Whole Oceans, the developer of a planned recirculating aquaculture system (RAS), has officially applied for a building permit with Bucksport, Maine.
The application showcases Whole Ocean’s plans for the 104 acres that the company purchased in May. The project will include 945,000 square feet of construction in its final form, with various phases of construction taking place over the development period, which the company estimates will take 10 years or more.
“We are close to completing all of the necessary permitting and will soon head into a new phase with engineers and contractors and breaking ground,” Whole Oceans CEO Jacob Bartlett said.
RAS is a technique for raising fish in a closed, indoor, land-based system. Water is continuously recirculated through a purification system, which conserves water and eliminates the need for antibiotics.
Whole Oceans believes that land-based production will be a primary driver of increased Atlantic salmon capacity in the global seafood market. The wastewater permit allows Whole Oceans to discharge an average of 18.6 million gallons of filtered water per day into the Penobscot River to grow salmon from egg to 10 to 12 pounds per fish, gradually increasing production.
“The progress on the Whole Oceans project is exceeding expectations,” said Jason Mitchell, president of Whole Oceans. “It’s amazing what can be achieved when the community, local government and business collaborate toward common goals.”
“Bucksport is an optimal location for this type of operation, and we are looking forward to a long-term relationship with the town and to making this community a world leader in our industry,” Mitchell added.
A first phase of the salmon farm’s development, estimated at $180.6 million, could create as many as 75 jobs in a town that lost 570 jobs when the paper mill closed five years ago. It could also put Maine at the forefront of a fledgling national industry.
When finalized, the project will also require additional infrastructure to support approximately 200 employees/visitors.
The application also indicates that the Whole Oceans will be assisted by Kuterra, a salmon RAS facility in British Columbia, Canada. Kuterra will help with the installation and operation of aquaculture equipment on the Bucksport site.