“Whole Oceans is considering west coast sites as part of our mission to capture 10% of the US market and locate facilities closer to consumers for improved logistics and environmental footprint,” company spokesperson Angie Helton said.
Another on-land salmon farmer, Nordic Aquafarms, which is planning a 33,000-tonne salmon recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) facility just 20 miles down the road from Whole Oceans in Belfast, Maine announced last month that it plans a second RAS facility near Eureka, California.
Whole Oceans is still waiting to complete the permitting process for the Bucksport site but company president Jason Mitchell told Fish Farming Expert he expects work to start by the middle of this year.
The first phase of the development will create 50 jobs and produce 5,000 tonnes of salmon annually, increasing to 20,000 tonnes over 15 years.
Nordic Aquafarms’ plan for Belfast has come under fire from one section of the community, something that Whole Oceans has largely avoided.
“Our relationship with Bucksport and the local community has been great, it’s been very collaborative,” said Mitchell.
“Part of that is listening and seeking to understand and talking through things before we’ve made decisions and gone in a direction. But the biggest difference between us and Belfast is the location. We are going into a brownfield site, repurposing an old paper mill. Bucksport had a master plan called Bucksport Next that we really fit into. That plan existed before we showed up. It was a good fit both ways, and to Bucksport’s credit we’re really just a piece of that masterplan.
“There’s three key ingredients here: it’s the community, it’s good local government and good business, all coming together for common interest.”
Whole Oceans has released a drone video of the Bucksport site made in November, which can be seen below.