Illustration of the planned Kingfish Maine RAS facility which will produce 8,500 tonnes of yellowtail annually.

Bid to block Maine kingfish farm dismissed

Company praises unwavering support from local community

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Opponents of a land-based fish farm in Maine in the northeast of the United States have failed in their latest bid to block the development.

The Jonesport Board of Appeals has upheld a planning board decision to grant a building permit for Kingfish Maine, unanimously rejecting all arguments in an appeal by opposition group Protect Downeast.

The Board voted unanimously in favour of Kingfish Maine on each of the three appeal issues brought forward by Protect Downeast, which Kingfish Maine says is funded by the owners of the Roque Island Gardner Homestead Corporation (RIGHC), a family company that owns the private Roque Island and eight adjoining islands used in the summer and which are separated from company’s mainland shore site by Chandler Bay.

'Thoughtful decision making'

In a press release, Kingfish Maine said it isn’t the first time the opposition has lost in its attempts to stop the project. Groups which represent the summer residents of Roque Island lost another appeal before the Maine Bureau of Environmental Protection last year. The company added that the Kingfish Maine project is fully permitted by local, state, and federal regulatory agencies.

“We commend the Jonesport Board of Appeals for its thoughtful work and decision making in the appeals process,” said Megan Sorby, Kingfish Maine operations manager. “Over the past three years, we’ve had unwavering support from the Jonesport community. We are honoured that they have welcomed us and we look forward to our collaborative work as we are planning to bring sustainable land-based technology to the US.”

Sharing our vision

Vincent Erenst, chief executive of Kingfish Maine’s Dutch parent, The Kingfish Company, said: “The Kingfish Company is committed to demonstrating the highest standards of sustainability, which includes transparency and responsibility to our stakeholders and the community where we intend to develop our latest project.

“We credit the Jonesport community for its commitment to the project and sharing our vision for the future.”

The Kingfish Company currently produces 1,500 tonnes of yellowtail kingfish (Seriola lalandi) in a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) facility in Zeeland in the Netherlands. In January, the company said that had begun commissioning a €90 million extension that will expand production to 3,500 tonnes per year.

Kingfish Maine intends to produce 8,500 tonnes of seriola – also known as ricciola, hiramasa, or greater amberjack – at its Maine facility.

From left: Kingfish Maine operations managers Tom and Megan Sorby, and hatchery technician Liz Groover. Kingfish Maine already has broodstock growing at the Centre for Cooperative Aquaculture Research in Franklin, Maine.