Nutreco announced Jan. 28 that it has invested in Netherlands-based company Kingfish Zeeland, which aims to bring supplies of yellowtail kingfish to U.S. and European markets through a proprietary recirculating aquaculture system (RAS).
Nutreco said the investment underlines its ongoing commitment to "Feeding the Future" -- the company’s mission to contribute to producing enough nutritious and high-quality food for a growing population in a sustainable way.
Yellowtail kingfish is a premium fish species, traditionally used in Japanese and Italian cuisine. In the U.S. and Europe, supplies of the species are constrained with negligible local production, Nutreco said. Established in 2015, Kingfish Zeeland offers locally produced, ultra-fresh, certified yellowtail kingfish raised through RAS.
“Nutreco’s ambition is to continue to invest and partner with leaders in sustainable protein production around the globe,” Nutreco chief executive officer Rob Koremans said. “This investment fits well with our strategy to play a leading role in the development of sustainable solutions to fulfil our mission. Over the past few years, it has become clear that the growing demand for seafood calls for development of alternative farming models such as RAS to complement the existing aquaculture methods.”
Nutreco chief innovation officer Viggo Halseth added, “Kingfish Zeeland has successfully gained a first-mover position in the premium RAS farming sector, producing high-value yellowtail kingfish in a sustainable way. We believe that full-cycle RAS is a very relevant way of fish farming, which builds on the existing knowledge of on-land farming. Kingfish Zeeland is the kind of innovative and technologically knowledgeable partner we want to be working with.”
This strategic funding round will enable Kingfish Zeeland to double its current production capacity of 500 metric tons per year as well as prepare for its next steps toward large-scale production across both the U.S. and Europe. Nutreco is taking part in this investment round together with several other investors (including France-based Creadev and Netherlands-based Rabobank Corporate Investments).
In addition to the investment made in Kingfish Zeeland, the companies will also cooperate on further development of best-in-class RAS feeds.
Therese Log Bergjord, chief operating officer of Nutreco and CEO of Skretting, Nutreco’s aquaculture division, said, “Skretting is a world leading partner for RAS producers. Kingfish Zeeland’s knowledge of farming yellowtail kingfish in RAS, coupled with our expertise on high-quality RAS feeds, will help further integrate farming and feed solutions towards optimal fish performance and will help further develop this highly sustainable form of aquaculture.”
Kingfish Zeeland CEO Ohad Maiman added, “As we enter the scale-up phase of our mission to advance a first-mover position in the sustainable production of premium seafood, we see strong alignment with Nutreco’s mission and values, and are grateful for their strong support and vote of confidence. This partnership will help Kingfish Zeeland accelerate large-scale production of yellowtail through RAS across the U.S. and European markets and is a critical milestone in our development.”
Skretting is currently delivering juvenile feed to Kingfish Zeeland operations, and the companies will be working toward broader cooperation on the feed moving forward.
Nutreco is a global leader in animal nutrition and aquaculture feed. Nutreco employs more than 12,000 people in 37 countries and had net sales of 6.4 billion euros in 2018. Its two global company brands Skretting (aquaculture feed) and Trouw Nutrition (animal nutrition) have sales in more than 90 countries. Nutreco is a wholly owned subsidiary of SHV Holdings N.V.
Based in the Dutch province of Zeeland, Kingfish Zeeland taps into the pristine marine estuary water of the Eastern Scheldt, a Natura 2000 nature reserve, to deliver a healthy, antibiotic-free premium delicacy: the Dutch yellowtail (Seriola Lalandi / Pacific yellowtail / Hiramasa -- often used interchangeably with close cousin Hamachi).