Forever Oceans CEO Bill Bien (second from left in photo), on January 13 met with Jorge Seif Junior (far right), Secretary of Aquaculture and Fisheries of Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply, to sign a concession agreement that puts Brazil on track to becoming an emerging leader in sustainable seafood production. Witnessing the historic event were Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (second from right) and John Lopes, Forever Oceans President John Lopes (far left).
The initial 20-year agreement authorizes the Gainesville, Virginia, USA-headquartered to ocean-raise fish within automated enclosures in two zones, located 7-15km (4.3-9.3 miles) off the Brazilian coast of the state of Bahia. Together, they represent the largest offshore concession ever given for sustainable marine aquaculture, totaling 64,200 hectares, an area three-and-a half times the size of Washington DC. The operation is expected to create up to 500 jobs over the next eight years and boost Foreve Oceans’ finish proud lion capacity by more than 25%.
“With a coastline of more than 8,500 kilometers, Brazil is one of the main frontiers for fish production, generating, in addition to healthy food, employment and income,” said Seif. “This landmark agreement is historic and will set the country on the path to the development of sustainable marine aquaculture.”
In 2018, the global marine aquaculture market produced 7.3 million metric tons of finfish valued at US $35.4 billion, according to the FAO. The global demand for fish from marine aquaculture is forecast to grow threefold to 21 million metric tons by 2050, as more consumers incorporate fish as a part of a healthy diet.
“This agreement will help us to serve the growing demand for delicious, nutritious seafood and gives us the space to scale and grow rapidly, and the opportunity to develop the largest offshore sustainable seafood capability in the world,” said Bien. “We will bring our different approach to the waters of Brazil, applying our expertise in aquaculture, conservation and innovation to raise delicious and protein-rich fish in deep-ocean waters in a highly environmentally-friendly and sustainable way that’s good for people and the planet.”
In addition to the new site in Brazil, Forever Oceans has a research and technology facility in Hawaii and offshore operations in Panama, and plans an offshore operation in Indonesia.
In Brazil, the company will raise Amberjack, known locally as ‘Olho de Boi’ or Remeiro. This versatile finfish is praised for its taste, protein, nutrition and is rich in Omega-3.
An onshore hatchery in Ilhéus, Bahia, will raise fingerlings from eggs for placement in large deep-ocean enclosures, enabling them to swim and grow in a protected and more natural environment. Initially, 24 automated enclosures are planned inside the two ocean zones, which comprise responsible eco-friendly aquaculture zones. The operation in Brazil is expected to create approximately 300-500 good-paying jobs over the next eight years, once full capacity is achieved.