Eyeing 5,000 t, Aquabanq hurries new US RAS project

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Yet another company has divulged plans to farm salmon in the U.S. market.

Wyoming-based Aquabanq, it has been learned, is “accelerating” plans for a 5,000-tonne facility based on recirculated aquaculture tech, or RAS, by 2022.

With others announcing large-scale projects in the U.S., those plans have been brought forward by a year. Now, Aquabanq chief exec, AJ Shapiro, says five more RAS units will be added to double production to 10,000 t by 2025.

Shapiro said the salmon price, too was driving the project forward.

“Despite Norwegian analyst predictions (cites SpareBank1) for Atlantic salmon prices falling below USD7 per kilo in 2018, the spot price for Atlantic salmon recovered quickly and hit USD7.96 per kg late last week,” Shapiro said, citing the the Nasdaq Salmon Index and Fish Pool.

“(At that price), we can easily compete with (open-pen) cage farming operators as our production costs are on a par at this point,” Shapiro said, adding that, “Unlike our competitors, we can guarantee a year-round production.”

The RAS system entails rearing fish in large circular tanks with movable compartments in two closed-loop channels.

Though in Wyoming, Aquabanq Inc. is a subsidiary of UK-based Aquaculture Management and Holding Co. Ltd whose Atlantic salmon and steelhead production capacity in Europe is slated to reach 4,500 t by 2021. Aquaculture Management is led by AJ Shapiro.