Maine’s taxes, townspeople might be attracting RAS

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Just before Nordic Aquafarms announced its plan to build a USD 150 million land-based grow-out in Belfast, Maine, last week, the town agreed to pay up to USD 240,000 over a six-year span to “to help get the project off the ground”, newspaper The Maine Republic, has reported.

The town even agreed to abandon a waterworks building to allow for the “major economic development” it sees in Nordic’s plans for 30,000 tonnes of produced salmon. Ahead of the company’s PR event last week, land and water-supply deals were reportedly penned.

Although the township’s water utility supplies and filters 200 million gallons to its current customers, the district also agreed to ramp up flows to sell at least 100 million gallons of water to Nordic each year for six years.

“The city will cover about half the cost of filtering that water annually, up to $120,000, for the first six years of the farm’s operation,” the newspaper reported. The Nordic building process is expected to slow but steady ahead of a planned 2020 start to “first fish”.

Of note, Maine might have attracted more interest from aquaculture equipment players than has been announced, and its tax regime might be why. The Republic reported that Nordic will pay from USD 1 million to USD 2 million in taxes on its USD 150 million investment “depending on … how much falls under Maine’s business equipment tax exemption”.