Early Charm Announces Support of US Senate Bill to Fuel US Aquaculture Production

Early Charm’s Blue Economy portfolio of companies, including Minnowtech and

Gaskiya Diagnostics, help drive growth and expansion of US aquaculture

November 12, 2021, Baltimore, MD – Early Charm, a company that creates, owns and operates ventures that convert science to revenue, announced today its support for bipartisan legislation recently introduced in the U.S. Senate that would fuel the development of an offshore aquaculture industry in the U.S.

The Advancing the Quality and Understanding of American Aquaculture (AQUAA) Act of 2021 would increase production of sustainable seafood through the raising of fish in federal waters – the most environmentally friendly means of protein production – and it would create opportunities for new American jobs. The measure, S.3100, will be considered by the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

Early Charm’s Blue Economy portfolio of companies includes: Gaskiya Diagnostics, a company that develops and markets rapid, low-cost and easy-to-use diagnostic tests for aquaculture; Minnowtech, a company that provides a software imaging platform that enables shrimp farmers to estimate shrimp abundance; and VakSea, a company that uses insect larvae to bio-manufacture functional feed additives that protect farm-raised fish and shrimp from disease.

"We service customers globally and have long recognized the U.S.’s substantial lag behind the rest of the world in implementing environmentally friendly aquaculture technologies,” said Ken Malone, Executive Officer with Early Charm. “This lag is made all the more disappointing because our home state of Maryland is a world-leading generator of new technologies for aquaculture. The AQUAA Act is an important step in removing the main barrier to aquaculture development in our state and across the country.”

The AQUAA Act would establish national standards for offshore aquaculture and clarify a regulatory system for the farming of fish in the U.S. exclusive economic zone. The bill would also establish a research and technology grant program to fund research and extension services focused on improving and advancing sustainable domestic aquaculture.

Expanding U.S. aquaculture production into federal waters would help revitalize the seafood industry, which has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The measure also would create new job opportunities in coastal communities, where fishing jobs are often limited and seasonally dependent, by providing year-round employment opportunities that would supplement wild-capture jobs.

Expanding U.S. aquaculture would also create opportunities in other industries, including agriculture, by providing a new market for U.S. farmers of crops such as soybeans, corn and peas, which can be used to create fish feed and ease pressure on ocean resources. In addition, growth of farmed fish would support other related industries, including manufacturing, feed production, food processing and food service.

“The expansion of American aquaculture is an opportunity for federal lawmakers to address some of the most critical challenges we face, including climate, economic and food security,” said Sarah Brenholt, campaign manager of Stronger America Through Seafood (SATS). “Establishing an offshore aquaculture industry would spur economic growth and create new jobs at a time when we need it most.”

About Stronger America Through Seafood: 

Stronger America Through Seafood (SATS) advocates for policies and regulations that help secure a stronger America through increased U.S. production of healthful, sustainable, and affordable seafood. Learn more: www.strongerthroughseafood.org

About Early Charm:

Early Charm creates, owns and operates businesses that convert science into revenue. We are the management team, the operators and the entrepreneurs. We don’t write checks and just pop in for board meetings. We show up to our labs, our production facilities and our offices every day to do all the heavy lifting in our portfolio companies. Learn more: www.earlycharm.com

Media Contact:

Ken Berlack

Early Charm