RAS operator launches RAS project for red drum

Kingfish Maine operations manager, Megan Sorby, is initiating a new land-based RAS project to grow red drum.

Megan Sorby_Sept 2023
Credits: Megan Sorby
September 27, 2023

Megan Sorby, most recently operations manager for Kingfish Maine, is initiating a new land-based RAS project to grow red drum.

For the past four years, Sorby has led Kingfish Maine as operations manager. Together with her team in the US and the Kingfish Company, Sorby helped secure the required permits for the Netherlands-based company to expand in the US, build out a hatchery facility and increase US broodstock. Kingfish Maine celebrated its first harvest of Dutch yellowtail from Maine earlier this year.

“Being a part of the Kingfish Company has been a fantastic opportunity, and with the successes we have had, the company has a clear path to continue with expansion in the US,” said Sorby in a press release. “While I continue to support the Kingfish team in the US, I am excited to spearhead a new development, growing a native species with a long history of being a legendary seafood product.”

Red drum, a favorite throughout the Gulf Coast and Atlantic states, has been federally protected from commercial harvest since the 1980s. There’s a limited harvest of red drum in a few states as well as a valuable sport fishery, but its current market presence has been largely from imported farmed products, due to recent deep freezes in the southern US. The new project has identified a site which will be finalized in the coming weeks.

“This development brings together a well-understood culture process of the species and pairs it with the technological benefits and controls of RAS. We cannot continue importing this premium product when it is native to our waters,” said Sorby. “There’s deep US investment in the research and development of this species. Pairing red drum with RAS technology optimizes this species to its fullest potential in a domestic location.”