Massive landbased aquaculture project planned for Maine

 Responsible Aquaculture

30 Jan. 2018

Massive land-based aquaculture project planned for Maine, USA

Nordic Aquafarms plans 33,000t land-based salmon farm

After international market assessments and comprehensive land site searches, Nordic Aquafarms has entered into agreements for a large property in Maine to develop one of the largest land-based salmon farms globally.

The agreements are for a 40-acre property in the outskirts of the town of Belfast. The area has abundant access to sea and freshwater resources that provide a good match with land-based aquaculture requirements. “Finding an ideal site in Maine has been a six-month project”, said Nordic Aquafarms CEO Erik Heim.

Nordic Aquafarms plans to construct a land-based salmon farm with an annual production capacity of 33,000 metric tons (66 million pounds), in several phases.

This equals approximately 8% of US consumption of salmon, it noted. The project will involve all-in total capital investments of between $450 million and $500m by the time it is complete.

The first phase will involve investments of up to $150m. The facility will be an end-to-end operation, including hatcheries and fish processing.

Nordic Aquafarms’ interest in Maine has been welcomed by Maine politicians and commercial interests, the firm said. The company also part-owns Danish recirculation aquaculture system facility Sashimi Royal, which is in the midst of its first harvests of yellowtail kingfish and first sales.

“US senator Angus King, congressman Bruce Poliquin and the governor of Maine Paul LePage have all met with Nordic Aquafarms. Positive and constructive dialogues regarding transatlantic business relationships were pursued.”

“Aquaculture is a growing force in Maine’s economy, bringing new jobs and opportunities to our state’s fishing industry,” said King. “Nordic Aquafarms’ facility will build on our state’s rich fishing traditions and promote innovation and sustainability that can help Belfast and the surrounding community thrive.”

Nordic Aquafarms will aim to develop production with a low impact discharge of water free of chemicals and medications, renewable energy solutions and recycling of all waste resources. “We look forward to becoming a responsible and contributing member of the Maine seafood industry”, said Heim.

“With the signing of these agreements, Nordic Aquafarms has formally shown its intention to establish a world leading Norwegian-US business within the land-based fish farming industry,” said chairman Lars-Henrik Roren.

The company will now proceed with final due diligence, planning and permitting for the facility, it said. Phase one —  for some 13,000t production capacity — will be the largest land-based facility project ever raised in one construction phase, it claimed.

It will house the largest aquaculture tanks in the world, and new “disruptive solutions”, currently being designed by an experienced team in Norway. Construction start is planned for 2019.

“This is a large project which will place great demands on Nordic Aquafarms in the coming years. We are therefore stepping up investment in highly qualified people and international partnerships”, Heim added.

The project is expected to create close to 60 new high-skill jobs in Maine in the first expansion stage, and many new commercial relations between the Norwegian and Maine business communities.

Nordic Aquafarms established its US subsidiary in 2017 as the vehicle for its US growth strategy. Heim — a dual Norwegian/US citizen — is president of the new firm.