From left: Inter Aqua Advance chairman Dan Brockdorff, Nordic Aquafarms CEO Erik Heim, and IAA CEO Mikael Sivertsen.

Maine attraction: Nordic Aquafarms chooses partner for huge RAS project

Nordic Aquafarms, which plans for a 33,000 tonnes-per-year land-based salmon farm in the eastern US state of Maine, has signed a deal with Danish recirculating aquaculture system expert Inter Aqua Advance (IAA) to develop, design and deliver large RAS in both Norway and America.

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Construction for a new 1.6-million smolt facility in Fredrikstad, south of Oslo, is planned to start this year, and for a 3.5-million smolt facility in the US by mid-2019.

According to a joint statement by the companies, a 4,000 metric tonnes / year grow-out expansion in Fredrikstad is planned to start by the end of this year, while construction of grow-out modules for 13,000 metric tonnes / year – the first phase of the Maine development - is expected to start in the second half of 2019.

‘Professional RAS partner’

Nordic Aquafarms chief executive Erik Heim said: “We have chosen Inter Aqua Advance as our main RAS partner based on a good collaboration experience and quality work since 2017.

“Nordic Aquafarms has developed strong in-house capabilities and a new generation of designs, and we have therefore been focused on partnering with a competitive RAS partner that can meet our needs in the coming years. We have found a very professional RAS partner in Inter Aqua Advance.”

IAA chief executive Mikael Sivertsen said: “We are happy to work with Nordic Aquafarms in developing designs, but also to contribute with our international experience based on many years’ experience in this market.

“We are already expanding our organisation to be able to deliver to Nordic Aquafarms and our other customers in the coming years. The industry is in rapid development and we see a great potential to put our more than 40-years’ experience to work in the market.”

33,000 tonnes per year

In January Nordic Aquafarms entered into agreements for a 40-acre property on the outskirts of the town of Belfast in Maine. It intends to eventually produce 33,000 tonnes of salmon per year on the site – the equivalent of 8% of the US consumption of salmon.

The project will involve an investment of between $450m-$500m by the time it is complete, with Phase One costing $150m.

Nordic Aquafarms’ project is not the only large land-based salmon farm planned for Maine.

Whole Oceans is a Maine-based company that intends to build a RAS facility on the site of the former paper mill in Bucksport, half an hour’s drive from Belfast.

Ben Willauer, the company’s director of corporate development, recently told a meeting at the University of Maine that Whole Oceans intends to initially produce 5,000 tonnes per year.

And he told his audience that he’s heard talk of a third RAS salmon project in Maine, although he didn’t offer any further details.