There is such little experience with the size of the recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) Atlantic salmon farm that Nordic Aquafarms is preparing to build in the US state of Maine that it raises environmental and energy concerns, but the Norwegian company is up to the task.
That’s what Deloitte and Touche says in a 20-page report delivered to the town of Belfast, Maine, in early July, the Portland Press Herald reports.
“There is extensive experience from land-based salmon farming to the size of post-smolt,” said the report in its conclusion. “For growth beyond post-smolt (to the slaughter size) there are limited biological and operational experiences with the size and format of the outlined production set-up. We believe that Nordic Aquafarms holds the necessary experience and competency to professionally initiate land-based salmon farming in [the] city of Belfast, Maine.”
Nordic Aquafarms reported in May that it had completed nearly all of the due diligence needed for the 40-acre site where it plans to begin construction next year on its 33,000 metric ton land-based salmon farm. The company has been hiring North American staff as it prepares for the first phase of its project, which is to include grow-out tanks for 13,000t of salmon.
Deloitte’s report, which the city paid $14,000 to commission, lists 10 interview subjects, including the municipal, environmental and business officials in Norway and Denmark, a salmon farming company, the CEO of a smolt production company, and two representatives of DNB Bank and DNB Markets in New York, according to the newspaper.
RAS technology “has been developed through many years and is still under development,” the report stated, explaining that concerns regarding the technology include “energy consumption and the cleanliness of discharge water.”
But the big challenge, the report concluded, is how well the company does at convincing potential investors. Nordic Aquafarms needs to raise $150 million in starting capital, according to the report, which noted that the investment firms involved with the company are “experienced and well respected.”
“On [a] general basis, compared with traditional fish farming, we see a relatively lower environmental risk to projects using RAS technology,” the report said. “Financing of the project is perceived to be feasible, but it will depend on the company’s ability to present a good business case to potential investors.”