In another blow to local food production, Maui’s Kulahaven Farms is shutting down operations



MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) – Hawaii’s first and only aquaponic rainbow trout farm is winding down operations at the end of the year. However, they still cling to the hope of revitalization in the future.

After four years of operation, Kulahaven Farms is closing its doors. Founder and CEO John Dobovan says they were only in phase 1 of their business plan.

The farm is located in the backcountry of Maui. They sell certified organic watercress to retailers in Maui and Times supermarkets in Oahu. Their rainbow trout is also sold at the world famous Mama’s Fish House in Paia.

In 2021, they produced over 200,000 meals, but recent economic challenges have heavily impacted their operations. They were also hampered by a major power outage that interrupted their activities in August.

All these factors left them with no other choice.

“We have been threatening to lose the lease since COVID hit. We lost half of our income overnight and it didn’t come back for a very long time,” Dobovan said.

“Our electricity bill, for example, has increased by 50%. We have not raised our rates,” he added. “We are doing this because we are very concerned about Hawaii’s food security and I just need to find partners who are also concerned about their presence.”

They plan to continue fishing until the end of the year, with around 3,000 trout remaining in the house.

Kulahaven Farms says they are exploring other options for farmland in Maui, and they hope to move into the next phase of their business plan, which is to build hundreds of small partner farms in Hawaii.

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