Orfa Cabrera will bring decades of experience to Whole Oceans' RAS facility in Bucksport. Photo: Whole Oceans.

Whole Oceans brings hatchery expert on board

On-land salmon farmer Whole Oceans has announced the appointment of experienced fish farmer Orfa Cabrera as manager of the company’s yet-to-be-built hatchery.

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Whole Oceans, which is building a recirculating aquaculture facility (RAS) in Bucksport in the eastern US state of Maine, said Cabrera has more three decades of experience in the salmon industry, including more than 20 years of progressive responsibility at hatcheries in her native Chile, with responsibilities for planning, budgeting, personnel administration, equipment control and data analysis.

Cabrera has extensive experience working with RAS, including as freshwater manager in RAS at Marine Harvest Chile, a hatchery that produced 40 million fry.

Jacob Bartlett: Thrilled to have employed Cabrera.

Extensive knowledge

“We are thrilled to bring Orfa Cabrera on the Whole Oceans team,” said Whole Oceans chief executive Jacob Bartlett in a press release. 

Cabrera holds degrees in Engineering Fisheries Management with maximum distinction from Catholic University Puerto Montt City, Chile and Marine Technician from Catholic University, Talcahuano, Chile.  

Cabrera was most recently senior technical officer at Tassal Group Australia, which built its first RAS in Tasmania in 2009. 

Whole Oceans said Cabrera’s main responsibility was to contribute her extensive knowledge and experience gained in Chile to the development and improvement of raising Atlantic salmon, focusing on the areas of incubation, first feeding and smolt. 

The Maine attraction

Whole Oceans is developing its RAS on the site of a former paper mill which is located next to the Penobscot River. The first phase of the development will create 50 jobs and produce 5,000 tonnes of salmon annually, increasing to between 15,000 and 20,000 tonnes over 15 years.

Work on the plant is expected to start next spring.

The Bucksport project is one of four RAS facilities planned in Maine. Nordic Aquafarms wants to build a large-scale salmon RAS in Belfast, a few miles downriver from Bucksport, and Aquabanq, a US subsidiary of UK-based Aquaculture Management & Holding Co, plans a salmon facility at Millinocket, to the north.

Dutch yellowtail kingfish farmer Kingfish Zeeland also plans a RAS in the state.