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Wanted: Aquaculture tenants

March 18, 2022  By Nestor Arellano

A town in Maine aims to hitch a ride on the aquaculture bandwagon and rolled out the welcome mat for potential investors that would like to avail of its hometown charms and other business advantages to develop a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) facility.

Large quantities of surface water, ideal ambient temperatures, business-friendly environment, and proximity to major U.S. and Canadian eastern seaboard markets are just some of the qualities highlighted by a YouTube video posted recently by Our Katahdin, a local redevelopment group in the town of Millinocket. A key attraction for potential aquaculture investors is Millinocket’s direct access to the West branch of the Penobscot River.

The video bills Millinocket as “the perfect place for your innovative aquaculture business.”

The aquaculture assets of Millinocket include:

  • Large quantities of surface water (at least 20mgd)
    • Direct access to West Branch Penobscot River
    • Class B
  • Ambient Temperature (surface water)(°F/°C)
    • Annual Average: 51.8/11
    • High: 75.4/24.1
    • Low: 36.8/2.7
  • Streamlined permitting. Business-friendly, amendable SLODA (site and land) permitting 100 per cent renewable power
  • Close to major markets on the US eastern seaboard
  • Research collaboration opportunities with the Aquaculture Research Institute at the University of Maine

The economy of the northeastern Maine town with a population of about 4,100, historically centered on forest products. However, one of its major employer, the local paper mill had closed down in 2008.

Our Katahdin is marketing the site of the former Great Northern Paper Co. as a potential site for a RAS facility.

Among the key features of the site are:

  • Existing Infrastructure
    • Approx. 1,400 acres zoned for development
    • Less than 200 acres of brownfield, less than 1,200 acres of greenfield
    • 126 MW of low-cost, renewable hydropower
    • On-site access to Canadian Pacific Railway
  • 2022 EDA Funded Infrastructure Improvements
    • 34.5 KV power supply to Greenfield tenants
    • Water main, fire hydrants and redundant pumps and power for site fire suppression
    • Sewer installation for connection by tenants
    • Renewable power distribution

In the last few years, Maine has been a magnet for aquaculture operations. Among the companies with ongoing RAS projects in the state are, Nordic Aquafarms in BelfastWhole Oceans in Bucksport, and the Kingfish Company in Jonesport.

At least one aquaculture company had already expressed interest in Millinocket.

Three years ago, the Wyoming arm of British firm Aquabanq Management and Holding said it planned to raise salmon in aquaculture facility in the abandoned paper mill. A recent report from the Bangalore News said the company now intends farm shrimp in Millinocket.

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