Newsletter: February

February 22, 2019

Nordic Aquafarms Inc. expands to the West Coast with the announcement of a new land-based aquaculture facility in Northern California

 

We were pleased to announce earlier this month that a new subsidiary of Nordic Aquafarms Inc, California Marine Investments, has entered into an exclusive option agreement with the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District in Northern California to lease 30 acres on the Samoa peninsula near Eureka. This will be our second land-based aquaculture facility in the US, and our first on the West Coast.

 

According to Nordic Aquafarms´ CEO Bernt-Olav Roettingsnes, the agreement is aligned with the company´s US strategy of building its facilities close to the regional markets it plans to serve.

Humboldt Bay Harbor

“As we did on the East Coast, we conducted a thorough search over the past few months to find the right location for our West Coast expansion,” said company President Erik Heim in a news release. “This site meets all of our criteria for building a safe, clean, and sustainable fish farm, and we have been welcomed by local authorities who are excited about the many benefits this project can bring to the area.”

 

This unique location greatly simplifies permitting and provides significant infrastructure savings. The location already has an outfall pipe in place, established access to good freshwater and seawater sources, a substation with power on site and many more benefits. Key permits such as aquaculture licenses are already in place.

Nordic Aquafarms has developed an innovative energy management approach that enables the company to be cost-competitive independent of local energy costs. Solar power, among other sources, will be a part of the energy mix in California.

 

Heim said the company is considering raising salmon or steelhead as options for the land-based facility. A final decision on which species to raise will be based on market considerations market and further discussions with the local permitting authorities.

 

“We will now be situated on both coasts, which fits into our strategy of locating fish farms close to major regional markets,” added Commercial Director Marianne Naess. “The Eureka location will enable us to reach more than 50 million people within a 14-hour drive or less, which reduces the cost and environmental impact of transportation while supplying the market with super-fresh, sustainably raised local fish.”

 

According to local economic officials, the project is also seen as a good match for Humboldt County because it fits into their strategy of developing coastal-dependent industries in the region. The Humboldt Bay Harbor district has already permitted the property for aquaculture and has been looking for an anchor project that will be a catalyst for attracting and developing an aquaculture cluster, so the permitting process is expected to go very smoothly.

 

Naess said the company has already begun engaging in discussions about the project with local authorities and stakeholder groups.

 

Belfast project permit applications to be consolidated before the Maine Board of Environmental Protection

 

In an effort to keep our project on track and maintain transparency in the permitting process, we recently requested that the Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) take jurisdiction over project. The request has been granted.

 

In the letter to the DEP requesting that the Board take jurisdiction, our attorney noted that “The efficiencies of consolidating review for NAF, the Department, and the Board as well as all interested parties are obvious.”

 

The BEP – as distinguished from the Department of Environmental Protection or DEP – is a citizen board created by the Legislature whose members are appointed by the Governor. While the Board is part of the DEP, it has independent decision-making authority in its areas of its responsibility, which include projects of statewide significance.

 

With the BEP now taking jurisdiction over our project, our Maine Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (MEPDES) application, as well as two other major permit applications, Natural Resource Protection Act (NRPA) and Site Location of Development Act (SLODA), will all be consolidated into one comprehensive review, which should result in a more efficient and timely evaluation of our project.

 

Our discharge application has already been submitted, and the NRPA and SLODA applications will be ready soon, following months of extensive planning work. Dates for public information meetings, with the opportunity for public input, will be announced shortly.

 

Our land-raised Yellowtail Kingfish presented at Chef’s Summit

 

We were pleased to participate in the fourth annual Chef’s Summit, hosted by Portland-based O’Maine Studios & Media Kitchen as part of their Taste Maine’s Future initiative.

 

The Chef’s Summit brings together chefs, food and beverage entrepreneurs, and culinary leaders from Maine and New England to generate new ideas and stimulate industry growth with a series of panels, demos, workshops and tasting events. This year’s activities took place at O’Maine Studios in Portland before moving up to the mountain at Sunday River.

Chef Jonathan Romano

Pictured: Chef Jonathan Romano talks with Kim Hamilton, CEO of Focus Maine, one of the many people who sampled our fresh Yellowtail Kingfish at the SashIME Rising reception in Portland. FocusMaine is an initiative to accelerate the creation of quality jobs in Maine by investing in three of Maine’s most globally competitive and high-growth fields, one of which is aquaculture

 

For our part, we brought over Jonathan Romano, chef, restauranteur and one of the biggest sushi pioneers in Norway, along with 80 pounds of fresh Yellowtail Kingfish raised by our sister company, Sashimi Royal, at its land-based facility in Denmark. Jonathan conducted workshops and prepared Yellowtail samples at the SashiME Rising event in Portland and at the Grand Tasting at Sunday River.

 

The Yellowtail clearly demonstrated to all that delicious, fresh, high quality fish can be raised in land-based RAS systems, just as our salmon in Maine will be.

 

Nordic Aquafarms hires Brenda Chandler as CFO in the US

 

Nordic Aquafarms Inc. has hired Brenda Chandler as our full-time CFO in the US, beginning in March 2019. “We are very pleased that Brenda has chosen to join the company as we are proceeding with our plans in the U.S.,” Erik Heim, company president, said. “I also want to thank Thomas A. Brigham, who has been assisting us as acting CFO in the start-up and transition phases.”

 

Brenda has a varied and successful finance career in the technology and paper industries. She has progressive experience in Treasury, Risk Management, Finance, Accounting and most recently Corporate Real Estate.

Brenda Chandler

Brenda has enjoyed working for international companies while living in her native State of Maine. Early in her career Brenda worked for small wood products companies and later joined the Rumford paper mill where she worked in several accounting roles. In 1999 she joined Fairchild Semiconductor and again was promoted through several financial leadership positions, culminating in Senior Director and Assistant Treasurer. In 2016 Fairchild was sold to ON Semiconductor, and after aiding with the acquisition integration, she took over their global Corporate Real Estate program.

 

Brenda holds B.S. and A.S. degrees from the University of Maine Augusta. Born in Bar Harbor, she has roots “downeast” with family from the Belfast and Jonesport areas.

 

A few years ago, she and her husband, Tony, completed renovations to her grandparents’ house in Jonesport, a sentimental journey that brought the old house back to life. The boat they now enjoy there is named “Renovator”.

 

Brenda and Tony live in Auburn on an 18-acre farm. The couple’s latest adventure is the start-up WillowsAwake Winery in Leeds Maine, a 67-acre farm and forest turned vineyard and winery. They have six children between them and six grandchildren. Currently Brenda also serves as board president of Wayfinder Schools and was formerly on the supervisory committee of the Maine Solutions Credit Union.

 

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