December 7, 2021
Constructions of land-based aquaculture projects to begin in Maine, US
Three major land-based aquaculture projects – Atlantic salmon farms planned by Nordic Aquafarms and Whole Oceans and The Kingfish Company's yellowtail farm – are all set to initiate construction in coming months in the US state of Maine.
Fredrikstad, Norway-based Nordic Aquafarms won a key legal victory in November 2021 and, in August 2021, obtained the last permit it needed to begin construction on its land-based salmon farm in Belfast, Maine, where it hopes to grow up to 33,000 tonnes of salmon annually.
In Jonesport, Maine, The Kingfish Company's plan to build a land-based farm to produce up to 8,500 tonnes of yellowtail per year advanced with the November approval of two final permits by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. On November 29, it announced it has concluded the purchase of land, enabling the "to advance to pre-construction design and engineering on schedule."
"These announcements represent a major milestone in The Kingfish Company's execution of its expansion strategy, and its focus on technology driven local production of high-value import dependent seafood in the EU and the US," Kingfish Company founder and chief executive officer Ohad Maiman said in a press release. "Today, Kingfish Maine is one step closer to achieving fully operational status, and we are ready to build on our proven blueprint, and scale our technology locally to service our network of distributors nationwide."
Kingfish Maine is a subsidiary of The Kingfish Company, which is based in Kats, The Netherlands, where it also operates a land-based yellowtail farm. The company said it will "deploy the same advanced technology and operational excellence proven in the Netherlands to become the largest producer of yellowtail kingfish in the US once the Jonesport facility is operational."
In Bucksport, Maine, Whole Oceans' plan to build a land-based Atlantic salmon farm capable of eventually producing up to 50,000 tonnes of Atlantic salmon annually has been on hold for two years, despite receiving approval from the Bucksport Planning Board and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection in 2019. The company, owned by Portland, Maine-based Emergent Holdings, originally planned to break ground in the spring of 2020 but pushed back the date due to a number of factors, including its acquisition of 10-acre adjoining parcel a year ago that necessitated a redesign of the project.
"Aquaculture at this level is complex, and the addition of [the second parcel] creates even more opportunities that must be considered," Whole Oceans senior project coordinator Michael Thompson said at the time. "So, while you may not see a shovel in the ground yet, know that our team is working hard to develop the best designs that will result in a world-class facility for Bucksport and the state of Maine."
Whole Oceans spokesperson Angie Helton told SeafoodSource on December 3 the company expects to make public "significant updates" on the project in the first quarter of 2022. She declined further on-the-record comment until those updates are made.
Bucksport town manager Susan Lessard confirmed Whole Oceans has paid all its taxes owed and is in full compliance with its permits. The company's approval from the town planning board remains valid for five years and Lessard said she expected the company would likely apply for an extension given the size and complexity of the project.