The Kingfish Company secures critical permit for planned RAS farm in Maine

The Kingfish Company’s plans to build recirculating aquaculture system yellowtail kingfish farm in Jonesport, Maine, U.S.A., have taken a step forward with the company’s receipt of a critical permit from the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands.

The company’s Submerged Lands Lease Application was approved last week, according to the company. It gives formalized state approval for the plan and installation of Kingfish Maine’s installation of intake and discharge pipes. The permit allows for the company to conduct dredging and to install two water intake pipes and two discharge pipes on submerged lands at property on Chandler Bay, which surrounds Jonesport.

“We are encouraged by the approval of our permit application with no special conditions and no public objections,” The Kingfish Company Founder and CEO Ohad Maiman said in a press release. “Prior to submission, substantial design, and engineering efforts were required to assure our future operation complies with state and federal regulations.”

Maiman told SeafoodSource the firm considered this permit a milestone in its quest to build a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) facility in Maine that will eventually produce 6,000 to 8,000 metric tons of yellowtail kingfish, once complete.

“While a land-based fish farm requires several standard permits needed for most other commercial operations, it cannot operate without an intake and discharge pipeline, which means that attaining this permit is a critical step in de-risking the permitting process and assuring Kingfish Maine can advance towards construction planning,” he said.

The company is still on track to begin construction in the second half of 2021, despite complications – primarily travel-related – caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Maiman said.

“COVID indeed interfered with the otherwise frequent visits in Maine by our team from the Netherlands. However, with four full-time employees and development managers already based in Maine, and some technical remote solutions, such as conducting a town hall meeting in Jonesport where the Netherlands management team joined by Zoom, we have been able to continue and progress as planned,” Maiman said.

Maiman said he was encouraged by the collaborative approach taken by the state of Maine and the residents and elected officials in the town of Jonesport. The issuance of the permit with no special conditions, “appears to confirm that our company’s collaborative and transparent approach was well-received,” Maiman said.

“Prior to submission, substantial design and engineering was required to assure our future operation complies with all state and federal regulations. It was important for us, however, to go the extra mile and approach local stakeholders and ask about their concerns. We listened, and accordingly implemented several changes to our design prior to permit application, so that we could mitigate such concerns,” he said. “In our view, Kingfish Maine can only succeed if it is welcomed as a responsible and integral member of the community in Jonesport, and we found the open dialogue to be important and constructive in that respect.”

The company, organized under the Kingfish Maine banner in the United States, is still awaiting its Maine Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit (MEPDES), which it submitted an application for in July.

The company’s European operations, based out of Kats, The Netherlands, have also expanded, despite challenges caused by the coronavirus.

“At our European operation, while operating under strict health guidelines, we managed to reach record-high operational results across the hatchery and grow-out activity, advance on our current expansion in the Netherlands on time and on budget, and to maintain full sales run rate by supplying retail during restaurant closures,” Maiman said. “At a time where global supply chains have proven vulnerable, and key trade agreements are challenged- the case for local, reliable, year-round production and short supply chains- has proven for us to offer unique advantages for our business resilience, and provide a clear value to our customers and local communities."

Photo courtesy of Cliff White/SeafoodSource


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