Sustainable Production of Pinfish for the Gulf of Mexico Live Bait Market
Every year more than 12 million Americans enjoy fishing in our oceans and along our coasts. These saltwater anglers generate close to $30 billion in economic impact and support nearly 350,000 jobs nationwide. A large majority of these anglers prefer to use live bait; however, the supply of live bait is limited and inconsistent. This unmet demand and sporadic supply of live bait has created an excellent opportunity to introduce new aquaculture products to the market. Aquatic Innovations, LLC (AI) is working towards capturing this large and untapped market by introducing farm-raised baitfish. Culturing baitfish on a commercial scale will allow the establishment of a consistent, year round supply of healthy bait that is not affected by seasonal variation. Therefore introduction of farm-raised pinfish (Lagodon rhomboides) will quickly capture a considerable portion of this market due to its superior performance and ability to meet year round demand. In Phase I, AI demonstrated the feasibility of spawning pinfish in an artificial seawater hatchery using hormone injections. AI further demonstrated that larval pinfish could be fed a commercial diet and be acclimated to 4 part per thousand (ppt) well water at an early age. In Phase II, AI will begin commercial production and distribution of the pinfish. AI will concentrate on improving spawning and culturing techniques that were developed in Phase I during the first year of Phase II. The three main areas of concentration will be extending the spawning period with photothermal manipulation, fry first feeding (in the hatchery vs. in a pond), and delivery logistics. AI anticipates producing a significant number of pinfish with the fall of 2009 spawn but also realizes that modifications will need to be made throughout the process. The second year of Phase II production will employ the modifications and technologies that were developed in Year 1 of Phase II in full commercial production. AI has set a production goal of 300,000 pinfish for the first year after the completion of Phase II (spring 2012); however, AI expects to reach that goal in Year 2 of Phase II. Therefore AI will have a large number of pinfish ready for this $169 million market by the end of Phase II funding. Much of the necessary infrastructure is in place, as AI has reached strategic agreements with two commercial fish producers to improve the transition to production of farm-raised pinfish at a commercial scale.
Small Business Information at Submission:
1662 MILLBRANCH DRIVE Auburn, AL 36832
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