Nordic Aquafarms says West Coast Salmon is a “start-up in the middle of the Nevada desert with utopian ambitions”

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Anger at comparison.

Nordic Aquafarms, which has long clashed with the anti-land-based activist group Upstream Watch, has written an opinion piece in the Press Herald saying the project is being misrepresented.

Faulty
Nordic Aquafarms founder and president Erik Heim, who is planning a 33,000 tonnes-a-year site in Maine, USA, said that Upstream Watch’s arguments “are faulty from beginning to end, and seek to discredit an important economic development project for Belfast”.

ILLUSTRATION: Nordic Aquafarms

Upstream Watch had written a piece criticising land-based technologies applied at the proposed scale. Though it also positively singled out West Coast Salmon’s proposed 15,000 metric tonnes per year land-based salmon farm in the Nevada desert as it “uses a minimal liquid discharge system”. “West Coast Salmon is using technology that is currently producing fish successfully at some 50 sites around the world,” wrote Upstream Watch’s director John Krueger.

“Utopian ideas”
The Israeli RAS manufacturer AquaMaof is providing the tech for the Nutreco-backed project.

In response, Heim wrote that “Upstream Watch has promoted zero discharge and other utopian ideas for land-based aquaculture that don´t exist at scale”.

“Comparing Nordic’s project in Belfast to start-ups like West Coast Salmon who have zero farms in operation is grossly misleading. Start-ups in this segment make all kinds of claims before the hard reality hits. While their vendor has built a number of farms, the vendor has yet to validate grow-out salmon farms at the scale Nordic operates today, and far from the scale it is hoping to pursue in the US. For another vendor to have strong opinions about a project they don´t know is unprofessional, and any claims made are questionable when the messenger here is a known opponent,” he added.

AquaMaof designed facilty for West Coast Salmon. ILLUSTRATION: AquaMaof

We’ll see in down the road
On social media, Nordic Aquafarms wrote that: “Comparing the experience that has been at work in Belfast to a Norwegian start-up in the middle of the Nevada desert with utopian ambitions is pretty far-fetched. We´ll see in down the road who will deliver a robust operation.”

West Coast Salmon CEO Henrik Krefting told SalmonBusiness that it “has not – and will not – comment on any specifics of other land-based projects. The reference to WCS opinions about Nordic Aquafarms in these articles is therefore not correct”.