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Keith Decker will take over day to day running of American Aquafarms from Mikael Roenes. Photo: American Aquafarms.
Keith Decker will take over day to day running of American Aquafarms from Mikael Roenes. Photo: American Aquafarms.

American Aquafarms, which wants to grow 30,000 tonnes of salmon a year in floating semi-closed containment systems in Maine, has named a new chief executive.

Keith Decker, previously chief executive of Blue Harvest Fisheries, will take over the position from American Aquafarms’ Norwegian founder Mikael Roenes. Decker’s past roles include being CEO of major US seafood distributor High Liner Foods from 2015 to 2017.

Roenes announced that he was stepping down as CEO earlier this month, adding that it was always part of his plan to relinquish the role once the company got established.

New England know-how

“Keith has the right resume, experience, and New England know-how to move American Aquafarms into the next generation of Maine’s maritime traditions,” Roenes said. “Additionally, I’m confident that Keith will collaborate with industry experts while recruiting the workforce we need to fill the year-round, high-quality jobs we’re creating.” 

American Aquafarms plans to use 15 tarpaulin-enclosed SCCS at each of two 60-acre sites in Frenchman Bay. Waste would be collected from the enclosures and used for energy and fertiliser production.

Fish would be processed at a plant on the site of a lobster processing facility in Gouldsboro that American Aquafarms has an option to buy.

Public Zoom meeting

The company is currently in the permitting stage for its farms and does not yet have permission to develop the Gouldsboro site.

There has been some local opposition to the fish farms. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection, which will determine whether to issue waste discharge permits for the sites, has scheduled a public online Zoom meeting to gather feedback on the proposal for 5pm local time today.