Maine RAS project to prioritize sustainability
January 10, 2019
By Liza Mayer
Nordic Aquafarms said it will seek certification from the Aquaculture Stewardship Council as a sustainable seafood producer once its 40-acre land-based Atlantic salmon farm becomes operational.
Risks to the environment and local waters are top concerns among residents of Belfast, Maine where the company plans to construct the facility.
At the company’s recent “public informational meeting” attended by roughly 180 area residents, company president Erik Heim corrected notions that the recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) project is “experimental.”
“If anybody thinks we’re experimenting with wastewater treatment, this is not the case; this is proven technology. If you look at the environmental technologies being employed here, they are not unique to aquaculture. These are wastewater treatment systems that are used across many industries. We did not invent them,” he told the residents. Mitsubishi, a global player in wastewater treatment, is supplying major parts of the facility in terms of wastewater treatment, he added.
He said Nordic Aquafarms is in fact “willing to invest more than other players in the industry to create a cleaner type of operation.”
“What we are spending a lot of our time on is the fish farming concept that’s behind that and that’s more about how we work to optimize fish welfare and quality in these systems as they scale up,” Heim said.
He said land-based aquaculture projects need to be scaled up to make financial sense. For that to work, investment in infrastructure, fish processing and hatchery operation are needed, and that is what the company is doing, he said.