IJ Won, the owner of Marshallberg Farm, was Professor of Geophysics at North Carolina State University and founder/CEO of Geophex, a geophysical instrumentations company based in Raleigh, NC. He has a BS degree in mining engineering from Seoul National University in Korea and a PhD in geophysics from Columbia University in 1973.
Towards his retirement, Dr. Won collaborated with the NC State University faculty to advance the aquaculture industry. He initially funded NCSU to establish the Marine Aquaculture Research Center (MARC) on his farm.
Starting in 2008, with help from the NCSU professors, he built an advanced recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) as a commercial scale demonstration farm and started raising Osetra Sturgeon. Only recently, after more than ten years, the fish started producing caviar, their main commercial product.
In 2017, he acquired another sturgeon farm in Lenoir, NC, now known as Marshallberg Farm West. The two farms make the largest RAS sturgeon farm in North America. In addition to a small but critically important staff, Dr. Won is joined by Lianne, his daughter, and her husband, Brian to operate and manage the farm, and occasionally his wife, Sue, and two sons, Eugene and Henry.
Dr. Won recently wrote an essay entitled, “A Sturgeon Farmer’s Tale,” in the Aquaculture North America magazine, reflecting upon how he got into this and why we should continue advancing the aquaculture technology and industry.