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Dutch Aquaculture Firm Plans $110M Land-Based Fish Farm In Jonesport

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Pat Wellenbach
/
Maine Public

A Dutch aquaculture firm is moving forward with plans to build a $110 million land-based project in Jonesport to raise yellowtail kingfish, which are native to New Zealand waters.

Ohad Maiman, CEO of Kingfish Zeeland, detailed the proposal for a recirculating aquaculture system to local officials Wednesday night.

In an interview earlier this year, Maiman said the U.S. is ripe for the introduction of a farmed species other than salmon. And Maine's marine economy he added, was a natural fit.

"The choice of Maine ended up being a combination of first access to sea-water, which is critical," Maiman says. "And the second benefit was a strong seafood culture and infrastructure - everything from cold-chain shipping to processing to the long-standing tradition that, even thought it's not fishing, it's still fish."

Maiman says the business will initially employ 70 people, with a goal of producing 6,000 metric tons of fish in the early years. The company is beginning site surveys for the 90-acre property, and preparing for the submission of discharge and other needed permits.  

Kingfish Zeeland would join other land-based aquaculture projects now in the works in Maine - including salmon farms in Bucksport and Belfast, and an eel farm in Thomaston.