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Blue Star to expand crab RAS operations in South Carolina

July 5, 2023  By  Nestor Arellano

A 3D rendering of the blue crab commercial facility (Photo: Blue Star Foods Corp.)

Miami-based seafood producer Blue Star Foods Corp. is working with the South Carolina Department of Commerce to expand the company’s crab recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) operation in the state.

The company said its expansion plans were made possible when it recently granted an option to purchase land in Beaufort County, South Carolina for its RAS facility. The land has 9.47 acres, which can accommodate up to a 100,000-square-foot building. An approximate investment of US$11,410,000 in real property will be used to construct the new facility.

“We are thrilled to partner with Beaufort County, South Carolina in expanding our softshell crab RAS shedding operations, processing & cold storage facility,” said John Keeler, chairman and chief executive of Blue Star Foods. “Our Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) financing will kick-off once we execute our agreement with Beaufort County, and along with $3 million in incentives, will enable us to access less dilutive capital in order to purchase the land and build our facility.” He said the project will create 48 new jobs over the next three years.


Atlantic blue crab is going to be the main source of crabs to support the facility production. Blue Star aims to raise 3.5 million crabs per year.

In April this year, Blue Star reported $12.8 million in revenue for 2022 but also said its plans for RAS expansion is taking longer than previously planned. In 2021, the company also purchased Canadian RAS pioneer, Taste of BC Aquafarms Inc.

A press release from Blue Star said the company is working with the South Carolina Department of Commerce on economic development and incentives specific to the crab project in Beaufort County. The company is reviewing the incentive summary with the proposed tax breaks, abatements and other incentives offered for the project in order to finalize the capital needed to build the facility. Preliminary proposals from South Carolina are offering up to $3 million in incentives.

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