Aquaculture North America

American Unagi receives $1.5M investment towards expansion

January 15, 2024
By Aquaculture North America staff

(Photo: American Unagi)

RAS eel producer, American Unagi, is set to receive US$1.5 million to go towards upcoming expansions.

RuralWorks Partners LLC announced in a press release that the investment firm is looking to support the growth of the company.

“We are thrilled to support American Unagi’s disruptive approach to sustainable aquaculture,” said Louisa Schibli, RuralWorks’ chief engagement officer. “This investment aligns perfectly with our mission to help build local agriculture and food supply chains, create economic resilience within rural communities, and promote environmentally responsible solutions.”

CEO Sara Rademaker caught in a moment of action at the American Unagi Farm. (Photo: American Unagi)

American Unagi Inc. is the only producer and processor in the U.S. of locally sourced and harvested American glass eel. The RAS farm in Waldoboro, Maine is built to produce 240 metric tons of eel. With this new investment, the company plans to double its capacity within the year.

Sara Rademaker first founded American Unagi Inc. in 2012 with a mission to disrupt the traditional supply chain from Maine to China.

“Maine is one of the only states in the U.S. that has the ability to fish for (juvenile) glass eels,” explained Rademaker on the RAS Talk podcast. “But the entirety of that fishery is getting exported to farms in China and we’re importing back finished product, so it was really several factors that brought eels onto my radar.”

The company sells a range of live and processed eel products to Michelin-star restaurants and other high-profile distributors throughout the United States.

“Scaling and building to capacity is a big challenge, and doing that smoothly is a really big challenge,” said Rademaker in the podcast. “I think one of the things that we’ve done as an approach to mitigating risk is that early experience… knowing the systems is a huge piece of scaling successfully.”

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