Offshore aquaculture company Forever Oceans has signed an agreement with the Brazilian government for a 64,200 hectare farming license that will allow the company to produce fish up to nearly 10 miles off the country's coast, a deal that could make Brazil a key player in the world of offshore aquaculture production.

The area, more than three times larger than Washington DC, includes two zones, together representing the largest offshore license ever given for an aquaculture operation.

The initial 20-year agreement authorizes Forever Oceans to raise fish within automated enclosures off the coast of the state of Bahia, in northeast Brazil, the home to the vast majority of the country's shrimp farming.

Forever Oceans will farm amberjack, known locally as "olho de boi" or remeiro.

An onshore hatchery in Ilheus, Bahia, will raise fingerlings from eggs for placement in large deep-ocean enclosures.

Initially, 24 automated enclosures are planned inside the two ocean zones.

Forever Oceans CEO Bill Bien met Thursday with Jorge Seif Junior, secretary of Aquaculture and Fisheries of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply to sign the agreement, enabling an operation that is expected to create up to 500 jobs over the next eight years.

“With a coastline of more than 8,500 kilometers (5,280 miles), Brazil is one of the main frontiers for fish production, generating, in addition to healthy food, employment and income,” said Seif.

In 2018, the global marine aquaculture market produced 7.3 million metric tons of finfish valued at $35.4 billion (€30.9 billion). The global demand for finfish from marine aquaculture is forecast to grow threefold to 21 million metric tons by 2050.

In addition to the new site in Brazil, the US-based company has a research and technology facility in Hawaii, and offshore operations in Panama, and plans an offshore operation in Indonesia.