After international market assessments and comprehensive land site searches, Nordic Aquafarms (NAF) has entered into agreements for a large property in Maine, USA to develop one of the largest land-based salmon farms internationally.
The agreements are for a 40 acres property in the outskirts of the town of Belfast. Belfast is a Maine coastal town with approximately 7,000 residents. The area has abundant access to sea- and freshwater-resources that provide a good match with land-based aquaculture requirements. “Finding an ideal site in Maine has been a six-month project”, said Nordic Aquafarms CEO Erik Heim.
Nordic Aquafarms plans to construct a land-based salmon farm with 33,000 tons (66 million pounds) annual production capacity, in several phases. This equals approximately eight percent of U.S. consumption of salmon. The project will involve all-inn total capital investments between $450M to $500M USD by the time it is complete. The first phase will involve investments of up to 150 Mill USD. The facility will be an end-to-end operation, including hatcheries and fish processing.
Nordic Aquafarms´ interest in Maine has been welcomed by Maine politicians and commercial interests. U.S. Senator Angus King, Congressman Bruce Poliquin and the Governor of Maine Paul LePage have all met with Nordic Aquafarms. Positive and constructive dialogues regarding transatlantic business relationships were pursued. Nordic Aquafarms also wishes to recognize Maine & Co and the City of Belfast, who have demonstrated that Maine is truly “open for business.”
Aquaculture is a growing force in Maine’s economy, bringing new jobs and opportunities to our state’s fishing industry,” said U.S. Senator Angus King. “Nordic Aquafarms´ facility will build on our state’s rich fishing traditions and promote innovation and sustainability that can help Belfast and the surrounding community thrive. This is an investment in Maine people, Maine jobs, and the future of our economy. To the entire Nordic Aquafarm team: tusen takk og velkommen til Maine!”. See quotes from other U.S. politicians at the end of this article.
Maine has been chosen for its pristine location, cold water conditions, its seafood profile and its proximity to major consumer markets in the Northeastern USA. As a positive contribution to Maine´s seafood industry, Nordic Aquafarms will be developing production with a low impact discharge of water free of chemicals and medications, renewable energy solutions and recycling of all waste resources. “We look forward to becoming a responsible and contributing member of the Maine seafood industry,” said Nordic Aquafarms CEO, Erik Heim.
“Nordic Aquafarms has demonstrated a commitment and passion for producing high-quality seafood in accordance with the highest sustainable and environmental standards. We are excited to follow them as they become an important and responsible member of Maine’s business and sustainable food community,” said Peter DelGreco, Maine & Company CEO.
Chairman of Nordic Aquafarms Lars-Henrik Røren added, “With the signing of these agreements, Nordic Aquafarms has formally shown its intention to establish a world-leading Norwegian-U.S. business within the land-based fish farming industry. We have experienced a great attitude and commercial willingness from our Maine counterparties. Nordic Aquafarms will over the coming quarters do its outmost to complete a final investment decision to bring more than 30,000 tons per year fresh, locally farmed Atlantic salmon to the U.S. consumers.”
Nordic Aquafarms will now proceed with final due diligence, planning and permitting for the facility. Phase 1 for some 13,000 tons production capacity, will be the largest land-based facility project ever raised in one construction phase. It will house the largest aquaculture tanks in the world and new disruptive solutions, currently being designed by an experienced team in Norway. Construction start is planned in 2019. “This is a large project which will place great demands on Nordic Aquafarms in the coming years. We are therefore stepping up investment in highly qualified people and international partnerships”, says CEO Erik Heim.
The project is expected to create close to 60 new high-skill jobs in Maine in the first expansion stage, and many new commercial relations between the Norwegian and Maine business communities. We expect to see significant positive economic development effects in Maine, and in Norway where Nordic Aquafarms has its international development hub.
Nordic Aquafarms established the US subsidiary, Nordic Aquafarms INC, in 2017 as the vehicle for its US growth strategy. Erik Heim, the CEO of Nordic Aquafarms and a dual Norwegian/U.S. citizen, is president of the new subsidiary. His objective is to bring together the best of Norway and the U.S. in a high-value growth company in Maine.
Comments from other prominent US politicians:
U.S. Senator Susan Collins commented, “Maine’s fishing industry is a vital part of our economy, our coastal communities and our state’s heritage. Nordic Aquafarm’s decision to build an innovative, environmentally friendly aquaculture facility in Belfast will help expand this important industry and create new jobs for Mainers,” said Senator Collins. “This significant investment is great news for Belfast and the surrounding communities.”
Congressman Bruce Poliquin said, “I want to thank Nordic Aquafarms for their investment in Maine and the new jobs and opportunities it will create. Our state has a proud heritage as a leader in the seafood industry, and land-based aquaculture especially is going to be an important part of our 21st century economy. My office is fully committed to doing our part in helping our job creators, like Nordic Aquafarms, grow and succeed in Maine.”