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April 19, 2018

Zoning change advances Nordic Aquafarms' $150M project in Belfast

Courtesy / Nordic Aquafarms
Courtesy / Nordic Aquafarms
Rezoning of the Nordic Aquafarms development property in Belfast was passed by a 5-0 vote by the city council in Belfast on April 17, which enables the Norwegian company to proceed with the permitting process for development of its Phase 1 $150 million salmon farm on a 40-acre property it's buying from the city's water district and a private owner.

Belfast City Council unanimously approved a zoning ordinance change on Tuesday night that allows Nordic Aquafarms to move forward on its $150 million Phase 1 project to build one of the world's largest indoor salmon farms on a 40-acre site off Route 1.

The Bangor Daily News reported that an overflow crowd of about 100 people attended the four-hour council meeting, many of them expressing concerns that the zoning change was happening too quickly and urging councilors to reject the zoning proposal. Concerns included development of the wooded area where the salmon farm is proposed to be, potential impacts of discharge from the plant and the size of the project.

Councilors said Nordic Aquafarms would be subject to further hearings through the permitting process, which includes reviews and permit approvals from state and federal agencies as well as additional local approvals.

A handful of residents in favor of the project said they trusted the company to put environmental concerns at the forefront of its development, the BDN reported.

In a post on the company's website, Nordic Aquafarms reported more detailed plans for the facility will be presented in May, when site exploration work is completed.

"As more details become available, we hope and believe that the community in Belfast will appreciate our effort in securing a "green" project for this community," CEO Erik Heim stated. "As we move along we will emphasize dialogue with the community and take into account the feedback we get."

The proposed facility includes new aquafarming innovations in reducing water use, further reducing already low environmental impacts of land-based seafood concepts and new innovative designs, the company stated.

Long-term investment: Up to $500M

Courtesy / Belfast
Courtesy / Belfast
Map shows the 40-acre Belfast property where Nordic Aquafarms plans to create its salmon farm.

As announced in January, Nordic's farm would produce 33,000 tons of Atlantic salmon per year. The company is buying about 40 acres off Route 1 from the city's water district and a private owner located near the Northport town line.

City Planner Wayne Marshall said he expects about 25 acres will be developed.

Nordic Aquafarms, headquartered in Norway and one of the largest international developers of land-based aquaculture, said at a January news conference its total capital investment is expected to be between $450 million and $500 million. In the project's first phase over the next two years, Nordic will invest $150 million and hire 60 people. Belfast was selected after the company assessed international markets and conducted comprehensive site searches throughout New England

According to its website, Nordic is the first company in Norway to move salmon production into large-scale land-based systems. Land-based seafood farming is a young industry with tremendous potential, the company says: "All such production is subject to biological risks and to improvement potential."

The company is currently invested in three facilities, one in Norway and two in Denmark. Construction of Fredrikstad Seafoods in Norway has started after two years of planning. The salmon facility will be ready for production in late 2018 and ready to deliver product one year after that. Fully expanded, the facility will produce up to 6,000 tons of salmon annually.

Sashimi Royal is in the northwestern part of Denmark in Hanstholm. The facility is the largest yellowtail kingfish in the world. Annual production capacity is approximately 1,200 tons. The facility has expansion potential up to 4,800 tons annually. Sashimi Royal is vertically integrated with the yellowtail hatchery Maximus in Denmark, which has over 100 broodstock fish.

Nordic Aquafarms Inc. was incorporated in Delaware in 2017 as the legal entity for the company's U.S. business operations.

Read more

Nordic Aquafarms on track to start construction of land-based salmon farm in Belfast next year

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