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Whole Oceans adds another C-level executive to its Bucksport aquafarm team

BY Staff

7/18/2018
Courtesy / John Gutwin of Pepperchrome
Courtesy / John Gutwin of Pepperchrome
A rendering of Whole Oceans' planned land-based aquafarm in Bucksport.

Whole Oceans has hired a chief financial officer with more than 30 years of experience in the finance sector, making it the fourth major hire in 45 days for the Portland-based company that’s planning to build initially a $75 million land-based aquafarm to raise Atlantic salmon in Bucksport.
Eric Jacobsson joined the company as CFO on Monday.
Jacobsson has more than 30 years of experience in finance, most recently serving as senior director of finance for Pentair Water, a division of Pentair (NYSE: PNR), a global leader in smart water solutions with 2017 revenues of $2.6 billion.
“It is an honor to be joining Whole Oceans at this pivotal time in the emergence of land-based recirculating aquaculture systems in the United States,” Jacobsson said in a news release. “Whole Oceans has laid the groundwork to make a substantial impact in the aquaculture industry. The economics of Atlantic salmon globally and in the United States point to a significant need for increased production. I am proud to play a leadership role in the growth of sustainable salmon production in Maine.”
He’s the second person to come from Pentair. In early July, Joe McElwee, who had been was global head of sales for Pentair Aquatic Eco-Systems, was brought on as chief production officer.
“The addition of Eric, who played a key role in his 10 years with Pentair growing revenues from $300 million to nearly $3 billion, is a key strategic hire,” Whole Oceans CEO Rob Piasio said. "From the very beginning we have focused on building a world-class management team to execute on our goal of capturing 10% of the U.S. salmon market. Eric is a proven senior finance executive and representative of the caliber of talent we are able to attract in a highly competitive industry within a historically tight labor market."
In another key hire, Jason Mitchell was brought on as chief operating officer in June. He had been at Bath Iron Works, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Whole Oceans announced its acquisition of a majority of the former Verso Mill site in Bucksport, in February.  Since that time the company has worked closely with stakeholders in the Penobscot watershed, the Maine regulatory community and the town of Bucksport.
On July 10, the Bucksport Planning Board voted to approve the subdivision of the former mill site, marking a significant milestone in the company’s six-year effort to bring to Maine the sustainable production of Atlantic salmon in state-of-the-art, environmentally responsible, recirculating aquaculture system.
Pre-construction activities in Bucksport remain on-track to begin in 2018, the company stated in its news release.
In a FAQs sheet that accompanied its February announcement of its plans for Bucksport, Whole Oceans outlined its business plan, timeline and the worldwide market for farm-raised Atlantic salmon. Among the points made at that time:

  • It will produce 5,000 metric tons of Atlantic salmon per year using entirely land-based technology. The company plans to develop capacity in Maine over the next 15 years that would produce 25,000 metric tons per year.
  • Whole Oceans has pre-sold 100% of production for 10 years.
  • Americans consume more than $2 billion of Atlantic salmon every year and virtually all Atlantic salmon consumed in the United States is farmed.
  • More than two million metric tons of Atlantic salmon were produced globally in 2017, generating more than $10 billion in sales.
  • More than 95% percent of Atlantic salmon consumed in the U.S. is imported from foreign offshore cage farms.
  • At full capacity, Whole Oceans will create hundreds of direct jobs and is hoping to expand its initial $75 million investment to more than $250 million in Bucksport in a phased multi-year development.

Meanwhile, Nordic Aquafarms announced in May it had completed nearly all of its due diligence on the 40-acre site in Belfast where it plans to build a state-of-the-art land-based salmon farm.
Phase 1 of the multi-stage $450-million-to-$500 million project is expected to cost $150 million.
At a May 9 public information meeting in Belfast, CEO Erik Heim said the company will proceed with pre-engineering and preparation the various state and local permit applications necessary for the company to begin construction next year on the first phase of the project, according to a company news release
"We have confirmed that necessary conditions are in place on the site for our planned aquaculture production, including the availability of clean, abundant and sustainable groundwater from test wells," Heim said in the release. "We now have over 90% confidence related to site conditions and requirements and as a result will be moving ahead with engineering and permitting."
In June, Nordic Aquafarms announced it had hired David Noyes as chief technology officer and Carter Cyr as production manager for its planned land-based salmon farm in Belfast. Both are Maine natives with extensive aquaculture experience, the company said in a news release announcing the hirings.