“Belfast Atlantic” could be the next retail salmon brand to emerge out of the US Northeast Seaboard, judging by early drawings and a note “leaked” to the press by Norway-based, Nordic Aquafarms, the company building a large, integrated production facility for 33,000 tonnes of salmon in Maine.
After local residents expressed alarm that 40 acres of land would be cleared, historic water-pumping buildings would be torn down and historical vistas destroyed, Nordic Aquafarms’ CEO, Erik Heim, issued a statement to assuage fears. In it, he said the pump house and local dam would likely stay, as the dam helped keep fresh groundwater at the aquaculture site.
“We have (concluded) that our branding of a Belfast Atlantic product may benefit greatly from building upon this heritage,” Heim said.
“When branding and labelling a product, it is important to be able to tell a story, and we propose to the community that our salmon story and labelling should build upon these local landmarks,” he said.
Drawings suggest a “a low-impact Scandinavian” façade will adorn the large grow-out facility’s public-facing wall, although designs are being evaluated, and the full range of available art will be shown to the public in six days.
Like Atlantic Sapphire, which is building a large, land-based facility near Miami, Nordic Aquafarms is saying its past experiences growing salmon on land have been the learning experiences that’ll help their big US projects on land succeed.
“While land-based production is still a maturing industry, Nordic Aquafarms has come a long way in understanding these projects, having acquired significant experience and know-how through staff and projects, and is now able to substantially reduce the level of risk in them,” Heim said. “The (USD 500 million) project in Belfast represents the next logical and natural step in Nordic Aquafarms’ development.”
Since SalmonBusiness last wrote of Maine, Nordic Aquafarms has been visited in Norway and in Denmark by a range of Maine suppliers, including Cianbro, Ransom Consulting and Rambøll of Portland.
Nordic Aquafarms has been visited in Norway and in Denmark by a number of Maine companies, including construction firm Cianbro of Pittsfield, environmental experts Ransom Consulting and a US-based operation of Danish engineering house, Rambøll. Nordic has said it is more than a year away from sourcing feed, and when sourced, it’ll come from “the region”.
To ease fears of the Maine project’s scale, Nordic Aquafarms has referred people to the construction of a giant, land-based Norwegian grow-out and smolt facility in southern Norway for affiliate entity, Fredrikstad Seafoods.
“The second phase of construction for this facility in Norway, which will begin this year, will provide the models for the grow-out and smolt facilities that would be built in Belfast,” a statement said, adding, “Thus the construction and design of the Belfast facility will be quality-assured in Norway one year ahead of progress in Belfast.”
“By the time we go into production in Maine, we will have been in Phase 1 salmon production in Norway for over two years.”
For now, permits from “various federal, state and city authorities” will have to be obtained. That process starts in May and will “likely run through the remainder of the year”.