Kingfish Zeeland signs cooperative agreement with the University of Maine

Published on
January 16, 2020

Kingfish Zeeland, which is seeking to build a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) facility in Jonesport, Maine, U.S.A. to eventually grow up to 6,000 MT of yellowtail annually, has announced a partnership with the University of Maine.

Kingfish Zeeland has begun to use hatchery and business incubatin services provided by the university’s Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research (CCAR) in Franklin, Maine, according to the company. Specifically, Kingfish Zeeland is working with the CCAR to build its yellowtail broodstock and scale for production at the planned farm in Jonesport.

“We see building an early and strong relationship with the University of Maine and the Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research as an asset to Kingfish Zeeland as we scale in the U.S.,” Kingfish Zeeland CEO Ohad Maiman said in a press release. “With this contract, UMaine will serve as an important strategic partner for our team here in Maine.”

CCAR provides business incubation services to new and expanding aquaculture companies. It is familiar with the species of yellowtail Kingfish Zeeland seeks to grow (Seriola lalandi), having successfully grown out four batches of juveniles since it began its yellowtail program in 2011 for now-defunct Acadia Harvest. The CCAR program received Great Bay Aquaculture’s yellowtail broodstock originally coursed from California and Chile when the company closed operations in 2013.

Kingfish Zeeland is currently in the early design and engineering phase for its proposed USD 110 million (EUR 98.8 million) facility in Jonesport, to be located near Chandler Bay on Route 187, according to the company. The company is aiming to produce antibiotic-free product certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) and Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) programs.

In addition to its move into the U.S., it is also planning to expand its original RAS facility in Kats, The Netherlands to accommodate 5,000 metric tons of annual production by late 2020 or early 2021, according to Maiman. Early on in its existence, Kingfish Zeeland formed a fruitful partnership Wageningen University to help build its broodstock selection program. The company’s operations manager, Megan Sorby, said that partnership “was important to the early success of the Netherlands operation.”

“It’s our goal to replicate that success with our University of Maine partners here in the U.S.,” Sorby said.  “We are working with an existing broodstock of Yellowtail at CCAR. This partnership will allow us to expand this broodstock and build up a hatchery as we move forward with our Maine facility.” 

Since landing in Jonesport, Kingfish Zeeland has also made connections with the local high school. According to Mike Kelley, principal of Jonesport-Beals High School, Kingfish Zeeland executives are helping to form a curriculum for a new aquaculture-focused training program run in partnership with the Downeast Institute – a marine laboratory and education center.

Photo courtesy of Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research

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