From left: Maine University president Joan Ferrini-Mundy, senator Angus King, and Kingfish Maine operations manager Megan Sorby at the broodstock facility.

Fish farming is bringing exciting opportunities for Maine, says senator


A United States senator has praised a land-based fish farmer for providing “exciting new opportunities” to continue a long-standing tradition of producing high-quality ocean products in Maine.

Angus King, an independent senator for the state and a former Maine governor, gave his backing to Kingfish Maine during a tour of its recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) broodstock facility operating at the University of Maine’s Centre for Cooperative Aquaculture Research (CCAR) in Franklin.

Kingfish Maine is a subsidiary of Netherlands fish farmer The Kingfish Company, which grows Seriola lalandi marketed as Dutch Yellowtail. Kingfish Maine intends to produce 8,500 tonnes per year at a RAS facility in has permission to build in Jonesport, Maine.

The first step

“I was so excited to tour the state-of-the-art Dutch Yellowtail operations in Franklin, which is the first step in establishing the Kingfish facility in Jonesport. I want to thank the Kingfish team for choosing Maine as its American hub and investing in our great state,” said King, whose career outside politics has included founding a company that developed and operated electrical energy conservation projects and co-founding a wind energy company.

“We are honoured to have Senator King and his staff tour our existing Franklin facility where we have built and are currently operating the same advanced RAS technology used in the Netherlands,” said Megan Sorby, Kingfish Maine operations manager.

“We recently harvested our first Dutch Yellowtail from Maine, and for the first time, provided our US-grown fish to the market.”

Economic benefit

The limited release from Maine (around 3.6 tonnes) was distributed to and served at restaurants in Maine, Boston, Washington DC, and California in the spring.

“We had great collaborative partners in Maine-based Bristol Seafood for processing and Wheeler Seafood in sales. We hope this is indicative of the economic benefit we can provide in our direct employment as well as indirect impact for other great Maine companies,” said Tom Sorby, also an operations manager for Kingfish Maine.

Although Kingfish Maine has all permits in place to begin work on the Jonesport project, it is waiting for the result of an appeal by opponents. The appeal has been rejected once at a lower level, and Kingfish Maine hopes the issue will be resolved in its favour in the second half of 2023.

From left: Maine University president Joan Ferrini-Mundy, operations manager Megan Sorby, Senator Angus King, operations manager Tom Sorby, and hatchery specialist Liz Groover at Kingfish Maine's broodstock facility in Franklin.