AquaBounty selects Kentucky for 10,000t farm

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US genetically engineered salmon pioneer AquaBounty Technologies has chosen the western Kentucky city of Mayfield for its second farm in the US.

Like the 1,200 metric ton facility in Albany, Indiana, where the company already is growing fish, the new operation will also raise its AquAdvantage salmon, though with a capacity of 10,000t.

Mayfield, which maintains a population of almost 10,000, was chosen after a search of some 230 sites, the company said, according to Undercurrent News.

“We are pleased to have identified a site in Mayfield as meeting or exceeding all selection criteria for our third farm,” AquaBounty CEO Sylvia Wulf said. “The Graves County community and site location met all suitability and technical requirements. At both the state and local level, we found a welcome economic environment and favorable incentives for our business.”

The company is negotiating the details of its potential site purchase as well as “conducting due diligence, and [is] moving forward as quickly as possible to finalize the transaction”, she added.

Construction is set to begin next year and end by 2023. Wulf previously told Undercurrent News that a third farm, after the Indiana site and a second site in Prince Edward Island, Canada, will push the company into profitability.

“It takes that third farm. With that third farm, we would expect to be profitable as an enterprise,” she said.

AquAdvantage is an Atlantic salmon modified with snippets of genetic code from Chinook and the eel-like ocean pout to enable much faster growth.

The company first received approvals from US and Canadian regulators in 2015 and 2016 stating that its fish is safe for consumers to eat.

A longstanding “import alert” from the US Food and Drug Administration, banning the company from bringing its genetically modified eggs from its Canadian facility into the US was lifted in 2019.