Blue Ridge Aquaculture is investing $3.2 million to expand its operations in Henry County, Virginia, which its president and CEO Bill Martin considers a significant step in the company’s growth plans.
Blue Ridge, said to be the world’s largest producer of indoor-raised tilapia, produces 4 million pounds of the fish a year using recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) and ships between 10,000 and 20,000 pounds of live tilapia each day.
Martin said the expansion will create five new jobs and help maintain the company’s leadership position in the industry.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe approved a $50,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund to assist with the project, which Henry County is matching with local funds, according to a statement from the Governor’s Office.
Blue Ridge was also awarded a grant from the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission. In addition, the company is receiving a Real Property Investment Grant through the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.
“I applaud Blue Ridge Aquaculture’s continued investment in Henry County and their expansion speaks to the high-quality seafood and marketplace success of the company,” said McAuliffe.
Virginia is the nation’s third largest seafood producer and the largest on America’s Atlantic coast. The state is ranked 10th nationally in aquaculture production.