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Hawaii aquaculture reached record sales of $83.2M last year

HONOLULU (AP) — Farm-raised marine animal sales in Hawaii last year reached $83.2 million, breaking a record, a new federal report said.

Aquaculture sales quoted in the report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture eclipsed the high of $78.2 million set in 2014. The increase appeared driven by sales of fish, while the value of microalgae sales fell, the report said.

Animals raised by farms on land or in the ocean statewide include shrimp, oysters, clams, moi, tilapia, kampachi, koi and angelfish. The industry provides more than 350 jobs in Hawaii.

The report combined the value of finfish and shellfish into one category to prevent revealing data that could identify sales for individual farms. Sales for the category was $47.9 million, up from $41.2 million in 2017.

Algae largely produced by companies selling nutritional supplement products totaled $32.7 million in sales last year, down from $35.2 million in 2017.

Two Big Island aquaculture firms plan to expand operations at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority’s Hawaii Ocean Science Technology Park.

Blue Ocean Mariculture and Big Island Abalone announced plans to add jobs at the state-administered facility at Keahole Point.

‘‘The significant expansion plans announced by these two companies will only enhance our brand as a leader in the global aquaculture industry,’’ Democratic Gov. David Ige said.

Kowa Premium Foods Hawaii Corp., which owns Big Island Abalone, is expanding its facility. Construction will be completed over the next several years, Chief Operating Officer Satoshi Yoshida said.

Blue Ocean Mariculture operates an on-land hatchery producing fingerlings as well as offshore operations. The company is working to establish a finfish processing center at the technology park that’s expected to handle more than 2,000 tons of fish annually, Blue Ocean CEO Dick Jones said.

‘‘We are setting the foundation for the future of domestically produced aquaculture as we significantly expand our production of the only commercially available open ocean grown fish in the USA,’’ Jones said.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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