A new land-based salmon farming venture is being planned for the U.S. state of Nevada.
West Coast Salmon will seek to build a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) to raise up to 50,000 metric tons (MT) of Atlantic salmon in Reno, Nevada, with the goal of serving the U.S. West Coast market.
The four key investors in the project include New York City-based private equity firm Bregal Partners; Santa Monica, California-based Beach Point Capital Management; Amersfoort, the Netherlands-based animal nutrition company Nutreco; and Rosh Haayin, Israel-based AquaMaof Aquaculture Technologies. The project recently closed its first stage of equity financing, and is considering a potential stock listing in late 2021 or early 2022.
West Coast Salmon AS is based in Oslo, Norway and will be headed by CEO Johan Henrik Krefting, who formerly served on the board of Atlantic Sapphire and as the CEO of Vatne Capital, and by Chairman Hallvard Muri, the former CEO of AKVA Group and Aker BioMarine. Both Krefting and Muri participated in the initial financing round.
“The West Coast Salmon team looks forward to executing our plan in partnership with the company's new strong owners to achieve our goal of becoming the leading U.S. West Coast provider of high-quality, sustainably-raised Atlantic salmon,” Muri said in a press release.
The company has announced a three-phase development plan, with the first phase estimated to produce 12,600 MT of head-on, gutted salmon once complete. The build-out will also include the construction of an on-site processing facility, and Muri said he expects the facility’s first harvest to take place in the second half of 2024.
The site in Nevada was chosen due to its proximity to major markets and to transportation and energy infrastructure, as well as “significant land acreage” for future expansion, and permitted freshwater rights, according to the company. The company sees ample opportunity in its targeting of “health and environmentally-conscious” U.S. West Coast markets, Muri said.
Nutreco’s aquaculture division, Skretting, will provide its specialized RAS feed to the company, and AquaMaof, which has become a major supplier of equipment to the burgeoning global RAS sector, will provide the technology for the West Coast project.
According to a statement from Nutreco, West Coast Salmon “aims to build a best-in-class RAS facility for Atlantic salmon farming in Nevada, serving the attractive U.S. West Coast market.
“The investment underlines Nutreco’s ongoing commitment to Feeding the Future; our company’s mission to contribute to producing enough nutritious and high-quality food for a growing population in a sustainable way,” it said.
AquaMaof’s technology allows for the raising of salmon year-round without the use of antibiotics or chemicals, and incorporates a proprietary water-recycling technique with minimum discharge and low power consumption, AquaMaof CEO David Hazut said in a press release.
“We are extremely honored to take part in this innovative project and to support the West Coast Salmon team and investors, on their mission to supply the local market with fresh, clean, healthy, and sustainably-produced Salmon,” Hazut said. “Today, more than ever, it has become extremely important to maintain a clean, bio-secured, disease-free environment in seafood production. This is enabled by producing fish on land, in a closed fully controlled environment, utilizing our RAS technology.”
In addition to financing, Bregal Partners is also supplying human resources to the West Coast project. Bregal, which owns majority stakes in American Seafoods and Blue Harvest Fisheries, recruited Blue Harvest President and CEO Keith Decker and Amy Humphreys, the CEO of Bristol Bay Seafood Investments and a current American Seafoods and Blue Harvest board member, to serve on West Coast Salmon’s board of directors.
“We are excited to help propel the advance of sustainably farmed salmon alongside such a distinguished group of industry leaders. We look forward to the company's success in producing high-quality, locally-raised salmon that is delivered same-day fresh from the farm to its customers and is healthy both for consumers and the environment,” Bregal Co-Founder and Managing Partner Scott Perekslis said in a prepared statement.
Photo courtesy of West Coast Salmon