Fish growing in a PR Aqua RAS. Image taken from a PR Aqua promotional video.
Fish growing in a PR Aqua RAS. Image taken from a PR Aqua promotional video.

Canadian RAS supplier hits the jackpot in Reno

West Coast Salmon, which is planning to produce 50,000 gutted weight tonnes of salmon annually at an on-land farm outside Reno, Nevada, in the United States has chosen Vancouver Island-based PR Aqua as its recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) partner.

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Norway-based West Coast Salmon (WCS) announced in October 2020 that Israeli RAS supplier AquaMaof would supply the RAS technology for the project, but yesterday said it had opted for PR Aqua.

In a press release, WCS chief operating officer Morten Nielsen said that after he joined the company in early 2021, the management team had made a thorough review and optimisation of the company’s design and execution strategy.

Strong team

“We are very impressed by PR Aqua’s strong team, expertise, and track record, as well as the initial work they have performed,” said Neilsen.

“The WCS team is excited to have secured an agreement with PR Aqua and we look forward to executing our plan in partnership with KC Hosler and his team to achieve our goal of becoming the leading US West Coast provider of high quality sustainably raised Atlantic salmon.”

KC Hosler: 'We are extremely proud to take part in this large-scale project.'
KC Hosler: "We are extremely proud to take part in this large-scale project."

Hosler, general manager and chief technical officer for Nanaimo-based PR Aqua, said: “We are extremely proud to take part in this large-scale project and to support the West Coast Salmon team and owners on their mission to supply the US West Coast market with fresh, healthy, and sustainably produced salmon.”

PR Aqua’s current and past projects include Grieg Seafood BC’s Gold River salmon smolt RAS facility on Vancouver Island, and the Kuterra on-land salmon farm in British Columbia which was built for the ’Namgis First Nation but is now leased to Emergent Holdings, a company hoping to build an on-land salmon farm in Bucksport, Maine.

It was also recently contracted to build an expanded steelhead farm for Taste of BC Aquafarms in the Nanaimo region.

14,000 gwt first phase

The first phase of the WCS facility is designed to deliver almost 14,000 gutted weight tonnes of production capacity in the first half of 2025. WCS said it expects to commence early site works this year after concluding construction financing.

Morten is a former managing director of AKVA Group Land Based Denmark and was owner of Aquatec Solutions A/S – now part of AKVA – for almost 12 years.

In response to a question from Fish Farming Expert, he said that AquaMaof would not be a supplier to WCS going forward.

AquaMaof investment

AquaMaof invested in WCS when it was chosen as the company’s supply partner in 2020 and is still listed as an owner on West Coast Salmon’s profile on LinkedIn. Other owners listed are Bregal Partners, Nutreco N.V, and Beachpoint Capital Management, as well as board members and management.

Asked whether AquaMaof still had equity in WCS, Morten said the company did not give out information about specific shareholdings. AquaMaof told Fish Farming Expert that it was currently discussing and finalising the details of its separation from the project with WCS.

The cost of the WCS project has not yet been specified, but Morten said capital expenditure will be competitive to other announced projects and that further details to be announced in due course.