Land-based salmon farming company Whole Oceans announced in a public statement on Thursday that it will soon start pre-construction work on one of the largest land-based, recirculating aquaculture systems in the world.
The planned land-based Atlantic salmon farm, set to be built in Bucksport, Maine at the site of the former Verso paper mill secured approval for its construction in 2019.
Whole Oceans will shortly begin preparation work on about 30 of the more than 100 acres of land at the site along the Penobscot River, as the company continues design work on another section.
The salmon farming company is in the process of finalizing an agreement with a regional company to clean-up and grade the site, as well as working on one of Whole Oceans’ farm lots.
“I am looking forward to being in Bucksport and managing the initial site work and to seeing this project move forward,” Mike Thompson, a project manager for Whole Oceans, said. “The Bucksport community has been tremendously supportive of our efforts to date and I share their enthusiasm for seeing site work get underway,” Thompson added.
Initially, some of the work will be exploratory, as old buildings and underground pipes still need to be removed, as well as investigating the current depth of the concrete foundations at the site. The work is expected to continue through the remainder of 2022, with a start date for construction of the actual facility still to be confirmed.
The Maine-based company announced back in 2018 that it had purchased the paper mill site and was set to invest $250 million into the project, producing 50,000 metric tons of Atlantic salmon per year once it is operational.
The project has been embroiled in a legal dispute between the parent company of Whole Oceans, Emergent Holdings, and GNP Consulting, which was brought in to support aquaculture projects before later being terminated. The firing was reportedly due, in part, to the consulting firm underestimating the cost of the planned farm by $150 million.