A NORWEGIAN aquaculture company has announced plans to build one of the world’s largest land based salmon farms more than 3,000 miles from home in the United States.
The eventual $500 million project by Nordic Aquafarms will be based in the state of Maine, on the outskirts of a small coastal town called Belfast.
Nordic Aquafarms said that after international market assessments and comprehensive land site searches, it has entered into agreements for a property in Maine to develop what would be one of the largest land based salmon farms internationally.
CEO Erik Heim said they have secured a 40-acre property near Belfast, which has a population of around 7,000 people.
‘The area has abundant access to sea and freshwater resources that provide a good match with land based aquaculture requirements. Finding an ideal site in Maine has been a six-month project.’
Helm unveiled the plan before an audience of 100 people at the University of Maine Hutchinson Centre, saying Belfast was chosen after a search that started in Japan and China, then took stock of Ireland and Spain before settling on the United States, New England, Maine, and finally Belfast.
He explained that Maine was chosen because it had ‘pristine environment, cold water conditions, a long history as a leader in the seafood industry and proximity to major consumer markets in the north-east US’.
Construction is expected to start in 2019 and the farm will initially take on 60 staff, rising to around 140-plus people in what have been described as highly skilled jobs.
Nordic Aquafarms describes itself as a progressive producer in land based fish farming, with production in Norway and Denmark.
Based in Fredrikstad, south of Oslo, it was established just four years ago, but has rapidly developed into a considerable business operation with international involvement.
It says on its website it is backed by a ‘financially solid group of investors from various parts of Norway’.
The company statement adds: ‘Our strategy is founded on a quality and sustainability agenda. We invest in and develop high performance teams.
‘We believe know-how and collaboration will be key success factors for the future stars in this industry.
‘We are proud to have recruited experienced people from a range of countries and backgrounds as an important step in building a world-class company.’
Picture: (From left) Elizabeth Ransom (Ransom Consulting), Lars-Henrik Røren (chairman of Nordic Aquafarms), US Senator Angus King, Erik Heim (Nordic Aquafarms CEO), Peter DelGreco and Ashley Pringle (Maine & Co)