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Salmon farmer splashes out to boost aquaculture after natural disasters

Tilapia de la Faja farm in Guatemala has received a grant from salmon farmer Kvarøy Arctic. Photo: Kvarøy Arctic.
Tilapia de la Faja farm in Guatemala has received a grant from salmon farmer Kvarøy Arctic. Photo: Kvarøy Arctic.

A tilapia producer and a coral farmer in parts of the world hit by natural disasters are boosting production thanks for funding from salmon farmer Kvarøy Arctic.

In an area of Guatemala impacted by a volcanic eruption in 2018, the Norwegian company’s grant is enabling Tilapia de la Faja is building seven new tilapia ponds and implementing the use of oxygenators facilitating year-round production and a steady stream of protein.

The organic tilapia farm, founded three years ago by seven young entrepreneurs, currently supplies fish to five communities within its municipality. The growth of production will allow it to reach 45 communities with an uninterrupted supply of fresh tilapia.

Coral Vita founders Gator Halpern, left, and Sam Teicher. Photo: Kvarøy Arctic.
Coral Vita founders Gator Halpern, left, and Sam Teicher. Photo: Kvarøy Arctic.

Storm surge

In the Bahamas, Kvarøy Arctic’s grant is helping Coral Vita, the world’s first commercial land-based coral farm, rebuild after the farm was mostly destroyed by a 17 ft storm surge due to Hurricane Dorian.

Founded by Sam Teicher and Gator Halpern, Coral Vita is dedicated to maintaining and regrowing coral reefs incorporating breakthrough techniques for growing coral up to 50 times faster while boosting resilience against warming, acidifying oceans.

After focusing on humanitarian aid in the aftermath of the storm surge, Coral Vita is returning to its core mission. Through the Kvarøy Arctic grant, Coral Vita will invest in critical infrastructure for its project including a heat pump system, a heat exchange system, and a UVC filter, all of which are necessary due to the compromised water table from recent hurricanes. These innovations will allow Coral Vita to increase its efforts from growing hundreds to over 10,000 coral fragments and build capacity for local jobs and tourism.

Rebuilding better

Kvarøy Arctic, which supplies salmon to the Whole Foods Market chain in the US, is providing its support through the World Central Kitchen (WCK) Food Producer Network. WCK is a non-profit organisation that uses food to nourish communities and strengthen economies in times of crisis and beyond.

“The support of WCK and Kvarøy Arctic has helped us rebuild our farm even better than it was before the devastation of Hurricane Dorian,” said Coral Vita’s Halpern. “We've been able to scale our operations and increase the efficiency of our coral farming infrastructure to further benefit the reef ecosystem and community of the Bahamas.”

“We believe in the importance of supporting a diverse array of projects to benefit the health of our oceans and our communities globally,” said Kvarøy Arctic development director Jennifer Bushman in a press release.

“Aquaculture isn’t a well-known industry in the Caribbean and we believe our support through this WCK program will help grow the industry for the benefit of us all.”