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return to luf-team and fishmeal

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  • keithd21
    Team, My apologies for being completely absent for a couple months. I took rather ill shortly before Christmas and am just now getting my sea legs back under
    Message 1 of 3 , Feb 26, 2013
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      Team,

      My apologies for being completely absent for a couple months. I took rather ill shortly before Christmas and am just now getting my sea legs back under me.

      I've seen a number of articles in mainstream media lately about private access to space, moon colony plans, and mars colony plans. Perhaps public interest has finally begun to return to the stars. I remain cautiously hopeful.

      Being laid up and largely bed ridden for about 7 weeks gave me quite a bit of time to think. A few percent of my think time went towards LUF related concerns. Most of my daydreaming was rather pointless but I do have one idea that I have begun to study more formally.

      I am now looking into the fishmeal market. About 305,000 metric tons of fishmeal are produced in the US annually and the US lags far behind Peru in fishmeal production. The global market is very large. Most fishmeal is used as livestock feed. Due to an odd regulatory quirk in the US wild caught fish cannot be certified as organic. So I think there may be a window of opportunity to farm raise fish for the fishmeal market, especially if the farm can obtain organic certification.

      An avenue into aquaculture is sorely needed. We have historically focused on high margin products for research and discussion. Perhaps it is time someone looked at high volume/low margin aquaculture instead.

      I'll limit my efforts to literature research for now. If I come to the conclusion that the idea is economically plausible I will look into some test production. I don't expect that any bank would be willing to loan start up capital for something that would be very unconventional for the fishmeal industry so I would have to provide start up funding myself. I am targeting roughly USD1000 for the acquisition of livestock and equipment to dry, press, and grind raw fish into meal. I might go as high as USD1500 but I don't think the odds of success currently warrant any further risk taking than that. I would not be able to produce a large enough volume of product to supply as livestock feed but I might be able to produce enough to sell to local organic gardening suppliers. With such proof of concept in hand, I think it might be possible to attract investors for scale-up.

      -keith-
    • Eric Hunting
      I agree that a new venue for breaking into mariculture activity from a modest scale would be very useful. The catch with high-volume/low-margin industry tends
      Message 2 of 3 , Mar 3, 2013
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        I agree that a new venue for breaking into mariculture activity from a modest scale would be very useful. The catch with high-volume/low-margin industry tends to be that it has to get to physically huge scales of operation before it starts looking interesting to investors. And there really is no such thing as start-up investment in the US. Today many US banks won't even let you have a business account if a company hasn't existed for 5 years, let alone any kind of business loans. They have no problem gambling like drunken sailors in their own casino, but when it comes to investing in America and its future, they're pussies.

        Given the scale of many organic farms, the regional markets for organic fishmeal might support a modest scale start-up. You might also want to look into organic hydroponics. There are a few small companies that use fishmeal as the basis of ready-mix hydroponics nutrient. I gather that you're thinking about tank-based farming. Is there an issue with smell from the processing that might complicate where you can locate it?

        My first thought for how to break into this on some modest scale would probably have been the 'science barge' notion as demonstrated by the Water Pod and its follow-ons, which is less practical industry than urban farming tech demonstrator. That still would be a large scale relatively high-cost project.

        Eric Hunting
        erichunting@...

        > return to luf-team and fishmeal
        > Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:04 pm (PST) . Posted by:"keithd21" keithd21

        > Team,
        >
        > My apologies for being completely absent for a couple months. I took rather ill shortly before Christmas and am just now getting my sea legs back under me.
        >
        > I've seen a number of articles in mainstream media lately about private access to space, moon colony plans, and mars colony plans. Perhaps public interest has finally begun to return to the stars. I remain cautiously hopeful.
        >
        > Being laid up and largely bed ridden for about 7 weeks gave me quite a bit of time to think. A few percent of my think time went towards LUF related concerns. Most of my daydreaming was rather pointless but I do have one idea that I have begun to study more formally.
        >
        > I am now looking into the fishmeal market. About 305,000 metric tons of fishmeal are produced in the US annually and the US lags far behind Peru in fishmeal production. The global market is very large. Most fishmeal is used as livestock feed. Due to an odd regulatory quirk in the US wild caught fish cannot be certified as organic. So I think there may be a window of opportunity to farm raise fish for the fishmeal market, especially if the farm can obtain organic certification.
        >
        > An avenue into aquaculture is sorely needed. We have historically focused on high margin products for research and discussion. Perhaps it is time someone looked at high volume/low margin aquaculture instead.
        >
        > I'll limit my efforts to literature research for now. If I come to the conclusion that the idea is economically plausible I will look into some test production. I don't expect that any bank would be willing to loan start up capital for something that would be very unconventional for the fishmeal industry so I would have to provide start up funding myself. I am targeting roughly USD1000 for the acquisition of livestock and equipment to dry, press, and grind raw fish into meal. I might go as high as USD1500 but I don't think the odds of success currently warrant any further risk taking than that. I would not be able to produce a large enough volume of product to supply as livestock feed but I might be able to produce enough to sell to local organic gardening suppliers. With such proof of concept in hand, I think it might be possible to attract investors for scale-up.
        >
        > -keith-
      • keithd21
        I was initially targeting creating something that could be certified as organic in the US. Research so far indicates that is simply a nonstarter. It would
        Message 3 of 3 , Mar 4, 2013
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          I was initially targeting creating something that could be certified as organic in the US. Research so far indicates that is simply a nonstarter. It would simply be too expensive to obtain organic certified items that could reasonably be used or converted to fish feed.

