Name Open Blue
GGN 4052852629690 Website
Country Panama

Farm Profile

Open Blue’s vision is to feed current and future generations in harmony with the ocean. Founded in 2007, in respose to challenges for aquaculture operations located in near shore conditions, and in partnership with the world’s leading scientific laboratories, universities and our technology partner InnovaSea, Open Blue has pioneered research and new technology to develop scalable solutions in offshore operations.

Vertically integrated from egg to plate, our offshore ocean farm is located 8 miles offshore, far away from sensitive nearshore ecosystems in a high-energy, pristine environment. Cobia is native to the Caribbean waters where we operate; which is a critical component for us. Open Blue recognizes cobia’s unique attributes for growth, nutrition and culinary versatility for our customers.

At Open Blue, sustainability is woven into every aspect of our operations. It is our prime business driver; built on our commitment to the “Seventh Generation Principle”; an ancient Iroquois philosophy that the decisions we make today should result in a sustainable world, seven generations into the future. We track our progress using a three-pillared approach – environmental stewardship, full accountability, and social responsibility.


Open Blue is an award-winning seafood company seeking to do things the right way. Open Blue’s vision is to feed current and future generations in harmony with the ocean.

Driven by a core belief that when we look after the health of the ocean and our fish, we provide better food for humans, Open Blue is committed to building strong communities for our workforce in remote and rural locations and to provide better access to education for youth in the community.


  • Feed current and future generations in harmony with the ocean Mission
  • Create innovative and responsible open ocean mariculture products and solutions that respect the ocean and enrich lives

Because Open Blue is dedicated to doing things differently, early in the progress of the company we started work on certifications that would assist us to align our internal practices and build a transparent framework toward sustainability.

This is important for our company because our values: customer focused, responsible leadership, integrity, excellence, care and respect are best demonstrated when we can show that we not only say what we are doing but that we have planned for objective third party audits to show and prove our commitment.

We achieved GLOBALG.A.P. certification in 2014 and have built on this platform to achieve many other certifications to meet our company and customer needs.

Please see details of our submission for this award:

Talent for Agriculture, Women and Youth

Creating Value
With a socially responsibly approach to our operations, Open Blue is building opportunities for Panamanians living in the rural, coastal communities in Costa Arriba, Colon Province, Panama. Costa Arriba is in a remote rural part of Panama with small villages and towns that hug the northern coast. Before Open Blue, there was little opportunity for local work and a report in 2014 on the district of Santa Isabel, stated that 9 out of every 10 residents in the district lacked formal employment. Workers would have to travel to Colon for long days in the port, while the remaining residents fish, tend cattle, or grow subsistence crops.

Panama is considered a “risk country” under the Worldwide Governance Indicator, which determines levels of risk related to governance. There are six dimensions of governance identified by the World Bank: voice and accountability, political stability and absence of violence and terrorism, government effectiveness, regulatory quality, rule of law, and control of corruption. Panama scores under the limit established with particular deficiencies noted in rule of law and control of corruption. Open Blue has created jobs directly on our farm, hatchery and processing plant. Since 2015, 65% of our total workforce are employed in Costa Arriba. Recent statistics from the Ministry of Economy and Finance Social Policy department (2015) show a 42% improvement in the region’s poverty rate.

We contribute to the communities in the areas where we work in several ways – most significantly through employment and purchasing of local goods and supplies. In 2016, over 850 Panamanian companies provided us with a range of different services and supplies that totaled more than $14,500,000.

Women and Youth Opportunities
We are proud of our positive workplace culture and community scholarship and betterment projects in the communities in which we operate. Open Blue invests in community projects, such as education (identified as a top priority by the community), and clean drinking water projects (a critical resource lacking in the community). Each year we fund 48 scholarships and assist with bus maintenance to ensure that students have access to education. Open Blue assists the community with infrastructure improvements. Education and health are our main priorities.

At Open Blue we have a dynamic work team, blending worldwide expertise with a passion for hard work and the importance of families. We support diversity and inclusion and hiring locally is a key factor for our operations in Panama and provide internship and partnership opportunities with local universities. We are focused on increasing the number of women in our workforce and last year successfully created and trained a team of local women as our vaccination team at the hatchery.

Our workers have a wide range of education and expertise from veterinary science to marine biology to engineering. We are a part of the Great Place to Work program since 2014, consistently scoring around 80% employee satisfaction rate across all divisions of our company.

Creating Partnerships
In 2016, Open Blue collaborated with the Panamanian government to connect local primary schools in Costa Arriba with the Ministry of Education and encouraged increased educational investment. We have offered a scholarship program for school children in 9 schools in the area and plan to extend our scholarship program to the secondary and university levels.

