September 20, 2021
shrimp farm
Shrimp farming tanks at Florida Organic Aquaculture.
shrimp farm
Harvesting the shrimp.

Southeast Florida Roundup

Under water: Shrimp farmer faces a big problem

Shrimp farmer Florida Organic Aquaculture files for bankruptcy protection.

Mike Vogel | 9/28/2017

Aquaculture farmers may work with water instead of dirt, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a tough row to hoe.

One of Florida’s highest profile aquaculture ventures, restaurant-grade shrimp farmer Florida Organic Aquaculture [“Finny Business,” October 2016, FloridaTrend] in Fellsmere in Indian River County, won accolades from the governor, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, visiting dignitaries from South Africa, the local business community and the aquaculture industry after opening a four-acre, state-of-the-art facility in 2014. The company touted a method that promised colossal fresh shrimp, never frozen, and yields far outstripping the industry standard. But this year, it is seeking to reorganize under U.S. Bankruptcy Court protection.

With court approval, Florida Organic Aquaculture retained Maryland advisory firm Equity Partners HG to help it find an investor, partner or buyer. Equity Partners projects the shrimp farm could grow revenue to $34 million in five years, from its current $3 million.

Florida Organic, in its bankruptcy filing, lists $13.4 million in assets, including $41,493 in shrimp, and $11.8 million in liabilities. Founder and President Clifford R. Morris says that while under court protection, the farm continues operating, though on a reduced scale. He says the company’s infrastructure is complete, but the company needs money — no more than $2 million — for working capital. The extended time it took to scale “academiasized success” to commercial feasibility burned through capital, he says.

“One thing that would be depressing is if some foreign buyer bought the business and all my blood, sweat and tears would be lost to a foreign country,” he says. “As well as all the intellectual property and, of course, money. We really needed this to be saved for aquaculture in the USA.”

See other stories from Florida Trend's October issue.

Get Florida Trend's October magazine – print or digital. Select from these options:

EXISTING
DIGITAL
SUBSCRIBERS

Access Article Now!

DIGITAL
SINGLE
ISSUE

Get a single DIGITAL copy of this issue

$4.95

PRINT
SINGLE
ISSUE

Get a single PRINT copy of this issue

$4.95
plus $3 postage & handling

PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

One year in PRINT

$14.98*
plus a FREE gift!

DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTION

One year DIGITAL

$14.98*
plus a FREE gift!

ALL ACCESS SUBSCRIPTION

One year Combo
PRINT + DIGITAL

$24.95*
plus a FREE gift!


CURRENT  PRINT  SUBSCRIBERS

If you are already a print subscriber,
ADD DIGITAL EDITION ACCESS
to your existing subscription here!
(or call our office at 727-892-2643)

* offer valid for new subscribers only

Tags: Southeast

 

Florida Business News

Florida Trend Video Pick

Florida tax revenues exceed expectations
Florida tax revenues exceed expectations

July collections beat projections; Florida scraps FSA tests; Tax policy changes may hike property insurance renewal rates; DeSantis to begin issuing fines for vaccine mandates; COVID crisis forcing delayed retirement for Southerners.

Earlier Videos | Viewpoints@FloridaTrend

Ballot Box

Do you agree or disagree with requiring hospital, nursing home and health care employees to be fully vaccinated?

  • Agree
  • Disagree
  • Other (Please share your comments in the comment section below)

See Results

Florida Trend Media Company
490 1st Ave S
St Petersburg, FL 33701
727.821.5800

© Copyright 2021 Trend Magazines Inc. All rights reserved.