Filer-based Riverence Holdings announced the acquisition of Clear Springs Food on Saturday.
Prior to the buyout, Clear Springs Foods was the largest producer of trout in the country, with Riverence just behind. Riverence is now the largest land-based producer of both steelhead and rainbow trout.
The acquisition gives Riverence an unprecedented portion of the market, a company news release said. Seventy percent of the nation’s trout market comes from Idaho farms, and Riverence is now responsible for the majority of that, though a few independent Idaho farms do still exist.
“We believe in aquaculture and sustainable, land-based production of seafood,” said Rob Young, CEO of Riverence in the release. “We have found a community of like-minded people in the Magic Valley. With this investment, we are strengthening our commitment to them and to setting tables across the country with premium, responsibly raised fish.”
Clear Springs Foods, which has been operating out of Buhl since 1966, is the fish industry’s leader in aquaculture science, according to its website. Riverence is hoping to further than knowledge.
“We’re starting to reimagine the potential of the U.S. trout industry,” said Jeff Jermunson, CEO of Clear Springs Foods, in the release. “We are honored to begin the next chapter of our company’s long history as part of the Riverence family.”
Riverence now operates a total of 14 trout production farms in Idaho, has contracts at seven additional farms, and produces 35 million pounds of unprocessed trout per year.
Riverence plans to maintain the Clear Springs Foods brand name and keep on all 450 employees at both companies.
According to Riverence officials, the company will manage trout from brooding to distribution in stores.
Considering Riverence is Magic Valley-based, the company has an unlikely founder. It was started and owned by David E. Kelley, a Los Angeles-based television writer and producer. His most well-known work includes "Big Little Lies," "Ally McBeal," "The Practice" and "Boston Legal."
Kelley said he started the company with the hopes of creating a more sustainable fish industry after seeing how fish species have suffered due to over-fishing and unhealthy farming techniques.
"If we don’t step in and endeavor to try and protect and save them somehow, we might not have them forever," said Kelley in a speech at the Aquarium of the Pacific. “I’m trying to protect and save something bigger than myself."
Riverence officials plan to make all its operations Best Aquaculture Practices-certified.
In addition to Riverence Farms and Clear Springs Foods, both Magic Valley businesses, Riverence also owns Riverence Brood, a fish egg farm in Washington state.