Other community projects throughout the past five years include:

  • Student scholarships (48 annually)
  • Student transportation
  • Drilling community wells to ensure clean drinking water
  • Assistance with emergency medical needs and natural disaster relief
  • In 2016 we committed to supplying Cobia to the Panama Food Bank
  • Local beach cleanups as part of annual World Oceans Day activities
  • Company recycling programs that benefit the community

Economic and Social Impact

  • 2015 statistics reported a 42% improvement in the Costa Arriba costal region’s poverty rate (Source: Panama’s Ministry of Economy and Finance Statistics, 2015)
  • The number of overall Open Blue employees in 2014 was 190 people, with 124 employees based in Costa Arriba. (Source: Corporate Responsibility Report, Open Blue 2014).
  • $14.5+ million in services and supplies contracted from over 850 Panamanian companies
  • Large investment of Open Blue Sea Farms, both in the major construction of the hatchery facility in Viento Frio, completed in 2014 and the Miramar base to serve the offshore farms
  • Workplace stability for rural Panama communities
  • In 2017, Open Blue was recognized with a National award for Exporter of the Year by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MICI), for their contribution to the growth, dynamism, and expansion of export trade from Panama

Environmental Impact:
For over a decade, Open Blue has been systematically revolutionizing the mariculture industry by moving it into the open ocean, far away from sensitive near shore ecosystems. Our farming operation is located 8 miles offshore where the waters are deep, and the currents are strong. Through proper site, technology and species selection we provide the fish with a superior growing environment. We are tracking, resolving and reporting on the challenges typically associated with aquaculture, including water quality, fish density, GMO feed, parasites, and freshwater use.

Highlights include:

  • 100% non-GMO diet
  • 100% sourcing of fish meal and oil from non-IUCN Red list of Threatened Species fisheries
  • 100% traceability through the lifecycle of the fish through full vertical integration from egg to plate
  • Benthic seafloor monitoring shows minimal and manageable effect to the seafloor
  • Open Blue cobia is high in Omega-3

In collaboration with the world’s leading scientific laboratories and universities, Open Blue has worked with researchers and scientists to review, understand, and develop scalable solutions that would serve as a replicable model for others. Valuable insights include:

  • Offshore technology suitable for deep water, open ocean aquaculture
  • Technological solutions for submersible feeding, inspection and cleaning
  • Farm location siting and requirements
  • Species selection
  • Brood stock selection
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Fish health management
  • Fish diets, optimal formulation at different stages of growth

Embracing the values of GLOBALG.A.P.:
Open Blue chose the GLOBALG.A.P. standard to launch our entry into the different certifications for several reasons:

  1. GLOBALG.A.P.  Aquaculture certification program is an internationally recognized program that provides a universal mark of Good Aquaculture Practice and encourages the production and marketing of safe food while protecting scarce resources.
  2. The GLOBALG.A.P. Aquaculture Standard covers the entire production chain, from broodstock, juveniles and feed suppliers to farming, harvesting and processing.
  1. It acts as a practical manual for our company to ensure food safety, minimal environmental impact, and compliance with animal welfare and worker health and safety requirements.

We added the GLOBALG.A.P. Friend of the Sea Add-On at the farm level because this covers the impact on water body sediment, the effect on the local community regarding access to drinking water and fishing areas, and social criteria by requiring GRASP.

Reduction of carbon footprint
At Open Blue, reducing our carbon footprint is an important focus for us as we continue our efforts to produce quality seafood in harmony with the ocean. There are several studies quantifying the carbon footprint for agricultural and seafood products (Tydemyers, SIK and SINTEF). These allow for comparison of aspects, such as species, transport mode and distance, and product form. Broadly, seafood production has a lower carbon footprint compared to meat production. When comparing seafood production to land-based production we are slightly higher than chicken, half of that of pork and one tenth of the carbon footprint of beef.

Feed production is a significant contributor to the carbon footprint for farmed seafood. By continuing our efforts to reduce the amount of feed needed to produce each unit of cobia and choosing highly efficient marine raw materials, we work together with our feed suppliers to continue to reduce the impact. Feed represents up to 90% of the ecological footprint of farmed cobia. We continue to work with our feed suppliers to show improved efficiencies, which will also assist us to achieve our goals of continuing to lower our carbon footprint.

Cobia, like all other fish, is cold blooded and uses less energy than warm blooded livestock. More energy is used to grow, and less energy is used to maintain body temperature. Cobia swims, which requires less energy than walking and so our fish convert a higher share of feed into growth. Cobia has a high edible yield because a large share of the fish is useable. All the by-products are used, also creating high efficiencies.

Energy use at the sea farm sites is low because we work with mother nature to supply the wind, current and sun energy for our farms. We track actions of others on the Carbon Disclosure Project to ensure we are implementing best practice solutions wherever they may be found.

Moving to frozen products and to portions and fillets has two advantages for reduction of carbon footprint. By shipping cut products our shipment weight is reduced. Frozen product will assist us to vary transportation to market options using the most energy efficient way possible. As well, supplying markets close to our farms in Panama is a significant priority for us, as we are working on opening markets this year in Mexico, Cuba, Costa Rica, Brazil and Peru.


From Fishing to Sustainable Farming