Kona Kampachi will make a big splash on mainland
HAWAII-raised Kona Kampachi, the trademarked fish raised by Kona Blue Water Farms LLC
, has hit the big time.
Hawaii's newest noshworthy Neptunian notable might as well have its name up in lights somewhere, like a starring actor on a theater marquee.
Kona Blue Water farms is shipping its ocean cage-raised fish to 24 Whole Foods Markets in Southern California, Arizona and Nevada, the company announced yesterday.
It is the culmination of well more than a year of planning.
In September of last year, during Kona Blue's initial harvests of its new high-Omega-3, sashimi-grade fish, there was talk of one day, maybe just maybe, getting it into Whole Foods, which has a persnickety sustainable seafood program.
"We go to great lengths to sustainably grow Kona Kampachi in the open ocean," said Michael Wink, chief executive officer, in a statement.
Whole Foods had stopped selling Chilean Sea Bass in 1999, due to overfishing and poaching concerns of the noncooking variety.
Whole Foods reintroduced the fish to its stores in September in conjunction with the Marine Stewardship Council, an international nonprofit organization working to foster creation of sustainable fisheries around the world.
Wink was impressed that Whole Foods took the time to visit its operation in Kona.
"Their subsequent decision to carry Kona Kampachi is an appreciated endorsement of our commitment to sustainable aquaculture," Wink said.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez toured Kona Blue Water Farms' operations last weekend and predicted Hawaii's aquaculture industry would grow and continue to provide high-tech, long-term jobs.
"The people they put together here -- the marine biologists, hatcheries management, chief officers -- it seems like it's a Silicon Valley of aquaculture," he told the Associated Press.
Construction of Whole Foods' first Hawaii store at Ward Village Shops has been delayed by the discovery of ancient Hawaiian burials on the property.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org