Seafood News

With Maine property officially purchased, Whole Oceans moves ahead with planned salmon RAS facility

Madelyn Kearns

May 23, 2019
BUCKSPORT - Recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) company Whole Oceans has completed the purchase of a parcel of property in Bucksport, Maine, U.S.A., where it plans to raise Atlantic salmon, the firm announced on 21 May.

A sale agreement for the site, which was once a Verso paper mill, was reached between American Iron and Metal (AIM) and the Emergent Holdings-owned Whole Oceans as of Wednesday, 21 May, and is being viewed as a milestone achievement reached after many months of permitting and negotiations, the parties explained in a press release.

“The progress on the Whole Oceans project in Bucksport, Maine, is exceeding expectations,” said Whole Oceans President Jason Mitchell. “It’s amazing what can be achieved when the community, local government, and business collaborate toward common goals. Advances in permitting, site diligence, design, and construction planning really highlight the opportunity that this project delivers.”

“Bucksport is an optimal location for this type of operation, and we are looking forward to a long-term relationship with the town of Bucksport, and to making this community a world leader in our industry,” Mitchell added.

According to Jeff McGlin, the vice president of AIM Development, USA LLC, “American Iron and Metal (AIM) is happy that the efforts of various stakeholders have culminated today in the successful conclusion of the sale by AIM of a portion of the former Bucksport Mill site to Whole Oceans.”

Maine Governor Janet Mills said the new RAS facility in Bucksport will bring more jobs to the state, generating added economic prosperity.

“My administration is thrilled to welcome Whole Oceans to Maine,” Governor Mills said. “This investment will provide good-paying jobs for hard-working Mainers, help build on our heritage industries and diversify our economy and offer promising opportunities for continued growth in the future. I applaud Whole Oceans and look forward its success in Bucksport and the region.”

“We in Bucksport are proud to be developing our community into new and exciting industries, such as aquaculture by Whole Oceans,” noted Maine State Senator Kim Rosen, of Penobscot County. “The way our community has embraced Whole Oceans is a wonderful tribute to our communities’ openness to change.”

Whole Oceans’ values align well with those that are important for Bucksport, Town Manager Susan Lessard said.

“We look forward to a long-term partnership with Whole Oceans as they develop their land-based aquaculture industry here in Bucksport," Lessard said. “Their commitment to the environment, to setting the standard for this emerging industry, and for being a good corporate citizen in our community has been well received by the people of Bucksport.”

Later this year, Whole Oceans plans to break ground on the RAS facility, which is expected to initially produce 5,000 metric tons (MT) of Atlantic salmon annually, before quickly growing to 10,000 MT production annually. As time goes on, the company plans on increasing the facility’s capacity to 20,000 MT per year, boosting its regional capacity to 50,000 MT.

Currently, Whole Oceans – which is owned by Emergent Holdings, a private investment partnership formed exclusively to invest in aquaculture and agricultural markets in North America – is actively seeking sites for production on the U.S. West Coast as well.

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