Eric Pedersen, President and CEO of Ideal Fish

Inside a repurposed manufacturing site in Waterbury lies a 63,000-square-foot state-of-the-art aquaculture center annually raising 175 metric tons of Mediterranean Sea Bass, or Branzino as it is known in the United States, in a responsible and sustainable manner free of hormones, antibiotics and chemicals.

Ideal Fish is the only commercial-scale facility growing Branzino in the United States, and one of only a few recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) in the world raising ocean-going fish in salt water. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein and the antioxidant selenium, more than 10,000 metric tons of fresh Branzino were imported into the U.S. in 2018.

President and CEO of Ideal Fish Eric Pedersen says, “We are able to solve a number of issues, such as offering a higher-quality seafood product to American consumers, being more environmentally sustainable and leveraging the robust industrial infrastructure that Connecticut has with our controlled environment system.”

Situated in the middle of the largest seafood market in the U.S., Ideal Fish is able to harvest and deliver fish directly to kitchens and retail stores within 24 hours, ensuring quality and freshness while addressing the need to feed a growing population and protect the environment.

Future plans include incorporating a fully operational aquaponics facility at Ideal Fish’s current location and building out additional RAS facilities in the Waterbury region to grow different species of fish, vegetables and culinary herbs.

Photo courtesy of Nelson & Pade, Inc.

Advantages of RAS Farming

  • This method can achieve an optimal growing environment. This creates a stable and predictable production basis 365 days a year.
  • RAS addresses the growing demand for greener, cleaner, safer, transparent and more sustainable methods of growing fish.
  • Low water requirement as the large majority of water is cleaned then recirculated.
  • Significant reduction in disease due to the ability of the operator to control all aspects of fish farming.
  • The fish are free of any hormones, antibiotics or chemicals.
  • High production of quality fish in a relatively small area with a limited supply of water and land.
  • The flexibility to locate production facilities near large markets, including inland locations and food deserts.
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