Ex-Kingfish Maine manager welcomes former boss on board new company
Ohad Maiman, founder and former chief executive of Netherlands land-based fish farmer The Kingfish Company, has been appointed as chair of Pine Island Redfish, a company planning a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) facility in Pine Island, Florida.
Pine Island Redfish will farm red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus), a fish native to Florida, and was founded and is managed by Megan Sorby, who was previously operations manager for The Kingfish Company’s US subsidiary, Kingfish Maine.
“Pine Island Redfish meets the critical trifecta for a strong business case in land-based farming: a high value species, with limited local availability, and proven to be viable for RAS farming,” Maiman said in a press release.
“Having worked closely with Megan Sorby for over three years as she developed Kingfish Maine, I am confident of her exceptional managerial and problem-solving skills, and her ability to build Pine Island Redfish into a successful land-based farming company.”
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Sorby said working with the Kingfish Maine team had given her the opportunity to collaborate with, learn from, and work together with Maiman.
“His experience and unique perspective on the sector are a perfect match with the development and sustainable mission of Pine Island Redfish,” she added.
“We have the key pieces in place to be successful: a high value species limited in domestic supply, a fully permitted site with ongoing facility design, and an experienced operations and advisory group ready to execute. As chair of our board, Ohad will contribute his vast industry knowledge and experience through the upcoming growth phases of our company.”
Pine Island Redfish will be located on its island namesake in southwest Florida, situated on 150 acres. The RAS project is fully permitted by all relevant local, state, and federal agencies.
Maiman announced in October last year that he was stepping down as chief executive of The Kingfish Company. He has since formed investment project AquaFounders Capital with Thue Holm, co-founder and former chief technology officer of land-based salmon farmer Atlantic Sapphire.
Last month Maiman told We Are Aquaculture website that AquaFounders Captial had two focus areas: “Farm in a Box” - a modular, standardised RAS farm concept with its own advanced operating system - and a search for a land-based farm site for the development of new high-value species.
As well as Pine Island Redfish, Maiman is chair of Israeli company BioFishency Ltd, which develops, manufactures and markets disruptive electro-chemical and biological aquaculture water treatment solutions for RAS, and a board member of Nova Scotia company ReelData AI, which uses artificial intelligence to allow better efficiency, growth, and harm reduction of fish farmed in RAS.
Maiman’s former business, The Kingfish Company, expects to have increased annual production capacity at its premises in Zeeland to 3,500 tonnes by the end of this year. Although the company has consistently increased yield, it has not yet made a profit.
Kingfish Maine is fully permitted by local, state, and federal regulators to build an 8,500 tonnes per year RAS facility in Jonesport, Maine, and has established a broodstock facility at the Centre for Cooperative Aquaculture Research (CCAR) in Franklin, less than an hour’s drive from Jonesport.