Bell Aquaculture, owner and operator of the nation’s largest yellow perch (Perca flavescens) farm, has retained SDR Ventures Inc., a Denver-based investment bank to raise $15 million of equity capital. The announcement was made by Michael Miller, Bell Aquaculture president and COO. This equity raise is the first step in scaling the yellow perch farm from a current annual production level of 208,000 pounds of fillets per year to 8.5 million pounds of fillets per year by 2015.

“Rarely do you see a young company with the focus, commitment and vision exhibited by Bell Aquaculture,” Chris Bouck, SDR Ventures founder, said in a press release. “Through significant capital investment and partnerships with the leading minds in the industry, Bell Aquaculture has perfected the model for a profitable, large-scale indoor water-recirculating aquaculture farm. We look forward to securing the capital, and more importantly, linking Bell Aquaculture with a financial partner, or partners, that share the company's vision and commitment.”

The additional equity capital will augment the nearly $50 million capital investment made to-date, including $25 million of founder capital and $25 million of sale-leaseback financing for construction and capital improvements. The new capital will accelerate the company's production of yellow perch: a fish species with a strong regional demand and dwindling wild-caught supply. Bell Aquaculture's clean technology offers a renewable food source that will combat the recent and significant decline in commercially caught supply of yellow perch, a popular North American pan fish.