Soft shell crabs

 

Soft shell crabs are produced from May to October under a New Jersey aquatic farming license held by Tony Novak.

We usually produce these crabs to specific customer orders. We currently supply two local seafood restaurants and make direct sales to consumers at the marina. Soft shell crabs are priced higher than hard shell crabs, typically about $3.00 each dockside. Our current production capacity is 8,000 crabs but we are ready to expand as demand increases.

How can I invest in Delaware Bay fisheries?

There are several ways to invest in aquaculture and fisheries. We used private investors in the past including a locally crowdfunded financing of a watermen under a split-catch arrangement. We are now exploring a wider range of options including recruiting additional private investment.

Potentially one of the easiest ways would be through a crowdfunded securities offering. The Securities and Exchange Commission sets limits on how and how much an investor can invest in crowdfunded offerings. Nantuxent Seafood is not involved in a crowdfunded securities offering but may consider this option in the future.

This blog post is written as part of the ongoing exploration of new sources of funding for growth. This is not an investment offering. The method of financial expansion eventually selected must consider the needs of our customers relative to their financial interest in our seafood. We must also consider the overall reinvestment plan for the marina and the working waterfront community.

The following table provides a few examples of investment limits set by SEC. You will notice that the limits are low for most working class people:

Annual Income

Net Worth

Calculation

12-month Limit

$30,000

$105,000

greater of $2,200 or 5% of $30,000 ($1,500)

$2,200

$150,000

$80,000

greater of $2,200 or 5% of $80,000 ($4,000)

$4,000

$150,000

$107,000

10% of $107,000 ($10,700)

$10,700

$200,000

$900,000

10% of $200,000 ($20,000)

$20,000

$1.2 million

$2 million

10% of $1.2 million ($120,000), subject to cap

$107,000

For more information, see the SEC website.

Delaware Bay oysters

Money Island New Jersey is the primary oyster landing port for Delaware Bay oysters. Nantuxent Seafood is not in the oyster business but we have working relationships with other oyster growers, harvesters and dealers. The local oyster industry is estimated to add $26 million annually to the local economy.

Everybody loves crabs!

Blue claw crabs (Callinectes sapidus) provide the largest source of revenue for Nantuxent Seafood. The Latin name means “savory beautiful swimmer”. They are caught year round in the Delaware Bay but the traditional commercial harvest that incorporates the soft shell crab shedding season runs from March to October.

We plan to continue to expand to larger volumes of crab sales each successive season. We sell six different crab products (three food products and three bait products) and have several more in development stage. Our goals are: 1) to provide a stable market for the crabs of local harvesters, 2) raise the income of crab harvesters, 3) provide seasonal employment for local workers, 4) provide a safer and higher quality food products to consumers. 5) provide bait to local recreational fishermen, 6) provide restaurants with a reliable source of local crabs.

 

 

Methane and aquaculture

Most of us have little knowledge or concern about methane. But this small molecular gas in the air could play a major role in the future of aquaculture or even for humanity itself.

Much of the recent news about methane is draped in political controversy. I don’t want to step into that discussion. The purpose of this post is simply to establish why methane could be more important in the future of aquaculture.

  • Atmospheric methane is a natural gas produced by plant decay that normally has little effect. However it’s levels are increasing rapidly in our air. It is believed to have a greater impact on atmospheric warming than CO2 due to its molecular structure.
  • Most methane is naturally produced without human involvement.
  • The largest source of methane is wetlands.
  • Sea level rise (and other factors) is triggering a sharp and dangerous increase in atmospheric methane.
  • Draining and development of wetlands through management of sea level rise response decreases methane production.
  • Conversely, creating man-made wetlands like rice paddies or fish ponds increases methane production.
  • Oysters and shellfish aquaculture is implicated in methane production.

There is a lot of news about methane in the past few weeks. We will need to wait until the dust settles to see any useful trend in government response to know what real long term impact any of this news has on management of wetlands. I posted a primer on methane gas including points note related to aquaculture on my personal blog titled “15 basic facts about methane and the environment“.

“How can we support you?”

Yesterday I attended the annual alumni homecoming event for my alma mater Delaware Valley University in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. I am biased of course but I think DelVal is the ultimate stronghold of agricultural entrepreneurship in this part of the country. Many of the region’s farm and food company managers are fellow alumni.

I sat with a classmate from the agricultural school with the same age and major. He and his wife listened to my story of seafood expansion at Money Island. Then I asked them what they did. They are both retired from a local pharmaceutical firm.  Here I am just starting out in a new business venture at age 57. Classmates are retired. The contrast hit me hard. Our paths over the past 35 years since we parted at commencement in 1982 led to vastly different positions in life.

Flooded lowlands at Money Island during a recent seasonal high tide

We discussed the challenges of Nantuxent Seafood: dealing with government, rising water levels, Sandy recovery, and capital needs. They listened to my comments and offered words of encouragement “We know you’ll be successful”. Then they asked “How can we do to support you?” All I could suggest was that I am active on social media and that I am working on several crowdfunding ideas. We discussed why I thought crowdfunding was important to a venture like this. Community support for the future of sustainable aquaculture is as important as the funding itself. This conversation added to my inclination that I am ready to take the next steps in developing a support base through crowdfunding.

During the day I received valuable bits of advice from the former college president, the former dean of the agriculture school, and a successful business person who was a wrestling teammate. I take it all quite seriously. By the end of the day I left with a short ‘to do’ list to help bring Nantuxent Seafood to the next level. This coming week I expect to complete my HACCP federal seafood safety training certification, talk with existing environmental partners and open discussions with new potential financial partners.