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July 3, 2018

Whole Oceans hires veteran production officer for Bucksport land-based salmon farm

Courtesy / Whole Oceans
Courtesy / Whole Oceans
Joe McElwee, a veteran in the aquaculture industry, has been hired as chief production officer for Whole Oceans' $250 million land-based aquafarm to raise Atlantic salmon in Bucksport.

Whole Oceans, a Maine-based company that is planning to build a $250 million land-based aquafarm to raise Atlantic salmon in Bucksport, has hired Joe McElwee as its chief production officer effective July 1.

McElwee has 36 years of experience across the entire aquaculture industry, including more than 20 years in the design and operation of land-based systems.

"Joe McElwee has been farming fish for over 36 years," said Whole Oceans CEO Rob Piasio. "His knowledge of the technical design and operation of [recirculating aquaculture system] facilities is unparalleled. He is a key member of our senior management and we will leverage his knowledge and wisdom toward our goal of capturing 10% of the U.S. Atlantic salmon market. We are thrilled to have Joe on the Whole Oceans team."

Most recently, McElwee was global head of sales for Pentair Aquatic Eco-Systems, managing all global sales and advising on the design, installation and service of land-based systems.

Building its team

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

In February, Whole Oceans announced its plans to purchase most of the former Verso paper mill site in Bucksport and build a land-based aquafarm there to raise Atlantic salmon. Piasio, a specialist in land-based aquaculture technologies, species, markets, distribution and personnel who grew up in Yarmouth, said at that time the company had spent six years researching and preparing plans to create a state-of-the-art recirculating aquaculture system to growing worldwide demand for farm-raised Atlantic salmon.

The company plans a phased $250 million investment at Bucksport and projects that at full production its aquafarm will create hundreds of direct jobs and be able to produce 50,000 metric tons of Atlantic salmon per year.

McElwee said he is eager to apply his expertise at Whole Oceans' Bucksport aquafarm, which is scheduled to begin construction later this year.

"The aquaculture industry is expanding and developing rapidly, and now is the perfect time for land-based aquaculture in the USA," he said. "To have the opportunity to bring my knowledge of the technology, growing experience and business to Whole Oceans, one of the premier land-based developments in the United States, is very exciting. The location Whole Oceans selected in Bucksport is perfect for the markets, with top quality water and excellent local community support."

McElwee received a master's in business administration from Open University in Ireland and holds a diploma and certification in aquaculture from Galway Institute of Technology.

McElwee joins an expanding Whole Oceans team, which includes recent hires Jason Mitchell, a Yarmouth resident, as chief operating officer and Jennifer Fortier, an Ellsworth native, as outreach and development associate.

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