Wednesday, July 20, 2016

20/07/2016: Aqua-Spark invests in Icelandic arctic char farm Matorka

Aqua-Spark, the first investment fund focused exclusively on sustainable aquaculture, today announced its first investments of 2016.
Launched in December 2013, Aqua-Spark’s mission is to make fish farming sustainable by investing in companies, technologies and practices that have the potential to transform this growing sector and, through a systematic approach, make sustainable farming as profitable as traditional industry.  Aqua-Spark’s latest investment sets the standard for how a fish farm can and should operate.
Matorka, Aqua-Spark’s newest investee, is an Icelandic Arctic char fish farm charted to be the most sustainable, cost-efficient, land-based salmonid farming operation in the world. (Salmonidae species are some of the world´s most-consumed: salmon, trout, chars, freshwater whitefishes, and graylings.)
Aqua-Spark has invested US$2.5 million in Matorka.  It was the lead investor of a recent US$5.5 million equity raise.
Matorka’s aim is simple: to produce the healthiest fish possible. They feed their fish a uniquely sustainable diet that’s absent of antibiotics, chemicals and growth hormones. The farm is carbon neutral, and uses clean, sustainable geothermal energy to power its operations.
A salmonid, Arctic char has beautiful red flesh (Image: Maggie)
“We’ve been interested in an Arctic Char investment since we launched, as we want to offer a sustainable alternative to salmon,” said Amy Novogratz, Aqua-Spark co-founder.
“Matorka stood out as the right partner for absolutely every reason: their access to and respect for Iceland’s natural resources, as well as their overall vision for healthy, ecological fish farming.”
Mike Velings, Aqua-Spark co-founder, continued, “The Matorka farm uses no antibiotics or chemicals, is powered by renewable energy, and makes a deliberate effort to protect the surrounding environment – all while producing a coveted fish. They should undoubtedly be seen as a standard-bearer for how to get fish farming right.”
With this investment, Matorka will be able to begin the first phase of construction of a new site in Grindavik, while updating their two current facilities, and bringing production volume to 1500 MT, with an eventual goal of 3200 MT.
Arctic char is a member of the salmon family, a fish that is rising in popularity. Not only a red-fleshed delicacy, it is also an extremely sustainable species with growing demand in an undersupplied market. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch recently named it a 'Best Choice' species for consumption.
“Our mission has been to build a state of the art farm and raise Arctic Char without harm to the surrounding environment,” said Árni Páll Einarsson, Matorka CEO.
“Aqua-Spark goes to great lengths to improve and transform the aquaculture industry, and an investment from them is also a sustainability stamp of approval. We couldn’t be more honoured or excited to grow with them – and set a new standard for fish farming.”
Learn more about Aqua-Spark HERE
Learn more about Matorka HERE.

The Aquaculturists
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