Royal DSM N.V. presented The Cape Eleuthera Institute (CEI) with a cheque for $70,000 to further research for offshore aquaculture. DSM and CEI are collaborating to demonstrate that raising fish in an offshore cage within The Bahamas and other warm-water locales is possible and can be done with assured success and in a sustainable manner. This support demonstrates DSM’s commitment to sustainability and feeding the world’s poplulation.

DSM Dyneema and CEI have been working in partnership since 2009 to find improved predation controls for warm-water aquaculture. Although netting with Dyneema® is already being used, all parties felt the need to improve existing solutions. These funds, in conjunction with in-kind donations from NET Systems, Inc. of Bainbridge Island, WA are being used to design and test new ultra abrasion resistant netting materials that will be used to manufacture enhanced shark-resistant fish cages. This is the first corporate sponsorship CEI has received. CEI promotes conservation of tropical and coastal ecosystems throughout The Bahamas and greater Caribbean by facilitating research, supporting education of all levels, and promoting outreach to enhance the conservation awareness of local communities.

Ken Robertson of DSM Dyneema reports that “Warm-water aquaculture is particularly susceptible to predation, largely from sharks who are notorious for damaging offshore cages and netting. DSM and NET Systems have been developing revolutionary new shark-resistant netting materials and with CEI are in the final stages of testing a material that will be used to facilitate a full-scale grow out in an offshore cage.”

“Going forward, we will be constructing a new net made out of this tested material and intend to run a full-scale grow out. Our continued partnership with University of Miami Rosenstiel Experimental Hatchery, materials technology partners and health and nutritional experts in the corporate realm give us this opportunity to further demonstrate the viability of warm-water, open ocean cage aquaculture,” said Geoff Walton of CEI.

The mission of CEI’s offshore aquaculture program aims to demonstrate that fish can be locally raised within The Bahamas from egg to harvest size, while finding feeds that utilize lower concentrations of fishmeal and demonstrate higher feed conversion rates, all while mitigating any negative environmental impacts. The ultimate goal is to reduce fishing pressure on wild stocks. Cobia has been selected as the first species of fish to grow out with plans eventually moving onto pompano, jacks, and other local stocks.

Royal DSM N.V. is a global science-based company active in health, nutrition and materials. DSM delivers innovative solutions that nourish, protect, and improve performance in global markets such as food and dietary supplements, personal care, feed, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, automotive, paints, electrical and electronics, life protection, alternative energy, and bio-based materials. NET Systems, Inc. is an innovative global leader in the design and manufacturing of netting materials, including Ultra Cross Netting, which is supplied to the aquaculture and fishing industries worldwide.