LOS ANGELES & ENSENADA, Mexico - Pacifico Aquaculture, a leader in sustainable aquaculture, announced that it has received project financing from Equilibrium Capital (“Equilibrium”), in addition to a significant equity investment from a consortium led by Butterfly Equity (“Butterfly”) and a leading U.S. public pension fund. This funding will be used to fully finance Pacifico’s nursery facility in Baja California and provide a substantial runway to scale its production capacity to meet the robust market demand for sustainably raised striped bass.
Founded in 2010, Pacifico has developed proprietary technology to become the world’s only commercial producer of ocean-raised striped bass, a high-growth, premium species in the $290 billion global aquaculture industry. Thanks to its superior appearance, flavor and texture, striped bass has become America’s most popular wild catch fish but has limited availability due to overfishing, quota constraints and seasonality. By providing its sustainably raised striped bass to customers year-round, Pacifico offers a highly versatile product beloved by Michelin star chefs, restauranteurs and retailers across North America, and is well-positioned for significant market expansion.
A pioneer in sustainable aquaculture in North America, Pacifico is also the first marine fish farm in Mexico to obtain a four-star Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification, the highest designation in the BAP program. In addition, Pacifico is certified as a Good Alternative by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program.
“We are thrilled to partner with Equilibrium and to receive continued support from Butterfly as Pacifico reaches an exciting inflection point in its growth,” said Per-Roar Gjerde, Chief Executive Officer of Pacifico. “This investment will allow us to build a state-of-the-art nursery facility and unlock 20,000 metric tons of annual production capacity to meet the world’s growing demand for healthy, nutritious seafood.”
Equilibrium, one of the largest controlled environment agriculture investors in the world, will provide project financing for the entire nursery project. Billund Aquaculture will supply the recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) technology for the nursery. Butterfly, a leading U.S. public pension fund and others will provide equity commitments to the company. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“Next-generation aquaculture is part of the ‘infrastructuring of agriculture,’ where investments in controlled environment facilities to improve efficiencies and resiliency are becoming essential,” said Nick Houshower, Managing Director and Head of Equilibrium’s Controlled Environment Foods team. “These are the same trends that have informed Equilibrium’s Controlled Environment Foods strategy focused on climate-resilient infrastructure, and Equilibrium is excited to be expanding into a new segment of the CEA sector with Butterfly, a food investing leader. Pacifico is a trailblazer in sustainable aquaculture, and we look forward to this nursery project allowing them to take their production capabilities to new heights.”
“This is a watershed moment for growing sustainable aquaculture in North America,” said Dustin Beck, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Butterfly. “Butterfly has been a long-term, committed partner to Pacifico since 2017. We have witnessed Pacifico’s tremendous growth since our investment, and firmly believe we’re still in the early innings of its growth trajectory. We cannot be more excited to partner with Equilibrium who shares our vision to build Pacifico into a world-class aquaculture platform under Per-Roar’s strong leadership.”