About Us

Our Story

Ideal Fish was formed in 2013 with the sole purpose of providing American consumers with a locally produced, fully sustainable, transparent, high quality fish that is free from any hormones, antibiotics or chemicals. All produced in a facility and environment that adheres to the most sustainable aquaculture methods available on our planet today. These are the core ideals upon which this company was founded. Our long-term goal is to produce several different species of fish that achieve the highest possible standards of quality.

We began our research by looking for a fish that was rapidly increasing in popularity here, but not currently being raised in this country nor caught in the wild in US waters. It had to be a fish that is high in nutritional content and is very desirable to the culinary world. We decided on the Mediterranean Sea Bass, also known as Branzino.

Raising this fish in a recirculating aquaculture system (“RAS”), a land based system that cleans and recirculates water in which the fish grow, provides the most environmentally sustainable method of raising fish available today. The location of our 63,000 sq. ft. facility at repurposed manufacturing site in Waterbury, CT allows us to sell our fish as a local product right in the middle of the largest seafood market in the United States. And because our system recovers virtually all waste by-products of fish cultivation we can use these materials to grow vegetables and other fresh produce in our indoor aquaponics system.

Our facility is a sparkling example of a state-of-the-art aquaculture center – the only commercial scale facility in the United States growing Branzino and one of only a few RAS facilities in the world that raises ocean-going fish in saltwater. Coupling this saltwater system with a fresh water aquaponics system represents a game changing innovation that we believe will influence the future course of aquaculture and aquaponics in this country. We invite you to come by and see all the innovative things we are doing to bring fresh seafood production back to the United States.

We believe that quality and security of seafood available in the US today leave much to be improved. American’s should be able to enjoy higher quality fish that comes from a safer, traceable and sustainable seafood production system in this country. This includes responsible wild-catch fisheries as well as many forms of well-managed pond and lagoon, ocean cage and RAS aquaculture. Through future expansion into new markets and the addition of numerous seafood species to our product line, Ideal Fish plans to play a significant role in the development of a robust, sustainable aquaculture industry in the United States.

IN SUMMARY

Farmed fish production will need to increase 130% by 2050 in order to meet projected worldwide demand. Aquaculture is no longer just an option but is now a necessity. We need to find ways to grow fish that is sustainable, long term, both to our environment and to our health. In addition, todays’ consumer is becoming more concerned about the provenance, sustainability, freshness and quality of the seafood they buy. At last there is a company that delivers on both of these requirements. That company is Ideal Fish.

Hormone Free - Antibiotic Free - Artisanal - Local

The Problem

1. IMPORTS CAN BE TOXIC

The US imports nearly 90% of the seafood consumed in this country. Less than 2% of these imports is inspected by the FDA and a significant amount of what is tested at the border is returned due to the detection of antibiotics and other chemical additives that are illegal for food use in the US.

3. IMPACTS ON THE ENVIRONMENT

Commercial fishing and poorly managed fish farming operations can be seriously injurious to the environment, depleting wild fish stocks, ocean resources and causing pollution and pathogen contamination to aquatic habitats.

2. A LACK OF FRESHNESS

Fish that have been farmed or caught abroad travel thousands of miles before entering the United States and then travel thousands more food miles before reaching the retailer or restaurant/food service provider. Even wild fish caught in US territorial waters are often one to two weeks old by the time they are landed at the dock. In each case the fish enter a convoluted and inefficient seafood distribution system in this country, adding more miles and significant cost while substantially diminishing the quality and shelf life.

4. COUNTERFEIT FOOD

Worldwide, the estimated value of counterfeit food on the market exceeds $49 billion. The top three offenders are: Seafood, Olive Oil and Honey. As a result of poor transparency and traceability customers are frequently served mislabeled fish or shellfish – in some cases, as often as 33% of the time (Oceana Study, February 2013).

