Every now and then in the seafood industry you meet individuals doing amazing things, breaking the norm and just oozing with passion to towards their job. Well in this case, its not just one person but a whole operation. Blue Ocean Mariculture operate an ocean cage farm off the coast of Kona Island, Hawaii. They're farming Almaco jack (Seriola rivoliana), a fast growing amberjack that can grow from egg to 8 lb in as little as 18 months. The brand they're marketing this fish under is 'Hawaiian Kanpachi', and it just makes us glow with aloha each week we work with it !
I first heard about this operation when reading Paul Greenberg's Four Fishwhere he discusses the revolutionary offshore cages these fish are reared in and the ability for these fish to be fed very close to the 'holy grail' of aquaculture... requiring less than a pound of feed per pound of flesh, "a potential net gain of marine protein."
But its not just the technology that inspires us to to work with Hawaiian Kanpachi in Canada, its the marine stewardship that the company and its staff uphold. For example, the farming operation conducts studies on the seafloor to ensure the ocean floor and surrounding area under the cages isn't changing from the farms operation and concentration of fish activity in the area. A cautious approach to where the anchors for the cage are placed is done by conducting studies beforehand and working with local authorities to ensure this is all done properly. Then there is the cage itself, a huge vertically shaped cage that extends 100 ft into the deep open ocean giving the fish plenty of room to swim in the low density environment. There is also the material the cage is made out of, copper mesh placed in strategic positions to ensure sea turtles dont get caught up. Instead they bounce off and continue in their journey.
If you've been to Hawaii then you'll be aware of the warmth and respect the Hawaiians have for their ocean. This is at the foundation of this company. The Hawaiian Kanpachi operation literally breathes ocean respect and is witnessed in the video made by the Global Aquaculture Alliance ( see here ).
Then there is the fish itself. Known as Kahala in Hawaii, the Almaco jack was usually discarded as it was dangerous to eat because of what it ate in the wild on the reef. But when farmed offshore away from the reef and under a controlled diet, Almaco Jack are safe to eat and one of the most delicious white fish you can eat. Its similar to other farmed Amberjacks like Hamachi but far cleaner in flavour. I'd easily say its the cleanest tasting farmed fish l've ever eaten. Sushi chefs in Canada when asked why they choose Hawaiian Kanpachi over other farmed Amberjacks from Japan or Mexico ( Hamachi, Kampachi ) say that the firmness and clean taste that Hawaiian Kanpachi offers makes it an easy choice and then their is the transparency and marine stewardship of the company behind it ..well thats the icing on the cake !
Check out Hawaiian Kanpachi at one of these places in Canada. If not listed below then drop us a line.
Vancouver: Nightingale, Temaki Sushi, Boulevard, Guu, True World Foods
Calgary: Shokunin, Meta4 Foods
Edmonton: Effing Seafoods
Toronto: Hooked, Newport Seafood, True World Foods, Kasa Moto, Mira, Byblos, Bar Raval
Ottawa: Whalesbone, Atelier, Fauna