Despite the buzz around Nordic Aquafarms and Whole Oceans announcing plans to build salmon aquaculture recirculating system (RAS) farms in the state of Maine, Maine's original RAS firm is looking to sell its land and permits to the best buyer.
Palom Aquaculture was the first company to work towards the construction of a land-based RAS salmon farm in the state in 2010 and managed to acquire the permitting for the project. Since 2014, according to documents the company hosts on its website, it has held permits from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection for discharge, in addition to permits from the Army Corps of Engineers.
Now, that permitting and land are up for sale.
“Palom continues to look for additional funding for our RAS project,” Paloma Aquaculture managing partner Bryan Woods told SeafoodSource in an email. “This year we agreed to talk to companies interested in acquiring our land and permits.”
The company’s site is a former U.S. Navy antenna station in Gouldsboro, Maine, near the ocean. The site also happens to be near Acadia Harvest Inc.’s former location – a Maine-based yellowtail aquaculture firm that closed earlier this year.
Recently, Palom had its permits renewed to also include hatchery facilities, similar to the other RAS projects announced in the state.
The RAS farm engineering is modular to include 10 tanks. A five-tank system would be the minimum size which makes economic sense, according to Palom. This minimum closed containment system would produce about 600 metric tons of market-weight Atlantic salmon.
The Palom project has been somewhat overshadowed by other nearby salmon RAS proposals. Last year, Norway’s Nordic Aquafarms announced plans to build a large land-based RAS salmon farm in Belfast, ME, a few dozen miles from Palom’s site.
Whole Oceans is the other high-profile company planning a second Maine farm, capable of producing 5,000 tons of Atlantic salmon in Bucksport, Maine, at the former site of a large paper mill. That proposal has faced less pushback, given its location on an existing industrial site and its smaller scale. Work on that site could start as soon as August.
Photo courtesy of Palom Aquaculture