InnovaSea Systems – new aquaculture technology firm
By Erich Luening
By Erich Luening
The merger of the two US based companies will be the first step in developing what they hope will be the next-generation of open-ocean mariculture technologies.
“Yes, this is true,” exclaimed Ocean Farm’s founder and President Steve Page in an email to Aquaculture North America. “There are more exciting things to come.”
He and executives from OceanSpar were in Panama talking to one of their biggest customers and partners, Open Blue Sea Farms, about the merger and how it will impact their clients.
The merger, signed in January, brings two industry heavyweights with decades of experience between them, together to form a new company InnovaSea Systems – an open ocean mariculture technology, consulting and services provider – rivaling in the future some the larger European aquaculture technology makers like Akva Group in Norway.
Open Blue founder Brian O’Hanlon praised the offshore aquaculture technology combo as a big step forward but that focus now is to focus solely on open ocean mariculture technology and services.
“I think it’s great because both companies have been working with very similar technologies and concepts in different phases and in different locations,” O’Hanlon said in a phone interview. “It’s combining the technologies, concepts, and services into one company.”
Ocean Farm Tech is based in the US State of Maine, and OceanSpar is based in Washington State. Ocean Farm was founded in 2005, by Page, who designed the company’s signature geodesic dome shaped fish pens called AquaPod, made to endure the sometimes extreme offshore environments. AquaPods have been used by fish farmers in North America and Asia for farming everything from shrimp to finfish.
Page is a veteran of Maine’s salmon-farming industry and has built an international client-base. Since 2008, AquaPods have been shipped to companies in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Panama, and South Korea. There are also smaller versions called MicroPods which have been demonstrated in Ecuador and Indonesia to interested buyers.
OceanSpar was founded in 1988 by Gary Loverich and Tom Croker on Bainbridge Island in Washington State. At the time, they were developing trawl gear for the Bering Sea fleet through their first company, Net Systems. They recognized the resource limits in wild-catch fisheries and began focusing their attention on solutions for more sustainable seafood production, according to the company. In 1993 Gary Loverich developed the SeaStation for energy, storm-prone sites.
Over the past 25 years or so, OceanSpar has developed and field-tested increasingly large net pens and support equipment for offshore aquaculture and SeaStations have been successfully deployed and tested in countries including Spain, Portugal, Korea, Panama, Mexico and the US.
— Erich Luening
Further details of the deal will come after customers of both companies are fully briefed on the new company InnovaSea Systems.