Nordic Aquafarms clears first hurdle to building world’s largest indoor salmon farm

Published on
April 19, 2018

Norway-based Nordic Aquafarms cleared the first major hurdle on the way to building the world’s largest indoor salmon farm in Belfast, Maine, U.S.A.

Belfast’s city council voted unanimously on 17 April to approve the zoning changes necessary to allow the facility to be built. The company is proposing to build a USD 150 million (EUR 121 million) aquaculture facility in the small city, which has a population of just over 6,600. 

The proposal was met with some opposition from residents, according to a report in the Bangor Daily News. Numerous residents called the process “too fast,” according to the paper. Councilors responded to some concerns by pointing out that Nordic Aquafarms will still have to go through the permitting processes necessary for the use, and that many questions will be answered through that process. 

The approval is the first of many hurdles, which will include approval from the Maine Public Utilities Commission and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. 

“Based on the outcome from these important milestones, Nordic Aquafarms is now moving forward with further development of the targeted salmon facility and permitting,” wrote the company in response to the unanimous council vote. “More detailed plans for the facility will be presented in May 2018, when the critical site exploration work is completed. This will include situation plans, renderings and more detailed information about facility operations.”

Nordic recently announced that it has entered a deal with Inter Aqua Advance to develop, design, and deliver large RAS facilities in both Norway and the project in Belfast. 

“Construction for a new 1.6 [million] smolt facility in Fredrikstad [Norway] is planned to start in 2018, and for 3.5 [million] smolt in the U.S. by mid-2019,” wrote the company in an announcement on 6 April. 

The Belfast facility is planned to produce 33,000 tons of Atlantic salmon per year. 

“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. As we move along we will emphasize dialogue with the community and take into account the feedback we get," Nordic Aquafarm CEO Erik Heim said.

Photo courtesy of City of Belfast, Maine, U.S.A. 

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