          That still probably leaves a window for marketing "farm raised" fishmeal and associated products but it wouldn't permit any sort of first mover advantage. Fishmeal is going to have a lot lower margin than whole farm raised fish in most cases so financing would be hard to come by. The thing about capitalism that is both beautiful and ugly is that it allocates capital hedonistically.

          There is perhaps still a small window of opportunity remaining. Fishmeal is produced from whole fish including bones, fins, scales, head, and organs so there is no waste. Conventional fish farms must raise fish to a certain minimum size before they become marketable. With fishmeal, very small fish have economic value. So the trick would be to exploit the rapid growth rate of juvenile fish to decrease the time of the feed to cash conversion cycle and thereby gain an advantage in production per acre/feed/day/etc. I need more time to research this possibility but am decreasingly optimistic.

          You bring up a very good point about smell and it is something I had not considered. The conventional method is to sun dry the fish and then process them mechanically. The drying process will likely produce some odor. I could probably get away with it at the initial scale I am proposing for a demonstration project as the smell should not be overwhelming and would probably take my neighbors quite some time to figure precisely where the smell was coming from. I suppose I could also use an electric dehydrator in the room added on to the back of my garage and nullify the odor with ozone generators. That of course adds cost and complexity to the operation.

          -keith-

          --- In luf-team@yahoogroups.com, Eric Hunting <erichunting@...> wrote:
          >
          > I agree that a new venue for breaking into mariculture activity from a modest scale would be very useful. The catch with high-volume/low-margin industry tends to be that it has to get to physically huge scales of operation before it starts looking interesting to investors. And there really is no such thing as start-up investment in the US. Today many US banks won't even let you have a business account if a company hasn't existed for 5 years, let alone any kind of business loans. They have no problem gambling like drunken sailors in their own casino, but when it comes to investing in America and its future, they're pussies.
          >
          > Given the scale of many organic farms, the regional markets for organic fishmeal might support a modest scale start-up. You might also want to look into organic hydroponics. There are a few small companies that use fishmeal as the basis of ready-mix hydroponics nutrient. I gather that you're thinking about tank-based farming. Is there an issue with smell from the processing that might complicate where you can locate it?
          >
          > My first thought for how to break into this on some modest scale would probably have been the 'science barge' notion as demonstrated by the Water Pod and its follow-ons, which is less practical industry than urban farming tech demonstrator. That still would be a large scale relatively high-cost project.
          >
          > Eric Hunting
          > erichunting@...
          >
          > > return to luf-team and fishmeal
          > > Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:04 pm (PST) . Posted by:"keithd21" keithd21
          >
          > > Team,
          > >
          > > My apologies for being completely absent for a couple months. I took rather ill shortly before Christmas and am just now getting my sea legs back under me.
          > >
          > > I've seen a number of articles in mainstream media lately about private access to space, moon colony plans, and mars colony plans. Perhaps public interest has finally begun to return to the stars. I remain cautiously hopeful.
          > >
          > > Being laid up and largely bed ridden for about 7 weeks gave me quite a bit of time to think. A few percent of my think time went towards LUF related concerns. Most of my daydreaming was rather pointless but I do have one idea that I have begun to study more formally.
          > >
          > > I am now looking into the fishmeal market. About 305,000 metric tons of fishmeal are produced in the US annually and the US lags far behind Peru in fishmeal production. The global market is very large. Most fishmeal is used as livestock feed. Due to an odd regulatory quirk in the US wild caught fish cannot be certified as organic. So I think there may be a window of opportunity to farm raise fish for the fishmeal market, especially if the farm can obtain organic certification.
          > >
          > > An avenue into aquaculture is sorely needed. We have historically focused on high margin products for research and discussion. Perhaps it is time someone looked at high volume/low margin aquaculture instead.
          > >
          > > I'll limit my efforts to literature research for now. If I come to the conclusion that the idea is economically plausible I will look into some test production. I don't expect that any bank would be willing to loan start up capital for something that would be very unconventional for the fishmeal industry so I would have to provide start up funding myself. I am targeting roughly USD1000 for the acquisition of livestock and equipment to dry, press, and grind raw fish into meal. I might go as high as USD1500 but I don't think the odds of success currently warrant any further risk taking than that. I would not be able to produce a large enough volume of product to supply as livestock feed but I might be able to produce enough to sell to local organic gardening suppliers. With such proof of concept in hand, I think it might be possible to attract investors for scale-up.
          > >
          > > -keith-
          >
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