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  • By Lynda Kiernan-Stone, Global AgInvesting Media

Aqua-Spark Linking Technology Across Investments

Sustainable, biological fish and livestock feed developer and producer, Calysta, has closed on a $30 million Series C round of fundraising which included Cargill, Aqua-Spark, the Municipal Employee Retirement System (MERS) of Michigan, Old Westbury Global Real Asset Fund LLC, Walden Riverwood Ventures, and Pangaea Ventures.

Aqua-Spark committed $4.1 million to this round, marking the second investment in Calysta by the pure-play investment fund dedicated to sustainable aquaculture, after first investing in the operation in January 2015.

To date, fish farming has been an operation in contradictions, with the environmental benefits of aquaculture largely being marginalized by the use of fish feed that has been comprised by wild-caught fish, and other animal proteins. In response, Calysta has developed a methane-eating natural microbe called FeedKind ™ that produces a single cell protein that has a smaller carbon footprint than soy, is easily digestible, and is a prime alternative to fishmeal.

“Calysta is providing the aquaculture industry with a proprietary sustainable alternative to conventional fishmeal ingredients,” said Alan Shaw, Ph.D., Calysta President and CEO in a company statement.

In addition to this round of funding, Calysta announced last month the conditional receipt of a grant from the government of the United Kingdom for the company to establish its first research and market introduction facility for its FeedKind™ product to be located in northern England, and a strategic partnership with Cargill for the collaborative North American manufacturing and worldwide marketing of its FeedKind™ product.

“This collaboration with Cargill, a world leader in fermentation and protein production, is expected to dramatically accelerate market introduction of FeedKind™ protein at commercial scale,” said Shaw.

Aqua-Spark is also expanding the market for Calysta’s FeedKind™ protein through linking it with its other investments.

Aqua-Spark has invested $2.75 million in Norwegian fish farming business, Sogn Aqua, that has developed a more sustainable and efficient method for producing halibut to a larger size.

Through its proprietary system of water recirculation, high aeration, and oxygenation, Sogn Aqua is able to produce halibut without the use of chemicals or antibiotics while recycling 95% of the materials it uses for production.

Aqua-Spark’s investment is be used to increase Sogn Aqua’s output from the current 50 tons per year to 800 tons per year, and will integrate Calysta’s FeedKind™ feed into Sogn Aqua’s production system, replacing fishmeal and fish oil.

“To transform an industry, we’re looking across the sector – from feed to plate – and determining how we can have the greatest impact,” said Mike Velings and Amy Novogratz, co-founders of Aqua-Spark, reports My Social Good News. “The individual investments stand on their own, but paired together have the power to alter the entire seafood landscape. Calysta’s sustainable feed can alleviate pressure on the ocean, where most feed is still sourced. And Sogn Aqua’s astonishingly sustainable farm operation puts a much-desired but red-listed fish back on the menu. Integrating Calysta’s feed and a feed monitoring system could result in the most environmental farm on the planet. Ideally this model is scaled to help change the entire industry, which is precisely Aqua-Spark’s mission.”

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