October 16, 2020
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Organic shrimp production facility to create 512 jobs with $22 million in capital investment in Indian River County
FELLSMERE, Fla. – Today, Florida Organic Aquaculture, LLC, celebrated the grand opening of its new production and research facility in Fellsmere. The project, announced in 2013, is the largest closed-water, shrimp production facility in the country. The project will generate 512 direct and indirect jobs and $22 million in capital investment into Indian River County and the surrounding Treasure Coast region.
Governor Scott said, “The location of this production facility in Indian River County is great news, and will create 512 more jobs for Florida families. Since December 2010, Florida has created 563,900 private-sector jobs, and our unemployment rate remains below that national average. We must remain focused on creating an opportunity economy where companies like Florida Organic Aquaculture can be innovative and where every Floridian has the opportunity to get a great job.”
The production facility encompasses 180,000 sq. ft. or 4.13 acres—roughly the size of 3½ football fields. The shrimp are grown in an environmentally-safe, energy-efficient system and raised without any chemicals or preservatives. The fresh, never frozen shrimp are highly sought after by restaurants, charter shipping lines and grocery chains. Florida Organic Aquaculture (FOA) considered locating its facility in Croatia, Azores, Ecuador, Brazil, Texas and Alabama, but chose Indian River County because of the community’s available workforce and its access to consumer market for fresh shrimp.
“We are excited by the potential opportunities not only for employment but also for educational study in aquaculture. We are cultivating student internship programs, scientific field trips for school children, and community outreach for entrepreneurial endeavors,” said Clifford Morris, CEO/President of FOA. “Our collaboration with colleges and universities is profound. The economic impact that this project brings starts in Fellsmere, Florida, but will extend throughout the state and the country.”
FOA secured additional investment for the project after participating in the 2012 U.S.-China Investors Week. Enterprise Florida led the state’s participation in the event, in an effort to increase foreign direct investment (FDI) for Florida. FDI is extremely important to the Florida economy and Governor Scott’s job creation objectives for the state.According to the latest available data, more than 2,500 FDI establishments account for 236,000 jobs in Florida.
Florida’s aquaculture industry is a growing and diverse part of Florida’s agribusiness. Florida aquaculturists produce the greatest variety of aquatic species of any state in the nation. The country’s aquaculture sales during 2007 were more than $1.4 billion, with Florida ranking seventh in total sales. Edible, farm-raised aquatic products are the fastest-growing sector in world food production.
President and CEO of Enterprise Florida, Gray Swoope said, “Florida Organic Aquaculture’s new production facility will provide a huge investment for Indian River County. The state’s extensive aquaculture industry is known around the globe and this location will further bolster the state’s reputation. This facility in Fellsmere will add value to our food and hospitality industry, and I am excited for the company’s future in our state.”
The project would not have been possible without strong partnerships at the state and local levels. Partners that helped make the project successful include Enterprise Florida, the City of Fellsmere, Indian River County Board of County Commissioners, the Indian River County Chamber of Commerce, Florida Department of Transportation and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
“Florida Organic Aquaculture’s grand opening of their production and research facility in Fellsmere is an excellent example of what can be accomplished when state and local governments and the private sector work together to drive economic development. With an unemployment rate of 6.3 percent, more than 260,000 job openings, and 563,900 private-sector jobs created, Florida’s economy is resurgent and is outpacing national growth,” said Jesse Panuccio, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
Support from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) included an Economic Development Transportation Fund Grant, which is awarded to a local government on behalf of a business for public transportation improvements. The grant will be used to reduce transportation impediments and enable safe access to the production and research facility.
FDOT Secretary Ananth Prasad said, “Every day more and more companies are looking to expand in Florida thanks to the exceptional business climate Governor Scott has created. Today’s grand opening of Florida Organic Aquaculture’s new facility is a milestone moment for the company and for the region. The infrastructure investment made by FDOT allows the residents of Fellsmere to take full advantage of the new job opportunities by connecting the facility with our existing transportation system.”
Peter O’Bryan, Chairman of the Indian River County Commission stated, “Florida Organic Aquaculture has so many positive benefits to our entire county, including the jobs and capital investment made in Fellsmere, the global awareness of the economic opportunities in Indian River County, and as a catalyst for a natural gas pipeline expansion that will provide benefits to many local businesses and residents. This is truly a win all the way around.”
Jason Nunemaker, Fellsmere City Manager said, “The City of Fellsmere is excited to have FOA as a community partner that is creating job opportunities on the Treasure Coast and helping to create a sustainable food supply. The triple bottom line approach of the organization has had a tremendous positive impact throughout the community. We look forward to the grand opening as a harbinger of more great things to come.”
“We are thrilled to see this project come to fruition,” enthused Helene Caseltine, Economic Development Director with the Indian River Chamber of Commerce. “Florida Organic Aquaculture is a great catalyst for job creation and economic activity in Fellsmere and the entire region. The company has generated tremendous exposure for Fellsmere and our county, a perfect example of the success that can be achieved when business and government collaborate.”
Florida Organic Aquaculture LLC plans to grow delectable colossal-sized shrimp and oysters in the most scientifically advanced aquaculture facility ever built; one with yields ten times that of conventional shrimp production. Using a cutting edge combination of proven technologies, the plant will supply fresh, never frozen seafood to well establish distributors in Florida; one of the strongest seafood markets in the world.