Fish Farming of the Future, by Deborah Brennan

Originally posted on 02/11/2016, by Amanda M. Benson

This is a repost of the San Diego Union Tribune article, by Deborah Brennan, that came out Jan. 30, 2016. "Fish farming of the future"


Fish Farming of the Future, by Deborah Brennan

"For many U.S. consumers, the need for safe, sustainable food is a personal priority. For investor Kim Forssell, it’s a business opportunity.

Forssell, CEO and chairman of Swedish-based Net Zero Enterprises, is developing means of growing shrimp and other foods entirely indoors, in climate-controlled, “closed loop” operations that minimize water use, waste streams and carbon emissions.

In tanks at its 100,000-square-foot warehouse in Encinitas, the company is producing organic Pacific white tiger jumbo shrimp entirely indoors. Forssell said this high-tech seafood will be healthier and more sustainable than imported varieties.

Shrimp is a popular seafood that makes up a $7.5 billion market in the U.S., according to the company, which plans to roll out its seafood in about six months to Whole Foods and other retail stores.

The company is also growing organic leafy greens and herbs within a similar warehouse system.

It may sound like farming of the future, but Forssell, 39, of Rancho Santa Fe, said it’s in production now. For Forssell, who grew up in the United States and in Sweden, it’s a natural combination of Swedish technology and American capital. 


Joakim Forssell, founder & CEO

Joakim Forssell, founder & CEO


Q&As

Q: Please tell us about your background in business.

A: I’m a serial entrepreneur, investor and executive leader with broad international experience. I’ve learned to successfully identify and secure new business opportunities and have become an expert in building and scaling companies. 

Q: Please tell us about your shrimp farming project?

A: We have a proven solution that farms organic and non-GMO (genetically modified organism) shrimp in an indoor system that is self-sustaining in terms of energy and water and emits no waste. 

Q: Please tell us about other foods you produce, including greens.

A: We are involved in developing greens in vertical farming systems that are also self-sustaining and consume very low amounts of water. We do this indoors and without any dependency on weather, seasons or the sun. We also develop fin fish solutions and are able to produce multiple species of fish in a controlled indoor environment. All of our farming solutions are organic and non-GMO. 

Q: Producing fish and vegetables indoors seems counterintuitive; how do you turn farming into an indoor enterprise?

A: We have engineered our solutions to be self-sustaining and therefore also independent of weather, seasons, sun exposure, etc. By farming indoors, we achieve a much cleaner and purer product, while being able to emit no waste, have a very low consumption of water and are self-sufficient in terms of energy. We also manage to produce these products at a much lower cost, compared to other farming methods. 

Q: What is the next big step for your Net Zero Enterprises?

A: The next step for Net Zero Enterprises is to get a bigger footprint and exposure in the U.S. market. We have multiple innovative technologies and solutions that we are ready to deploy in the U.S. market. These projects are also “shovel ready,” which means they are ready to be built out and have all the necessary purchase agreements in place, insurances for establishment and fixed price contracts for establishment.

Q: How does your project fit in with mandates to conserve water and energy?

A: We are way ahead of the current mandates and our projects are truly “net zero,” which means we are carbon neutral or negative and self-sufficient in terms of energy, waste and water. This is a key priority for the company. 

Q: How does the U.S. business climate for startups like yours differ from that in Europe?

A: In a sense, we have to start from scratch in terms of building recognition because the recognition and success we’ve built in Europe doesn’t really carry over to the U.S. Markets in the U.S. don’t necessarily see projects and solutions deployed in Europe as proven. Solutions have to be deployed on U.S. soil in order to be recognized. However, there is much more access to capital here in the U.S. compared to Europe, or any other place we have done business in. 

Q: What is your favorite way to prepare shrimp?

A: I love my shrimp cooked rare, slightly grilled. 

Q: What’s the best advice you ever received?

A: That good enough is usually good enough.

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to find out about you?

A: I am a scratch golfer and an even better downhill skier.

Q: Please describe your ideal San Diego weekend.

A: My ideal weekend involves spending time with the family, going to the beach and a round of golf."

deborah.brennan@sduniontribune.com Twitter:@UTFeatures

 

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