Aquaculture North America

From the Editor: Awkward transitions

November 20, 2023
By Jean Ko Din

The saltwater grow-out facility produces 40,000 lbs. of salmon each week. (Photo: Sustainable Blue)

It has been another tumultuous year for the salmon industry and, as interim editor of Aquaculture North America, I still feel like I’m catching up. 

The cover story, for example, is one that I know will invoke mixed feelings for the aquaculture industry in North America. In the aftermath of traditional net pen farming bans in Washington State, this spotlight on Sustainable Blue’s promise to bring its recirculating aquaculture model seems like bittersweet news. 

In fact, it almost feels ironic to think that a land-based, closed containment system that touts zero wastewater discharge might offer a messy solution for the government’s effort to replace the net pen industry in the state. 

What I mean by this is, as editor of this publication’s sister magazine, RAStech, I’ve learned that recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) is highly specialized work. North America has seen new RAS projects popping up across the continent but it still remains to be seen whether there are enough available skilled workers to run these megafarms to its fullest capacity.


But Sustainable Blue CEO Kirk Havercroft seems optimistic about the company’s own potential to find a new home in Washington State. Though it’s still much too early to guarantee this project will break ground, this technology also offers a lot of hope for the industry’s opportunities in this region.

There are rumours of other RAS companies eyeing locations in Washington State for their own facilities. Could Washington State be a new hub for American RAS? We’ll certainly be paying close attention.

We’ll also keep an eye on the developments of salmon aquaculture in British Columbia as we have in the past couple of years. 

As I fill these interim editor shoes, I’d love to open my email inbox to you. What stories should our pages be shedding light on? I’m interested to know. Send me an email at

From all of us at Aquaculture North America, stay safe and well. 

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