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Marianne Naess and Erik Heim are no longer part of Nordic Aquafarms Inc. Photo: Erik Heim / LinkedIn.
Marianne Naess and Erik Heim are no longer part of Nordic Aquafarms Inc. Photo: Erik Heim / LinkedIn.

Erik Heim, president and chief executive of US on-land salmon farm developer Nordic Aquafarms Inc, has left the company, he said in a social media post today.

His wife Marianne Naess, executive vice president commercial of Nordic Aquafarms Inc, and the company’s press spokeswoman, has also moved on, Heim said in a post on LinkedIn. He did not explain why the couple had parted company with Nordic.

Nordic Aquafarms Inc is owned by Norwegian company Nordic Aquafarms Group AS, which also owns yellowtail kingfish producers Sashimi Royal in Denmark and Fredrikstad Seafood in Norway. Fredrikstad Seafood’s recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) facility was built to grow Atlantic salmon, but the company recently announced plans to switch to kingfish because it was more profitable.

33,000-tonne RAS facilities

Nordic plans 33,000-tonne-per-year salmon RAS facilities in Maine on the eastern US and northern California on the west coast but has yet to break ground on either project. The project in Belfast, Maine, was first announced in January 2018 but has been delayed by opposition from a group of local people opposed to the plan.

“This week, myself and Marianne Naess ended our time in Nordic Aquafarms,” stated Heim on LinkedIn.

“It has been eight years since I founded the beginning of Nordic Aquafarms in our living room in Norway – a company to become one of the most profiled RAS companies in the world. We were a pioneer in Norway on commercial salmon RAS. [Then] moved on to kingfish. And then the journey moved on to the US where the company today is the only RAS player with a strong position on both US coastlines.

‘A truly challenging undertaking’

“The company’s salmon project in Maine was fully permitted in 2021 after a truly challenging undertaking and is now ready for next steps.

“Naess did what many said was impossible – in the past 3 years she led the effort to create a strong foundation for larger scale aquaculture in California. The company has key permits coming up this summer thanks to hard work with our US team and the many relationships built in California.

“It has been an incredible journey leading to many talented people working together in Europe and the US to further the RAS agenda. And that journey will continue. I wish the company and our staff in the US all the best with the journey going forward.

“I am confident that we are only in early beginnings as far as the potential for aquaculture in the US. But there are also challenges to address and much work left to make that a reality. Therefore, my commitment to furthering food security and industry enablement in the US will continue.

“Summer vacation is now on the menu after four years of hard work in the US. After that, it is time for new challenges.”