Our Solution

What if we could produce fish in a way that was part of the solution? A fish that addressed the environmental and social problem that have plagued the seafood industry for decades. A fish that could be grown anywhere in the world (even where there is a limited water supply) in a self-contained, 100% controlled, clean environment with no negative influence from the outside.

Welcome to Ideal Fish and our solution. We believe that recirculating aquaculture systems (“RAS”) offers the Ideal Solution to the global, negative issues surrounding farmed fish. RAS also addresses the critical responsibility of raising enough fish, in a sustainable way, to both feed the growing population and to protect our environment not just for today but well into the future.

IDEAL PROVENANCE

  • All of our fish are individually gill tagged.
  • Each tag contains information, through a QR code, of every step the fish took along the way from fingerling to harvest in order to insure 100% 
 accountability, traceability and transparency.

IDEAL CARE

  • From placement in our quarantine when our fingerlings just arrive from Europe to our nursery and then to the grow out phase our fish are handled like royalty.
  • No Hormones are introduced into their environment.
  • The fish are free of antibiotics and other chemotherapeutics.
  • 100% chemically-free raised fish.

IDEAL ENVIRONMENT

  • Low water requirement. RAS allows us to re-use over 90% of the water
  • 100% temperature and light control 365 days a year to promote the best possible environment for proper growth and a superior quality fish.
  • Fully optimized water conditions result in a low-
stress environment with a minimal carbon foot print

IDEAL STANDARDS

  • Rated “Best Choice” by the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch Program
  • BAP Certification in process
  • 100% traceable from egg to plate with complete transparency throughout the whole process.

IDEAL SOLUTION

  • The most sustainably raised fish on the planet today.
  • Our facility has a minimal impact on the environment and is able to be located anywhere. There is zero influence from the outside environment affecting the fish.
  • Waste products from fish production are recovered and used to grow healthy, leafy greens, salad blends and other vegetables.
  • Hormone, Antibiotic and 100% Chemical Free.
  • A Local American company proud to be employing Local American workers.
  • Our fish are harvested and are able to be in the kitchen or a retail store within 24 hours of harvest. (100-mile radius from Waterbury)
  • Our fish are 100% Traceable and Transparent through a QR code located on each gill tag.

In summary, local RAS Farming is the Ideal Solution to the global issues surrounding seafood supply. It also addresses the critical responsibility of raising enough fish in a sustainable way to both feed the growing population and to protect our environment not just for today but well into the future.

Farm to Fork In 24 Hours. Ideal Fish Can deliver fish fresher and in less time

Our Fish

ORIGIN

The European Sea Bass (Dicentrarchus Labrax) is a classic European Fish prized among the Mediterranean countries and farmed in the same sea. Branzino is considered by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization as the most important commercial fish widely cultured in the Mediterranean. Virtually all of the Branzino available in the US comes from Open Ocean Cage farms in the Mediterranean region, primarily Greece and Turkey.

FARMING METHOD

All of the farmed Branzino in Europe are raised in open ocean pens in the Mediterranean. Over 13 million pounds of fresh Branzino was imported into the USA in 2017, mostly from Greece and Turkey. Ideal Fish is proud to be the only producer of Branzino in the USA eradicating the carbon footprint, food miles and creating US jobs.

NAME

Known as Loup de Mer (wolf of the sea) in France. In Germany, it goes by Europaischer Wolfsbarsch. In Spain it is called Lubina or Robalo and in Greek, Hebrew and Turkish the names Lavraki, Lavrak and Levrek refer to the same fish respectively. In Italy, you will see this fish called Branzino in Northern Italy and Spigola is used in peninsula Italy. Ragno in Tuscany and Pesce Lupo elsewhere. Here in the USA we know the fish as Branzino or Branzini (plural).

TASTE

The fish has a light, delicate flavor and a meaty texture making it great for grilling, broiling and sashimi. The skin is crispy and flavorful adding a smoky note to the overall gastronomic experience. Served as either a whole fish or fillet, Branzino is found in numerous menus and kitchens across the country.

