HSWRI: Rose Canyon Fisheries Paves the Way for Sustainable Ocean Farming off San Diego

Courtesy of the HSWRI Aquaculture Program Research Report, a publication of Hubbs SeaWorld Research Institute:

HSWRI has formed a business relationship with Cuna del Mar (CdM), a private equity fund dedicated to developing sustainable aquaculture, to incorporate Rose Canyon Fisheries, Inc. (RCF).  RCF will permit, establish and operate a commercial-scale fish farm off the coast of San Diego, CA.  This will be the first finfish farming operation in U.S. federal waters.  The RCF collaboration is dedicated to fulfilling a major void in our Nation’s seafood industry – a reliable, sustainable, domestic source of healthy, premium fish, grown with care in a clean, natural and regulated environment.

This project is being driven by the growing global demand for healthful seafood and a lack of domestic production.  Traditional harvest fisheries cannot meet this increasing demand.  The U.S. farms only 2.5% of its total seafood and catches only 6.5% leaving 91% of our supply to be imported thereby contributing over $11 billion to our annual trade deficit.  Approximately half of the seafood we import comes from aquaculture in foreign countries.

The proposed project will eventually produce 5,000 metric tons (MT) of yellowtail jack, white seabass and striped bass annually in sea cages that will be located 4.5 miles (7.2 kilometers) from the San Diego shoreline.  These are common species in coastal waters of California.

The proposed location was sited to meet multiple requirements and avoid conflicting uses and protected habitats.  The site is in deep, clean, temperate, water with good current flow over a sandy bottom.  This farm will support the existing seafood industry by creating new industry jobs and opportunities for commercial fishermen, and it will help ensure that the existing infrastructure for fish processing and distribution has a viable future.  The consumer will benefit from a year-round supply of high quality seafood that is safe and healthful.  The wild fisheries will benefit as a supplemental supply of high quality farmed fish will take pressure off wild fisheries.



This document reports on aquaculture research projects supported by numerous grants, contracts and private contributions.  It also represents the hard work of many dedicated staff and volunteers throughout southern California, as well as collaborators around the country.  This information was contributed by HSWRI staff and compiled by Senior Research Scientist and HSWRI Aquaculture Program Director Mark Drawbridge.

The aquaculture research program has been active for more than 35 years at HSWRI. The primary objective of this program is to evaluate the feasibility of culturing marine organisms to replenish ocean resources through stocking, and to supply consumers with a direct source of high quality seafood through aquatic farming.  Please direct any questions to Mark Drawbridge at