An AKVA land-based facility. The company has signed a non-binding agreement to supply a US-based project. Photo: AKVA.

AKVA signs up to build 15,000t salmon plant in US

Global aquaculture supplier AKVA group has signed a non-binding agreement the Norwegian company AquaCon AS for a potential supply of equipment, engineering and design for a planned 15,000 tonne on-land salmon farm on Eastern Shore, Maryland, in the United States. Eastern Shore forms the eastern border of Chesapeake Bay.

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The final contract, if awarded, is expected to have a minimum value of US $130 million, Norway-headquartered AKVA said in a market update.

The project and AKVA’s deliveries are expected to be completed by 2023. The agreement is expected to remain effective until December 31, 2020.

€3 million investment

AKVA will invest €3 million in equity in the project if sufficient further financing is achieved and will also provide a convertible loan in the amount of €500,000 as bridge financing until the financing of the project has been completed.

The company said its participation in the project is subject to AquaCon AS obtaining the necessary financing for the project and agreement on a final contract.

Experienced executive Henrik Tangen chairs AquaCon. Photo: LinkedIn.

Oslo-based AquaCon is chaired by Henrik Tangen, an experienced business executive whose experience includes 10 years as executive chairman of a US onshore oil and gas drilling company controlled by the John Fredriksen Group, the largest shareholder of salmon farmer Mowi.

According to a recent report by aquaculture website IntraFish, AquaCon has assembled a team of experienced Norwegian land-based salmon farming executives for the project, including former Mowi head of fresh water operations Paal Haldorsen and former Atlantic Sapphire Denmark managing director Ole-Christian Norvik, who will serve as COO.

The site has potential for up to 100,000 tonnes of production, Tangen told IntraFish.

Other projects

Several other on-land salmon farms are already planned along the US east coast.

Pure Salmon, formed by aquaculture investor 8F, intends to build a 20,000-tonne salmon RAS in Virginia and has secured $20 million in government development funding for the project.

Nordic Aquafarms Inc, a subsidiary of Norwegian company Nordic Aquafarms, plans to produce 33,000 tonnes a year at a RAS facility in Belfast, on the shore of Penobscot Bay, Maine.

The company has submitted all permitting documentation and is currently awaiting draft licences from the Maine Board of Environmental Protection, but also faces a court battle with opponents of the plant who are challenging Nordic’s right of access to the bay.

Pre-construction phase

Emergent Holdings intends to build its 20,000-tonne Whole Oceans salmon RAS facility 20 miles further north, on the site of a former paper mill in Bucksport, Maine.   

The company is in the pre-construction phase which includes finalising the details of the design plans and contract negotiations for construction. It hopes to break ground later in the summer.

Another company, Aquabanq, owned by a UK-registered firm, plans a 10,000-tonne salmon RAS in Millinocket, in the north of Maine.

The biggest on-land salmon project, and the most advanced, is Atlantic Sapphire’s Bluehouse in Miami, which will make its first harvest in the third quarter of this year. The company is producing 10,000 tonnes a year in its first phase but plans to increase that to 220,000 tonnes by 2030.