Ballard Partners has signed a lobbying agreement with aquaculture company Atlantic Sapphire, federal disclosures show.
The Miami-based company is constructing what will be the world’s largest land-based salmon recirculating aquaculture system.
The salmon farm is being built in four phases, with final completion expected in 2030. When finished, the South Florida site is expected to provide more than 30,000 jobs and capture as much as 12% of the domestic salmon market.
The company says the first batch of product grown at the facility will be delivered much sooner — the current target is the fourth quarter of this year.
It also operates a salmon farm, or “Bluehouse,” in Denmark.
Atlantic Sapphire was founded in 2010 by Norwegian salmon entrepreneurs Johan Andreassen and Bjorn-Vegard Lovik. The pair pioneered the use of cleanerfish in Norway in the 1990s as a natural way of fighting sea lice in net pen salmon farming. Later, Danish recirculation aquaculture expert Thue Holm joined to flesh out the recirculating aquaculture system concept.
The idea of starting a farm in the US was borne out of a drive for sustainability — despite producing a sustainable product, delivering it abroad produced a massive carbon footprint.
According to the lobbying disclosure filed by Ballard Partners, firm founder Brian Ballard and lobbyist Jose Diaz will help the company with “economic development opportunities for domestic aquaculture and issues related to trade.”
Atlantic Sapphire is the latest client signed by Ballard Partners’ fast-growing Washington, D.C. branch.
Since expanding to the nation’s capital, the firm has quickly risen to the top on K Street thanks to Ballard’s ties to the Donald Trump administration. He chaired the Trump Victory organization in Florida during the 2016 presidential election. More recently, Ballard was named co-chair of the host committee for the 2020 Republican National Convention after it was relocated to Jacksonville.
Ballard Partners’ growth at the federal level hasn’t been to the detriment of their Florida operation. Newly filed lobbying compensation reports show Ballard Partners was the top-earning firm in the state last year, collecting nearly $20 million in fees from its 200-plus clients.