Hidden beneath the tangle of buoys and lines off the Southern California coast lies the San Pedro shelf, the largest underwater plateau in the region. The water is deep, clean, free from major storms and rich in phytoplankton – the perfect conditions for feeding shellfish, and the perfect location for the first ever offshore aquaculture facility in US waters.
It was here that Phil Cruver set up Catalina Sea Ranch, the aquaculture farming company of which he is CEO. The 100-acre sea ranch grows Mediterranean mussels, giant kelp, oysters and scallops, providing a local and sustainable source of shellfish in an industry plagued by overfishing and globe-trotting imports.
“About 70 percent of the world’s fisheries are threatened by overfishing, and we hit “peak fish”
two decades ago,” Cruver said in an interview with San Pedro Today. “Therefore, if we can’t take more wild fish out of the ocean, aquaculture must meet the seafood demands of a growing, global population.
“Terrestrial crops consume precious fresh water resources and require harmful fertilizers; livestock produce an enormous carbon footprint that is unsustainable. That is why aquaculture is the fastest growing form of food production on the planet”.
The oceans produce just 2% of the world’s food, despite covering two-thirds of the planet.
The company plans to scale up to 3,000 acres and has its sights on becoming a half a billion-dollar company, should plans to sell mussels for $2.50 per pound succeed.
Cruver’s increasingly firm commitment to what he dubs the ‘Blue Revolution’ – forged both with Catalina Sea Ranch, and in a concurrent role as President of KZO Sea Farms – follows a more traditional career in entrepreneurship. In 2013 a video software development company he founded, KZO Innovations, was sold to a private equity firm.Tags: ocean