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Blue Ridge Aquaculture invests $2.5 million in new tilapia nursery facility in the U.S.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Blue Ridge Aquaculture (BRA) is completing the construction of a new, state-of-the-art tilapia nursery facility to support its existing farming operations and future growth plans. The nursery expansion aligns with the company’s vertical integration strategy and will produce healthy, disease-free fingerlings for grow-out operations. The company has invested approximately $2.5 million in the project and expects the facility will be commissioned in January 2021.

The new nursery is located adjacent to existing operations on the company’s property in Martinsville, Virginia. It is approximately 16,000 ft2 and uses Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS) to reduce wastewater and improve operating efficiencies. The filtration system will constantly filter and disinfect the culture water and allow up to 95% water reuse. The nursery was designed to create the ideal conditions for raising tilapia fry and fingerlings. By reducing stress and creating ideal conditions, BRA is able to raise tilapia without the use of antibiotics or hormones.

The nursery expansion is part of the company’s vision for large-scale domestic aquaculture. The company is currently in its 19th generation of a genetics program, using non-GMO husbandry techniques to develop an improved strain of tilapia ideally suited for BRA’s operating systems.

In 2000, the company formed a trucking subsidiary to control the distribution of its product to the market. In 2017, the company opened Blue Ridge Aquafeeds to ensure a consistent supply of high-quality aquafeed that is formulated specifically for RAS. As a vertically integrated company, Blue Ridge Aquaculture is now positioned to expand into other product categories, including fresh and frozen fillets for the North American market.

Founded in 1991, the company is the longest continuously operating commercial RAS farm in the world. Company infrastructure includes a 90,000 ft2 indoor aquaculture (RAS) facility, a broodstock/genetics operation, a hatchery/nursery operation, a feed mill and a distribution company. The company currently produces five million pounds of live tilapia per year.

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