NUTRITION

Branzino is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein and the antioxidant selenium.

Our Team

ERIC PEDERSEN

President & CEO

Eric is the President and founder of Ideal Fish. Prior to forming the Company, Eric spent many years researching the seafood and aquaculture industries both in the US and abroad, working to develop solutions to the challenges faced by the aquaculture industry in the US. Prior to founding the Company in 2013, Eric lead several venture stage companies focused on developing disruptive water filtration products and systems for industrial markets. He began his career on Wall Street, working for many years in the investment banking division of Dillon Read & Co. Inc. before forming his own private banking firm that focused on providing financial advisory services to industrial companies, particularly those in the water and environmental services sectors. Eric received an MBA from The Wharton Graduate School of Business in 1987 and was graduated from Princeton University with a BA degree in 1982.

Tel: 203 527-7777
Cell: 203 598-8364
E-mail: E.Pedersen@IdealFish.com


Joe McElwee

Facility Manager

Joe has been involved in the Aquaculture Industry for over 35 years, having farmed fish from all life-stages in both Freshwater and Marine Facilities, ranging from hatcheries to Off-Shore Bridgestone cages. A native of Ireland, Joe has been involved in the Salmon Industry on a global basis, having cultured fish in Ireland, Canada, USA. Joe has 3+ decades of broad-based Aquaculture experience in RAS, Flow-through and Marine Site Operations, from operator through senior management levels and he has been involved in the rearing of Brood-stock through to harvest for a variety of species, including Salmon, Trout, Turbot, Halibut, and Cod, in both land-based RAS and flow-through systems as well as ocean net pen systems. Joe managed the development and successful entry of Pentair Aquatic Eco-Systems into the international Aquaculture RAS markets in USA/Canada, Chile, Australia, New Zealand. Joe holds an MBA Open Business University of Ireland, and a Diploma & Certificate in Aquaculture from the Galway Institute of Technology.

Tel: 203 527-7777
Cell: 765 744-3210
E-Mail: J.McElwee@IdealFish.com


JAMES MACKNIGHT

Sales & Marketing Director

James has been involved within the seafood industry for over 30 years. In 1987 he founded Macknight, Inc a producer of high quality smoked salmon which was sold primarily through an extensive network of distributors. In 2004 he founded River & Glen whose main focus was the sourcing and distribution of high quality sustainable seafood which was sold to the top restaurants and retail stores on the East Coast. Several of his regular customers ranked in the top 20 restaurants in North America. James has been a conference speaker at the Seafood Expo Show in Boston and has extensive experience in the areas of sustainability, transparency and traceability as well as a proven track record of positioning and creating a strong, high value brand within a crowded marketplace.

Tel: 203 527-7777
Cell: 267 247-2765
E-Mail: J.MacKnight@IdealFish.com


MATTHEW LEEGWATER

Senior Aquaculture Technician

Matt joined Ideal Fish after having been employed at Australis Aquaculture in Turners Falls, MA where he gained a substantial amount of experience with large scale commercial recirculating aquaculture operations.  At Australis, he rose in just a few years from being a Fish Technician to managing the grow-out operations for two, 400,000-gallon recirculating systems that cultivated barramundi. Matt was graduated from the University of Maine at Machias with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and a concentration in Fisheries.

Tel: 203 527-7777
Cell: 201 280-1610
E-Mail: M.Leegwater@IdealFish.com


JESSICA MCQUIRE

Aquaculture Technician

A native of Waterbury, CT, Jessica joined Ideal Fish in 2016 and brings a long-time passion for fish and fisheries to her work at Ideal Fish. Previously, Jessica worked the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (“NOAA”) as Marine Fisheries observer, where she routinely went out to sea on commercial fishing vessels and collected data on by-catch species and levels. Jessica was graduated from Roger Williams University where she majored in marine biology and minored in Aquaculture and Aquarium Science.

Tel: 203 527-7777
Cell: 203 565-4526
E-Mail: J.McGuire@IdealFish.com

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