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October 19, 2020

Salmon farm planned for Maine Fair Trade Lobster site in Gouldsboro

Courtesy / American Aquafarms A rendering showing an aerial view of the proposed American Aquafarms salmon hatchery, farming facilities and processing plant in Gouldsboro.

An aquaculture startup backed by a Norwegian investor is buying a Gouldsboro lobster processing facility and hopes to develop a salmon-farming operation there.

The 100,000-square-foot Maine Fair Trade Lobster facility is under contract for purchase by American Aquafarms, launched in Portland last year by Mikael Rones, CEO of Global AS, based in Trondheim, Norway. A news release announcing the deal did not disclose terms.

The facility, formerly the site of Live Lobster Co., was auctioned in 2012 for $900,000 to a venture that included distributor East Coast Seafood Group, of New Bedford, Mass. At one time, Maine Fair Trade Lobster employed 150 employees.

American Aquafarms plans to build a salmon hatchery as well as farming and processing facilities on the site. Unlike land-based salmon farms now under development in Belfast and Bucksport, the American Aquafarms site would use closed deep-water pens for raising fish.

The company is now meeting with area lobstermen as it considers possible sites for the pens. It’s not clear if American has applied for aquaculture permits from the state Department of Marine Resources.

Rones pledged the project would provide local jobs while having a minimal environmental impact.

“Our new technology addresses major challenges in the traditional aquaculture industry, through the use of an eco-friendly closed pen system that will set a new standard for fin fish farming in the U.S.," he said in the release.

“We strongly believe that fin fish should be farmed in its natural habitat, in the ocean, with the focus on using the best possible technology to reduce our environmental footprint. We look forward to continuing our work with the town of Gouldsboro and area fishermen to share our cutting-edge aquaculture technology that can provide year-round jobs for residents of the region."

American will develop a workforce development plan to support local skilled and unskilled labor during construction and production of the facilities, the release said.

Maine-based companies assisting in the site location and project development include Bernstein Shur, Cianbro Corp., Kennebec River Biosciences, Maine & Co., and Ransom Consulting, according to the release.

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August 29, 2021

If this is such a sustainable and environmentally-sound practice, why is it prohibited in Norway? If you argue that it is not prohibited in Norway, why seek out another country? I smell a rat (and salmon waste)

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