NELHA Businesses’ Sales and Exports ‘Surging’

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Businesses part of the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawai’i, a state agency part of the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, are seeing increases in product sales, according to officals

The announcement of growth was made by NELHA late this week.

“We are thrilled by the growth in aquaculture sales and increased exports and the very significant contributions from NELHA firms that are leading this surge”, says NELHA Executive Director Gregory Barbour.

It was recently reported by the United States Department 0f Agriculture Static Service and the State of Hawai’i Department of Agriculture that Hawai’i’s aquaculture sales reached $78.2 million in 2014, increasing by40.4 percent from 2012 sales.

Increases in shellfish, finfish and algae sales, part of the aquaculture products produced at NELHA, make it the third major product and the largest increase since 2010.


In 2014, algae alone was responsible for nearly 50 percent of the increase at $33.1 million.

The growth of shrimp broodstock companies at NELHA are a large part of the increase in aquaculture production and export.

NELHA says that some have even referred to Hawai’i as the new “shrimp broodstock capital of the world” with the potential to account for 60 percent of the total worldwide production.

Federal government export data shows that the Fish, Crustaceans, and Aquatic Invertebrates export category has increased from being the third highest import in 2012 to second in 2013, and jumped to being the highest export product in 2014 at $32.5 million.


“An export focus is critical to support future economic growth,” said Luis Salaveria, director of the DEBEDT.  “This surge in product sales is very encouraging, since export activity is a strong economic driver.”

Another export at NELHA that has proved to be an important sector for business is “Beverages, Spirits, and Vinegar.”  The category includes bottled water and was the highest commodity exported from Hawai’i in 2012 and 2013. In 2014, it dropped to second place with the surge in aquaculture.

Brent Bailey, Cyanotech Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer, said that “we are seeing very positive results from our recent investments in facilities at NELHA and demand for our products continues its strong growth pattern experienced in the past several years.

“We are also seeing strong growth in our international sales, primarily due to initial shipments of BioAstin into China.”


BioAstin is an astaxanthin product sold through Cyanotech’s Nutrex Hawai’i brand.

Shrimp Improvement Systems LLC President David Leong said that his company is continuing to build strategic alliances with key players within the shrimp industry to improve their own technology.

“We work with companies in Asia as well as the Americas, and firmly believe these relationships are an important factor in helping SIS to develop a continuously improved product year after year,” Leong said. “These relationships have helped SIS and our partners to continue to expand the global shrimp aquaculture industry.” SIS is in position to continue building upon its recent successes.

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