Another landbased salmon farm located in the USA


Another landbased salmon farm located in the USA

Feb. 23, 2018

The former Verso shuttered paper mill will be repurposed to supporting an on-land closed-containment recirculating salmon farm.

For the second time this month, an aquaculture entrepreneur has announced ambitious plans to build a land-based salmon farm in the US state of Maine.

The Whole Oceans recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) farm should produce about 20,000 metric tons of Atlantic salmon each year when it’s up and running, CEO Robert Piasio told the Bangor Daily News.

At full production, Whole Oceans will create hundreds of direct jobs and invest more than $250 million in Bucksport, Maine, on the site of a shuttered paper mill.

According to a press release from Whole Oceans, the longer-term plan is to produce 50,000t of salmon. Whole Oceans has pre-sold 100% of production for 10 years, the company said.

Groundbreaking on the site will start this year. “The time for RAS has arrived and Whole Oceans will make Bucksport a global leader in sustainable Atlantic salmon production,” said Piasio, in a statement.

“But this story is much bigger than just Whole Oceans. This story is also about the resiliency and determination of towns throughout Maine that make projects like this possible. Whole Oceans is entering a long term partnership with the community of Bucksport, a responsibility we accept with the greatest care, and together we will strive to make Whole Oceans a source of pride every single day,” he said.

The Whole Oceans announcement comes weeks of Nordic Aquafarms revealed its own ambitious RAS salmon project in Maine.

Nordic Aquafarms plans to construct a land-based salmon farm with an annual production capacity of 33,000t, 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 $450m 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.

Florida RAS salmon farm

As well as Whole Oceans and Nordic Aquafarms, another entrepreneur is developing a RAS salmon project on the US east coast, in Florida.

Undercurrent News visited the project, in Homestead, in January and interviewed Johan Andreassen, founder and CEO.

The plan is for an initial harvest of 800t by mid-2020. At maximum capacity, the first set of tanks will allow the plant to deliver 10,000t of salmon per year. But, if all goes well, Atlantic Sapphire will add more structures, growing capacity to 30,000t per year by 2022 and 90,000t by 2026 -- almost three times the goal set by Nordic Aquafarms.

By October of this year, Atlantic Sapphire will have the incubation part of its plant completed and eggs will have arrived from a company in Iceland.

RAS veteran-backed firm plans 10,000t farm

Also, as Undercurrent reported on Feb. 19, UK-registered Aquaculture Management & Holding Co -- which will trade under the name Aquabanq – is seeking investment for a 10,000t RAS facility to be built in the US, in addition to a farm in Latvia.

The firm, led by managing director AJ Shapiro and RAS veteran Bent Urup, is looking to begin construction of its Latvian facility this year. From here it will look to serve Europe as well as Asian markets, Shapiro told Undercurrent.

However, also underway are its plans to locate a second, larger, facility in the US, to serve that market, he said.

“We've had numerous sites in mind. We've looked at a couple in North Carolina and West Virginia, we want to stick close to the market; the key ones will be the east and West Coasts.”

“I think we'll pretty much be going east with the first 10,000t, and maybe west later,” he said. The firm is registered in the US, in the state of Wyoming.

Aquabanq is planning to build an onshore facility capable of producing 5,000t of Atlantic salmon and steelhead until 2023, and ultimately double the output to a total of 10,000t head-on gutted fish per year by 2025.