RASTECH Magazine

Pacifico Aquaculture taps Billund to build first striped bass RAS hatchery in Mexico

December 14, 2023  By RAStech staff

Per-Roar Gjerde, CEO of Pacifico Aquaculture and Bjarne Hald Olsen, CSO of Billund Aquaculture. (Photo: Billund Aquaculture)

Mexican company, Pacifico Aquaculture has contracted Billund Aquaculture to design and implement a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) project for its new land-based hatchery and nursery for striped bass at scale.

According to a press release by Billund Aquaculture, the facility which will be the first in the world to produce striped bass, will be built in the Ensenada Bay area of Baja California, Mexico, in early January 2024 and be in full operation by the end of 2025.

Per-Roar Gjerde, chief executive officer of Pacifico Aquaculture, said the company is happy to be in this partnership with Billund.


“This is the before and after for Pacifico Aquaculture in its growth as a company and in a start of creating a new industry in Baja California Mexico. This project will allow us to build a state-of-the-art hatchery and nursery facility and unlock 20,000 metric tons of annual production capacity to meet the world’s growing demand for healthy, nutritious seafood,” Gjerde said. 

Striped bass (Morone saxatilis) is a versatile fish, known on the east coast of the US as a sport fish and for seasonal wild commercial fishing from Virginia to Maine. Although there have been several experiences worldwide of farming hybrid striped bass (Morone chrysops + M. saxatilis) in freshwater RAS, this will be a first for striped bass. 

The project consists of a production capacity of eight million 80-gram fish per year. With a total surface area of 9,250 m2 (~2.29 acres) which will include 17 independent intensive-RAS units, based on fix-bed biofilter technology, and contain 10 broodstock systems, two larval systems, two weaning systems and three nursery systems.

The produced 80g juveniles will subsequently be transferred to the company’s grow-out sites, located about 20km from the coast of the Pacific Ocean.

Marcelo Varela, chief executive officer of Billund Aquaculture Chile, said it’s an important project for Billund Aquaculture because “it represents a major step towards diversifying the number of species farmed using RAS.”

Varela said Mexico is a completely new market for Billund and has huge potential because of the diversity of new species that can be farmed, and due to its proximity to the United States. 

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