Norway-based Nordic Aquafarms will develop one of the largest land-based salmon farms, 39 miles southwest of Bangor, on 40 acres near Belfast, Maine.
The area has abundant access to sea- and freshwater resources that provide a good match with land-based aquaculture requirements, company officials said. Maine was chosen for its pristine location, cold water conditions, its seafood profile and its proximity to major consumer markets in the North-eastern USA. The project is expected to create close to 60 new high-skill jobs in Maine in the first expansion stage.
As a positive contribution to Maine´s seafood industry, Nordic Aquafarms will be developing production with a low impact discharge of water free of chemicals and medications, renewable energy solutions and recycling of all waste resources, according to company officials.
“Finding an ideal site in Maine has been a six-month project”, says Nordic Aquafarms CEO Erik Heim. “We look forward to becoming a responsible and contributing member of the Maine seafood industry. 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.”
Nordic Aquafarms plans to construct a land-based salmon farm with 33,000 tons (66 million pounds) annual production capacity, in several phases. This equals approximately 8 percent of US consumption of salmon. The project will involve all-inn total capital investments between $450 to 500 million by the time it is complete. The first phase will involve investments of up to $150 million. The facility will be an end-to-end operation, including hatcheries and fish processing.
Chairman of Nordic Aquafarms, Lars-Henrik Røren ads, “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. We have experienced a great attitude and commercial willingness from our Maine counterparties. Nordic Aquafarms will over the coming quarters do its utmost to complete a final investment decision to bring more than 30.000 tons per year fresh, locally farmed Atlantic salmon to the US consumers.”
“From our very first meeting we recognized that Nordic Aquafarms is exactly the kind of successful, innovative company we need in Maine to help grow our economy and create the jobs of the future,” said Peter DelGreco, CEO of Maine & Company. “Nordic Aquafarms has demonstrated a commitment and passion for producing high quality seafood in accordance with the highest sustainable and environmental standards. We are excited to follow them as they become an important and responsible member of Maine’s business and sustainable food community.”
Nordic Aquafarms will now proceed with final due diligence, planning and permitting for the facility. Phase 1 for some 13,000 tons production capacity, will be the largest land-based facility project ever raised in one construction phase. 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 in 2019.
Nordic Aquafarms established the US subsidiary, Nordic Aquafarms INC, in 2017 as the vehicle for its US growth strategy. Erik Heim, the CEO of Nordic Aquafarms and a dual Norwegian/US citizen, is president of the new subsidiary. His objective is to bring together the best of Norway and the US in a high-value growth company in Maine.