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Entrepreneurs

2016 CEA Winner In Biotechnology: Atlantic Biotechnology

By Laura Moore, posted May 6, 2016
Richard Huse, founder/executive director | Year Founded: 2015 | No. of Employees: 1FT, 2PT (Photo by Mark Steelman)

After graduating from University of North Carolina Wilmington with a degree in marine biology, Richard Huse had a decision to make.

“I was either going to go into a master’s program or try to start something on my own,” Huse said. 

He was thinking of something “half aquaculture and half business,” and after having time to think during an eight-hour plane ride to France, Atlantic Biotechnology was born.

And although Atlantic Biotechnology is less than a year old, it is making great strides in the world
of aquaculture. 

Serving reef aquarium hobbyists and ornamental aquaculture facilities, Atlantic Biotechnology provides supplemental feed for their coral reef aquacultures to enable them to work as self-sustaining ecosystems. The zooplankton starter culture provides a food sources for larval and reef fishes and corals.   

“Atlantic Biotechnology is a bespoke zooplankton culture facility. We offer laboratory grade living copepod cultures, completely free of any outside contaminants that may be harmful to the target system,” said Huse, founder and executive director.

Making a sustainable environment inside and outside of tanks is the company’s main focus. Huse started the company by taking the necessary steps to breed open water fish in captivity and saw the challenge in creating a primary feed for them. 

“Our aim is to make this aquaculture more available, so less need to be taken from reef systems,” Huse said.  

Marine biology, especially aquaculture has been an interest of Huse since childhood, and having previously worked in an aquaculture research facility, he felt comfortable providing pure resources and starter cultures for early life-stage fish. 

“By the end of summer 2016 we aim to expand our product line from one species to four, offering a breadth of sizes and nutritional profiles. We hope to soon make it feasible to use our copepods in large-scale larva culture of fish intended for human consumption,” Huse said.

With only eight months into it, Huse is ready to move from a garage space to a 600-square-foot facility on North Cardinal Drive and is using the few thousand dollars he makes a month to reinvest in more tanks and better advertising. At the moment, Huse is the only full-time employee with a few part-time employees who help him with the business needs. 

“It is a really spread-out market, so we need to work on how to reach out to potential customers,” Huse said. “Our goal is to make sure our target markets know about us.”

And the company plans on switching from online sales to retail shops by May.

Currently, the company provides zooplankton to facilities across the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Netherlands. 

“The reach is fairly large, and it is an undersaturated market,” Huse said. “The profit market is large, and we would like to shade out the rest of the market.”

For more info about the Coastal Entrepreneur Awards, click here.

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