Who we are
The core UKB team members are all qualified biologists with a broad range of relevant international experience in the marine aquarium and aquaculture industries.
What we do
Since 2016, UKB operates from a purpose built commercial premises in West Sussex fitted out with aquaria, recirculating aquaculture systems, state of the art life support systems and filtration in a fully thermally insulated building with PV solar panels on the roof providing a portion of the power required.
Following an initial experimental phase the company is now entering it’s second phase wherein several species of marine life will be produced at a pilot commercial scale. The company is the only one of it’s kind in the UK; something we learnt when we registered with CEFAS and were found to fall outside any of their existing licensing categories. The company is taking on risk and making a significant investment in diversifying the UK aquaculture sector.
While the current focus is on the pilot scale commercial production of three important species, the company aims to become a major supplier of captive bred marine ornamental livestock to the pet industry, providing an alternative to the wild capture of specimens for pets.
To do so the company seeks to work both in house, and with academic and commercial research partners, on tackling key technical and economical bottle necks in the rearing process that currently make the captive production of the majority of marine livestock. uneconomical. Progress made in this endeavour could also have a direct relevance to the global marine aquaculture industry, as it faces the same bottlenecks that prevent the culturing of the vast majority of marine species in captivity due to technical and economic restraints.
How we do it
The new facility currently has seven individually designed state of the art aquaculture systems split over two floors, aimed at providing the specific care needed for different species at various life stages from larvae rearing to growout for sale.
There is also a facility for culturing live planktonic organisms required as prey to be fed to the early stage larvae being cultivated.
Additional space and resources have been provided to cater for relevant in house research projects; there is an intention to also host student projects at both undergraduate and postgraduate level in collaboration with suitable university research departments.
UKB is an ambitious project. The aim is to influence an entire industry sector to address the responsible sourcing of marine livestock for the aquatic pet trade. While we pursue the technical innovations that will help make the industry sustainable for the long term we will also rely on the support of this industry in terms of choosing to buy livestock from us and promoting what we are doing.
Who, what, how,
Hatchery Technician Matt Hill preparing live plankton feeds.