Ohad Maiman trotse winnaar van de overall Innovation Award 2018
Ohad Maiman trotse winnaar van de overall Innovation Award 2018

horecava 2018: kingfish zeeland wint overall Innovation Award en categorie food & beverage

De overall winnaar van de Horecava Innovation Award 2018 is Kingfish Zeeland geworden. Dit bedrijf wordt mogelijk een belangrijke 'game changer' in de wereld van de kweekvisserij. Duurzaam en op land gekweekte topvis zonder antibiotica of chemicaliën. Het biedt een mooi en smakelijk alternatief voor overbeviste soorten zoals de blauwvintonijn en zwaardvis. Daarbij wordt ook gewerkt met 100% groene energie en vindt de kweek plaats in gezuiverd Oosterscheldewater, dat na gebruik weer gezuiverd wordt teruggegeven. Op de stand van horecagroothandel de Kweker namen we een sashimi en gerookte bite van de Pure Pacific Yellowtail. Dit is de kweekvis waar het om gaat. En passant raakte we ook in gesprek met Ohad Maiman, de CEO van deze Nederlandse onderneming gevestigd in Zeeland. Lees hier het interview in het Engels...

What crossed your mind when you were asked to come on stage to receive the overall Award?

Beyond the excitement of getting on stage, it was a very important acknowledgment of the efforts and costs we put into pursuing the highest level of sustainability and quality, which will only make sense if the market appreciates it.

The jury was very positive about the concept and sustainability features, what makes this business unique?

We have made a strategic decision to raise the bar on sustainability and quality; from using 100% renewable green energy, to feeding our fish Organic feed, and unlike most Aquaculture operations, we do not use antibiotics or vaccines.

We have noticed the Dutch Rabobank is also financially involved, how was this bank convinced to join this enterprise?

The Rabobank is indeed a pioneer, and very few other banks would even consider involvement in this sector. It was a visionary view of the bank on RAS offering to Aquaculture, what the greenhouse technology did for Agriculture that compelled to participate. We are very grateful to have Rabobank as our financing partner.

Recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) has not always been successful, what makes you think Kingfish Zeeland will succeed?

The starting point for me to feel confident going into this business, was meeting my current business partner Kees Kloet. With over 30 years of experience in RAS farming, Kees is a pioneer in the field, and the first farmer to figure out the highly demanding needs of the Yellowtail Kingfish. Further, we have invested in an unparalleled system capacity as far as filtration and high exchange rate, contributing to fish welfare and enabling us to provide optimal conditions and also a healthy environment for our fish. A third criteria was the choice of species. Since RAS technology demands high levels of investment, we could only start with a premium fish to justify the production costs. However, I believe that this is just the start, and borrowing a page off the Tesla playbook. This is our "model S" and over time we should be able to develop further mid market species.

your primary focus is fine dining services and high end food retailers, what was the feedback after the first batches were delivered?

The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive! Top chef organizations such as the Jeunes Restaurateurs endorsing us as a preferred producer, and the Good Fish Foundation recommending us as a Green Choice.

Would it be realistic to upscale the farming process for wholesale needs as a replacement of the worldwide threatened tuna?

Not sure I understand the question. Tuna has not been successfully raised in RAS to date, but we are keeping a close eye on developments in that direction. And as far as volumes and prices of our Yellowtail, we do expect it to remain a premium fish for high end use, but we will be looking to diversify to other mid market species as our production protocols truly advance in cost and efficiency.

What are your plans with Kingfish Zeeland for the near future?

By late 2018 we will internally evaluate expansion plans, both in the Netherlands where our current site enables expanding from 600 ton per year to 4.000 ton per year as well as consider developing a US operation.  Over time, additional species will be considered as well.

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