Field Notes: Something Fishy?

Dive into the Tilapia Market and a Florida-Based Opportunity

Pete Weishaupt
4 min readJun 6, 2024

If you’re knee-deep in acquisition entrepreneurship — or maybe you know it as Entrepreneurship through Acquisition (ETA) — you’ve probably come across a few posts or podcasts where the entrepreneur ‘searcher’ bemoans the search process. Not me. Search is my favorite part. But maybe that’s because I’m not time constrained like many of you are. Sure, I have some tight geographic and financial constraints, but I find myself loving the search process. And occasionally I find myself going down the rabbit hole of “Damn, that looks like a really cool business”. Where I’m at, in the lower end of the market, your average ETA is hot for HVAC. I get it, but I can’t help being attracted to the unusual — the Mike Rowe Dirty Jobs — the enduring and profitable business; but I digress, you’re here for the tilapia farm.

The listing doesn’t have a lot of details, but at first glance the operation appeared turn-key. So, I was curious enough to do a little wavetop (you like that? Silverwave! lol) market research. (I even included a ‘tilapia farm’ how-to video at the bottom of the post.)

Turns out global tilapia is a $10 billion a year business, with the US being a major consumer. Yet, there are only about 137 or so tilapia farms in the US. Most of the imports are from China and LATAM. However, overall demand in the US is strong due to its affordability, culinary versatility, and a growing consumer preference for healthy, sustainable protein.

Most tilapia farms use aquaculture, to include outdoor ponds, tanks, and indoor recirculating aquaculture systems. And a majority of US-based farms are small to medium sized businesses focused on food-size tilapia, fingerlings, and broodstock. The largest is Blue Ridge Aquaculture in Virginia. They produce four million pounds of tilapia annually. At recent wholesale prices, that puts revenue at around $6 million, with only 35 employees. Something to keep in mind if you dig deeper on the Florida-based opportunity.

And as luck would have it, further research confirms Florida is indeed a great environment to own a tilapia farm. This is based on several favorable conditions. First, the warm climate year-round provides ideal conditions for raising tilapia, a tropical fish. Florida also has the fresh water resources required for tilapia, whether it’s ponds, tanks, or indoor recirculated aquaculture systems. In addition, Florida’s proximity to major markets and port facilities ensures the distribution of fresh tilapia both within the state and to other regions. And finally, Florida has multiple research institutions and extension services to support and promote aquaculture; to include tilapia.

Now let’s take a closer look at the operational setup, potential growth opportunities for the tilapia farm in Hendry County, FL:

Financial Overview

  • Asking Price: $1,499,000
  • Cash Flow: Not provided
  • Gross Revenue: Not provided
  • EBITDA: Not provided
  • FF&E (Furniture, Fixtures, & Equipment): Not specifically quantified but was mentioned as modern and efficient?
  • Inventory: Not provided
  • Real Estate: Included in asking price (seems like it’s the whole value here?)
  • Established: 2016

Business Operations

  • Location: Hendry County, FL
  • Industry: Aquaculture (Tilapia farming)
  • Employees: 3
  • Facilities: Includes a 10-acre fully operational fish farm with 120 fish pools, a mobile home for the owner/operator, and a cabana for staff.


Valuation and Price Justification:

  • Looks like the valuation is based on the value of the real estate and the turnkey nature of the operation.


  • The farm is described as fully operational with cutting-edge equipment, which could mean lower operational costs due to modern, efficient technology.
  • The turnkey operation, with training provided by the owner, reduces transition risks for a new owner.

Risks and Considerations:

  • The operation’s reliance on a few employees suggests that any turnover could impact production, especially if skilled labor is required.
  • While the area is optimal for aquaculture, competition in the vicinity could affect market share and pricing.

Opportunities for Growth:

  • There is room to expand the facility on the existing 10 acres, which could substantially increase production capacity.
  • Potential to diversify product offerings or enhance direct-to-consumer sales strategies, improving margins and market reach.
  • Implementing more advanced aquaculture technologies could further reduce operating costs and increase production efficiency.

Market and Location:

  • Located near major highways, the farm benefits from easy access to local and potentially regional markets.
  • Proximity to Clewiston enhances logistic efficiencies for both supply and distribution channels.

The asking price, largely influenced by the included real estate and operational setup, may be justified depending on the quality and age of the facilities and equipment. Given the operational and geographic strengths, along with expansion possibilities, this business has the potential for growth, assuming financial performance is strong and sustainable.

What do you think? Check it out and let me know!

About: Silverwave Field Notes combs through and analyzes thousands of businesses available for sale that may be of interest to entrepreneurs looking to acquire an existing business. We are not affiliated with the business listed for sale unless otherwise disclosed.