Nordic Aquafarms of southern Norway has entered into agreements for 40 acres of property in Belfast, Maine, to build one of the largest land-based salmon farms in the world, the company announced late Tuesday.
An initial investment of USD 150 million is expected to create 60 new, skilled and more will be added later.
“When fully built, the facility will represent a total capital investment of USD 450 million to USD 500 million and be based on proprietary designs under development,” a statement said, adding, that the project inclludes land-based grow-out, hatcheries and fish-processing.
Belfast, a town of 7,000 residents, is said to offer supply chain “partners” and “abundant access to sea- and freshwater resources that provide a good match with land-based aquaculture requirements”, a statement said. The company spent six months finding the spot in Main, said Nordic president Erik Heim in a statement.
Such is the scale of the salmon-growing planned, that Nordic plans the indoor recirculated aquaculture system, or RAS, to be built in several phases.
“We will emphasize fish welfare, product quality and a green footprint in our operations,” Heim, a promoter of RAS with interests in Norway and Denmark, said in a statement.
“Phase 1, with a capacity of some 13,000 t, will be the largest land-based facility project ever built in one construction phase. It will house the largest aquaculture tanks in the world, currently being designed in Norway,” Heim added.
Work is set to start in 2019 with plans for “first fish” in 2020.
Atlantic salmon for the U.S. Eastern Seaboard market is the stated aim of the business, and the company said that once built, the full-scale project will equal about eight percent of current U.S. demand for salmon.
“We aim to have our necessary permits in hand by the end of this year,” Heim stated, adding, “Our facility will be competitive in terms of both investment and production costs. The large scale of the facility and its proprietary designs are key to its competitiveness.”
U.S. Senator, Susan Collins, and Congressman, Bruce Poliquin, were on-hand for the press conference.
“Our state has a proud heritage as a leader in the seafood industry, and land-based aquaculture especially is going to be an important part of our 21st Century economy,” Congressman Poliquin stated.
“I want to thank Nordic Aquafarms for their investment in Maine and the new jobs and opportunities it will create. My office is fully committed to doing our part in helping our job creators, like Nordic Aquafarms, grow and succeed in Maine,” Senator Collins was quoted as saying.