Urchinomics and Maruyama Suisan launch sea urchin ranching site in Japan

Responsible Seafood Advocate

Collaboration with Maruyama Suisan aims to sell product by January

sea urchin
Sea urchin aquaculture venture Urchinomics has opened an urchin-ranching site in Nagato, Japan, in partnership with seafood processor Maruyama Suisan.

Kelp restoration and sea urchin aquaculture venture Urchinomics has opened a sea urchin ranching site in Nagato, Japan, in partnership with seafood processor Maruyama Suisan.

The 35-ton commercial sea urchin ranch will be selling product as soon as January 2023. The now-operational site includes 200 raceways using a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS).

Brian Tsuyoshi Takeda, CEO and Founder of Urchinomics, met Mr. Shinta Yamada, CEO of Maruyama Suisan at the Seafood Show in Osaka in 2020 and entered a collaborative agreement which resulted in ranching sea urchin trials with a flow-through system in 2021.

“We are incredibly excited by the speed and quality of products soon to be brought to market. This launch further proves the viability of our business model,” said Takeda. “Although both Urchinomics and Maruyama Suisan invested in the venture, it was supported by visionary partners including Norinchukin and Hagi Yamaguchi Shinkin Bank who provided bank financing to the Nagato operations.”

A launch ceremony was held on Wednesday in Nagato with guests including existing and potential investors, representatives of the Norwegian embassy, the mayor of Nagato City, the National Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations, as well as local fishers and restaurant owners.

Can ranching ‘zombie urchins’ boost uni, save kelp forests?

Urchinomics and its Japanese subsidiary Uninomics K.K. aim to turn ecologically destructive sea urchins into high-value seafood products. The process helps restore kelp forests, which in turn supports greater marine biomass, biodiversity and the capacity to sequester atmospheric carbon dioxide, while creating employment opportunities in rural, coastal communities.

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