Nordic Aquafarms, Norway, announced plans to develop what is said to be one of the largest land-based salmon farms internationally in Belfast, Maine.

The 40-acre, $450-500 million property boasts 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 6-month project”, says Erik Heim, chief executive officer. “We look forward to becoming a responsible and contributing member of the Maine seafood industry.”

Nordic Aquafarms plans to construct a land-based salmon farm with 33,000 tons (66 million pounds) annual production capacity, in several phases. The first phase will be an end-to-end operation, including hatcheries and fish processing.

Nordic Aquafarms will develop production with a low-impact discharge of water free of chemicals and medications, renewable energy solutions and recycling of all waste resources.

“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,” adds Lars-Henrik Røren, chairman. “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.”

Phase 1 for some 13,000 tons production capacity is dubbed as 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 a 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 Heim.

The project is expected to create close to 60 new high-skill jobs in the first expansion stage, and many new commercial relations between the Norwegian and Maine business communities. 

Nordic Aquafarms established the U.S. subsidiary, Nordic Aquafarms Inc., in 2017 as the vehicle for its U.S. growth strategy.