut all its value-added offerings and R&D and is now just focused on fresh headed-and-gutted cobia, fillets, and portions.

“Now, it’s just back to basics,” Marchetti said. “I think that's what you need to push a new species. No one's going to buy a burger of a species they don’t know.”

Open Blue has also retrenched from an exploration of the European and Asian markets to a smaller footprint.

“We've recentered on our priority of the U.S. market,” Marchetti said. “But, the most important thing is we built redundancy into everything we do. We've increased the number of hatcheries we have and [placed] many more fish in the water to make sure that we have a consistent and sustainable supply."

Open Blue operates its proprietary farm SeaStations in the Caribbean Sea, 12 kilometers off the coast of Panama. Its cages are fully submerged at depths of up to 100 feet.

Open Blue was the world’s first cobia supplier to achieve four-star Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) and Aquaculture Stewardship Council certification. The company won a 2018 Seafood Excellence Global Award in the hotel/restaurant/café (HoReCa) category for its frozen, individually vacuum-packed, sashimi-grade cobia fillet. The same year, Open Blue was honored as a Seafood Champion at the 2018 SeaWeb Seafood Summit for its ocean-friendly seafood vision to farm offshore at depths of 75 meters, away from sensitive ecosystems.

Open Blue recently scored a contract with ...

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