Hawai‘i’s first Aquaculture Accelerator Gets Going in August

A cohort will start on the Big Island then travel the world to expand its businesses.
Seahorses at Ocean Rider Farm in Kailua Kona
ocean rider, a seahorse farm, is one of the aquaculture companies at the hawai‘i ocean science and technology park in kailua-kona. Soon, members of the first aquaculture accelerator in hawai‘i will be working there as well.
photo: courtesy of friends of natural energy of hawai‘i authority


On Aug. 26, about a dozen companies will meet for the first time in Kona. The cohort will be the first in the state’s pilot aquaculture accelerator, aimed at encouraging sustainable new technologies for the industry. The program will be run by Hatch, a Norway-based accelerator started in 2017; it launched its first cohort last year. Its current portfolio includes startups that monitor water quality for shrimp farmers, are working on growing fish cells in a laboratory for consumption, promote industrial production of microalgae and use technology to prevent sea lice issues in salmon.


Hawai‘i’s accelerator will be based at the Hawai‘i Ocean Science and Technology Park in Kailua-Kona. The facility run by the Natural Energy of Hawai‘i Authority pipes in deep-sea and surface-sea water for aquaculture companies there, including Big Island Abalone, Kampachi Farms, Kona Cold Lobsters, seahorse farm Ocean Rider, Mera Pharmaceuticals and 40 others. The cohort will spend the first five weeks there, before traveling to Bergen, Norway, for 10 days, then Singapore for the final month. The state has committed to three years of the accelerator as a way to not only encourage more sustainable businesses, but also to highlight Hawai‘i’s unique offerings for companies from around the world.


hatch’s promotional video.


Aquaculture is a growing industry in Hawai‘i. Algae and other aquaculture products are listed fifth and sixth among the state’s top commodities. (Seed crops are No. 1.) And broodstock shrimp that are used to breed the shellfish at farms around the world are the state’s No. 1 export, increasing 43% in worth from 2016 ($13 million) to 2017 ($19 million). Abalone, ornamental fish and algae are also among Hawai‘i’s top 20 exports.


Hatch is expected to announce its new cohort in August. We’ll update this story when it happens.


Read more about Hatch’s Hawai‘i aquaculture accelerator on hatch.blue.