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September 26, 2018

Nordic Aquafarms founder moving to Maine to run planned salmon farm

Courtesy / Nordic Aquafarms A partial view of acreage that Nordic Aquafarms plans to purchase from the Belfast Water District.

Nordic Aquafarms CEO and founder Erik Heim plans to move from Norway to Maine this week to head up the company’s development of a large, land-based salmon farm in Belfast.

Heim will serve as president of Nordic Aquafarms Inc. According to a company news release, Heim, who was born in the U.S. and holds dual Norwegian and U.S. citizenship, will have completed his move as of Oct. 1.

The company has been setting up an office in downtown Belfast during permitting and construction of the fish farm. According to the company’s September newsletter, construction at the new Nordic Aquafarms office on High Street in Belfast was recently completed. Nordic Aquafarms’ corporate offices will be located in Portland. Heim and the company’s director of operations, Marianne Naess, will divide their time between the two locations.

Nordic Aquafarms Inc. is a 100%-owned subsidiary of Nordic Aquafarms AS in Norway. A new CEO, Bernt Olav Røttingsnes, has been named to the Norway operation. His term will begin Oct. 1. In addition to the Belfast operation, Nordic Aquafarms is also starting up Norway’s first commercial land-based salmon farm, Fredrikstad Seafoods, at the end of this year.

Nordic Aquafarms announced in January its plans for a land-based salmon farm in Belfast, to be built in two phases. Phase 1, expected to have a capacity of 13,000 tons, is being designed in Norway. Construction is expected to start in 2019, with operations commencing in 2020. At full build-out the Belfast facility is expected have an annual capacity of 33,000 metric tons. Full development is expected to occur over the next six to seven years.

Nordic Aquafarms also owns production facilities in Denmark.

According to the release, land-based production is a rapidly emerging method for salmon production, based on large indoor tanks and water treatment systems.

Nordic’s total capital investment is expected to be between $450 million and $500 million. The company signed agreements to purchase 40 acres from the Belfast Water District, on Northport Avenue (Route 1), to construct the plant. In August, Nordic announced it entered into an agreement with Belfast window manufacturer Mathews Brothers to purchase approximately 14 acres of land that adjoins the Belfast Water District acreage.

"The additional land will make this a better project, not a bigger one," Heim said in a news release at that time.

Phase 1 investment is expected to be $150 million, with 60 people to be hired. The facility will be an end-to-end operation, including hatcheries and fish processing. Belfast was selected after the company assessed international markets and conducted site searches throughout New England.

The U.S. has a significant trade deficit on seafood and salmon, the company has noted in news releases.

Read more

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