Bell Aquaculture Announces Completion of Corporate Headquarters and Processing Facilities in Redkey, IN, For Nation's Largest Yellow Perch Farm

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Bell Aquaculture has completed construction of its corporate headquarters and processing facilities in Redkey, Indiana. Darien (Illinois)-based Wight & Company, began work on the 28,000-square-foot Redkey project in July. Bell Aquaculture announced operation of the nation's largest yellow perch farm in March 2008; production facilities are located about five miles from Redkey in Albany, northeast of Indianapolis.

Bell Aquaculture, owner and operator of the nation's largest yellow perch (Perca flavescens) farm, has completed build out of its corporate headquarters and processing facilities in Redkey, Indiana. Darien (Illinois)-based Wight & Company, began work on the 28,000-square-foot Redkey construction project in July, four months after Bell Aquaculture announced its launch in March.

The announcement is made by Michael Miller, Bell Aquaculture President & COO, who says construction was completed on schedule in Redkey; the complex is about five miles from the fish farm production facilities in Albany.

"Our new Redkey complex is a fully functioning processing center for the Bell Perch™ received from the Albany facility. The newly harvested fish will be processed and packaged as breaded and unbreaded fillets, being ready for shipment within 48 hours of harvest," explains Miller. "It's unique that we process our own harvested fish, thereby maintaining vertical integration and control over every step of the process from 'farm to fork.'"

The Redkey headquarters will house sales & marketing, human resources, accounting and management. The complex will house approximately 120 employees at full capacity. Initial production will average 5,000 pounds per month, ramping up to 30,600 pounds per month by August 2009.

Last week, Bell Aquaculture announced launch of a $15 million equity raise, retaining SDR Ventures, Inc., a Denver-based investment bank to spearhead the campaign. The equity raise is the first step in scaling the yellow perch farm from a current annual production level of 180,000 pounds of fillets per year to 8.5 million pounds of fillets per year by 2015.

And, last month, the Purdue University Department of Agricultural Communication announced that fish would be returning to the February 7 Alumni Fish Fry after a 10-year absence. The Indiana Soybean Alliance is sponsoring the reintroduction of fish to the Ag Alumni Fish Fry, specifically Indiana-raised Bell Perch™ yellow perch from Bell Aquaculture.

"The greatest difficulty for restaurants has been the availability of yellow perch out of Lake Michigan and Lake Erie - the two predominant lakes for the supply of wild-caught yellow perch," explains Miller during an interview on WTRC NewsRadio 1340/Elkhart last year. "Which means the restaurants that were typically serving customers who enjoy the taste of yellow perch, just cannot get the supply."

Further, Miller said: "The yellow perch that we're raising, the Bell Perch™, is a higher quality product from the standpoint that there is no real possibility of contaminants entering into their food chain during their growth. We have absolute control over our water supply, since they are raised in-house there is no opportunity for bird predation, pesticides or herbicides to get into the flesh of the fish that you and I might sit down to eat."

Yellow perch is one of the most popular of all North American pan fish. It has a mild, sweet flavor with firm white flesh and low fat levels, making it a favorite in residential and commercial kitchens alike. In years past, yellow perch was the fish typically served at Friday night fish fries in the Great Lakes region.

The vision for a yellow perch farm was born when Miller became personally interested in aquaculture in 1994. After studying this science and becoming involved in the Indiana Aquaculture Association, Inc. (IAAI), he developed a dream to bring the local and personal favorite, yellow perch, back to the area. Miller has been involved with the IAAI for 12 years, including holding the position of secretary/treasurer until recently.

As Miller says, "What started out as an idea on a Post-it note, ended up being 17 file cabinets of information." So after more than 12 years of research, consulting fish experts and a lot of hard work, Bell Aquaculture was formed.

Bell Aquaculture is committed to these four guiding principles in producing its fish:

1) Controlled environment
2) No toxins
3) Healthy growth
4) Gentle to the environment

About Bell Aquaculture

Bell Aquaculture, based in Redkey, IN, is a producer and processor of farm-raised fish for restaurants and consumer use. Initial production facilities, dedicated to yellow perch, are located in Albany, IN, and comprise the nation's largest yellow perch farm. More information about Bell Aquaculture is available at http://www.bellaquaculture.com

Contacts:
Jodi Bertram, Realistic Marketing, 913-484-7361
Maggie Holben, Absolutely PR - http://www.absolutelypr.com - 303-984-9801

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