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Yellowfin tuna biz concept a winner

VIRGINIA KEY, Fla. -- For the second year in a row, judges at the annual University of Miami (UM) School of Business Entrepreneurship Competition awarded prizes to a sustainable fisheries project developed by students from the UM Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. At this year's 7th annual competition, John Stieglitz, a Marine Affairs and Policy graduate student, won runner-up and $3,000 in the competition's High-Potential Venture category. His venture, Blue Ocean Aquaculture, focuses on the production and shipment of sustainably cultured juvenile yellowfin tuna for the billion-dollar global offshore aquaculture industry and the capture-based tuna aquaculture industry.

Originally from Miami, Stieglitz received his undergraduate degree in Environmental Science from the University of Denver. Following years of charter fishing experience and Florida Keys/Everglades fish population research, he entered the University of Miami's Aquaculture Program in 2007. Stieglitz was awarded the Rosenstiel School's 2008 Iversen Award for Aquaculture.

Last year, classmates Aaron Welch and Ron Hoenig, both graduate students in the Rosenstiel School's Aquaculture Program, won first place in the High-Potential Venture category for their sustainable aquaculture concept designed to produce and sell valuable "goggle eye" bait retailers throughout the Sunshine State.

"We are very proud of the success Rosenstiel graduate students have had in this competition. It underscores the importance of sustainable aquaculture development and the technology we are capable of creating and delivering," said Dr. Daniel Benetti, professor and director of the UM Aquaculture Program. "Further proof of our recent success is that NOAA and the National Marine Fisheries Service have just funded our team to begin to look at growout technologies for two new species, blackfin tuna and goggle-eye." Stieglitz, Hoenig and Welch will be assuming leading roles in these projects.

Established in 2003, the School's Entrepreneurship Competition is open to all University of Miami students. Individuals or teams of students must first submit a concept synopsis, outlining a novel idea for a product, service, or business in one of the two categories. This year, 74 entries were submitted, from which 28 went on to the second stage to be formalized into detailed business plans. From those, 18 finalists were selected to present their ideas to a panel of judges that included business executives, entrepreneurs and venture investors. The winners were announced at an awards luncheon.

"As a leader in entrepreneurship education and research, the School of Business has an important role to play in providing students with the experience, resources, and opportunities they need to create enterprises from the ground up," said Barbara E. Kahn, dean of the University of Miami School of Business Administration. "This year's winners, as well as many of the other entries, represent entrepreneurship at its best and we are delighted to give them a boost in their efforts to achieve success in the marketplace."


Contact: Barbra Gonzalez
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

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