Continental Organics U.S Tilapia Farm Files for Bankruptcy

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“Over 80% of the seafood consumed in the United States is imported. Although the U.S. aquaculture industry is growing, it still only supplies about 10% of local demand. Given this reality, it was with great fanfare that Continental Organics, an aquafarm based in New Windsor, New York began operation in 2011. Continental Organics had hopes of taking advantage of the growing “farm to table” movement where consumers are willing to pay a premium price for locally grown, high-quality produce.

The farm uses a water recirculating system that provides an 110,000-pound capacity for raising tilapia. The plan was to supply the Hudson Valley and local New York area with fresh, organic fish and greens year round. The video gives an overview of the farm.

Flash forward four years, and unfortunately Continental Organics has filed for bankruptcy. This is despite an initial investment of $13 million, including $3 million in funds invested by Continental Organic’s CEO Michael Finnigan. This is quite sobering news, especially for those looking at the potential for aquaculture to help meet U.S. food needs.

So what went wrong? Continental Organics was never able to meet its employment and production goals. Plans called for 116 permanent jobs, but there only 18 employees in 2015. Likewise, tilapia production was only 15% of the planned target. Apparently there were difficulties with system design and expenses, such as heating costs to warm the greenhouses in the temperate environment, contributed to unsustainable operations.”

Taken from 2/10/2016