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Open Blue Sea Farms' Panama Acquisition Creates World`s Largest Open Ocean Aquaculture Operation

By Reuters

First Harvest of Free-Range Cobia in December 2009

NEW YORK & PANAMA CITY--(Business Wire)-- Open Blue Sea Farms, the leading practitioner of sustainable open ocean aquaculture, announced today an agreement to acquire the major assets of Pristine Oceans, forming the world`s largest open ocean aquaculture operation by year-end.

Since August 1, 2009, Open Blue has managed Pristine. It will consolidate assets into its own ocean sites. Both firms farm cobia in Panama because of the fish`s rapid growth rate, nutrition, rare taste and texture. Of the 43,000 stocked cobia, 10,000 are destined for the gourmet seafood market between December and April. Open Blue seeks an investment of $7M for further growth.

Most Pristine Oceans employees have been retained. In their new capacities, Pristine`s President, Jose Raul Arias, and General Manager, Richard Pretto Jr., will keep their titles.

"Our mission is healthy, great tasting seafood and protecting oceans," said Open Blue CEO Brian O`Hanlon. "Joining our vision and expertise with Pristine`s inventory of fish and personnel is a major step." Open Blue`s "free-range fish farming" combines the efficiencies of submerged nets with high growth, native fish species to decrease disease risk and cultivate a superior dining product.

Dale Sims, Chief Fishmonger at CleanFish, who sources and promotes top quality seafood that is safe and sustainable, commented, "Brian O`Hanlon really knows how to raise cobia and this acquisition will accelerate Open Blue`s growth. We look forward to seeing more Open Blue cobia in the market." Jim Gossen, President & CEO of Louisiana Foods Global Seafood Source, one of Texas` largest seafood distributors, noted, "Having sold previous cobia raised by Brian O`Hanlon, I am excited about distributing Open Blue. Its sustainable seafood is perfect for our premium restaurants and retailers."

Mr. Arias said, "The combination of Pristine's assets and team with Open Blue`s proven business creates a modern fish farming leader in the Western Hemisphere."

Pristine Oceans S.A. was founded by Panamanian investors with personnel who have built a highly competent ocean farming team and a potentially valuable stock of cobia.

Open Blue Sea Farms pioneered environmentally sustainable "free-range" open ocean aquaculture that is profitable and scalable. The method results from a decade of research pilot projects in Puerto Rico alongside leading academics. It produces sashimi-quality fish that is high in protein, rich in omega-3s and mercury free. Widespread sales to top distributors and restaurants in the US will continue, as partnerships with nonprofit organizations will give seafood to under-nourished communities.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available:

Open Blue Sea Farms
Michael Albert,
[email protected]

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