When we first started out floating the idea of creating Ohio's 1st successful saltwater shrimp cultivation facility, there weren't many believers at the time. Nonetheless, we saw a ripe opportunity to not only feed the ever-growing crowd of American seafood fanatics (shrimp is easily the most consumed seafood by Americans at 4.0 lbs/person annually), but also offer a much healthier alternative to imported stock, which accounts for more than 90% of the American market supply. How, you might ask?
1) We sell our product as fresh as you can get it. We "harvest" for you by netting them out of one of our cultivation tanks. In other words, we sell shrimp live!
2) The shrimp are fed a high protein diet developed from years of rigorous research. There are NO artificial enhancements like growth hormones and antibiotics. Our full growth process takes 3-4 months, but it is well worth the wait! The sweetness, tenderness, and freshness is unmatched. Our shrimp gets the "Best Choice" award from The Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch Program.
3) There are NO salty waste-water effluent byproducts from our production system. All the water is reused & filtered naturally with the bacteria (the bio-floc) that have a mutually symbiotic relationship with the shrimp. In essence, they need each other to thrive.
4) Our indoor saltwater tanks make it unnecessary to destroy more natural marine ecosystems like the shrimp's mangroves. The open oceans are already over-polluted and over-fished as it is.
We, The Ocean's Friend, have a vision offering the freshest seafood to the public without compromising the natural environment.
When he is not preoccupied with his day-job as a chemical engineer in industry, Ashtyn is busy working at TOFA, his start-up right out of college in May 2015. To keep it short, he has a Bachelor of Science in Biochemical Engineering from the University of Southern California. He's constantly working on every aspect of the aquaculture operation whether it be in accounting, sales, R&D, design engineering, water chemistry, thermal engineering, et al. The smallest and largest problems are all problems that need to be solved, in his eyes. He loves every bit of being a biochemical engineer but he doesn't get too much biology in his professional engineering career. Luckily, TOFA allows him to get all the biology research he needs! Fight On Trojans!
Ashtyn is very fortunate to have the help of his family at TOFA. It is hard to take care of an operation as large as this alone, even if it wasn't just his side-venture. His Sister, Ida, supports him with research throughout the year, especially on shrimp feed technology. His Mother and Father, Carol and Chao, tend to the day-to-day farm operation with him (it's hard to be at multiple locations at once and also go to work!). One reason why Ashtyn started to the farm in the first place is to provide something substantial and satisfying for his parents to do during their retirement years.
In addition to working in industry and working at the farm, Ashtyn also serves as the VP of the Ohio Aquaculture Association and serve as a board member for the Ohio Aquaculture Cooperative, which is in its infancy. Feel free to contact him about his own operation along with his work for Ohio's Aquaculture Industry.