What is the project?

Great Northern Salmon, Inc, is going to build an Atlantic Salmon fish farm using a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) at the One North industrial site in Millinocket. The salmon will be hatched, raised, and processed on-site and sold both locally and to regional Northeast markets.  The facility is projected to be producing salmon by 2026.

What is Great Northern Salmon?

Great Northern Salmon founders Erik Heim and Marianne Naess have developed some of the most progressive aquaculture businesses in the world. The company plans to establish America’s first 100% renewable energy, land-based RAS facility in Millinocket, Maine, making it one of the most environmentally low-impact aquaculture production farms in the United States.

Will this create local jobs?

Yes. There will be about 70-80 full-time jobs once the facility is operating at full capacity. The jobs range from fish handling, processing, WTTP (wastewater treatment plant), technical and maintenance, administrative, and other jobs needed to maintain the facility. All jobs provide a livable wage with full benefits. Local hiring will be a priority.

What kind of jobs will there be during the 2-year construction phase?

 There will be approximately 100-150 jobs during the construction process. Great Northern Salmon will contract with a construction management company to manage the build-out of the facility. More information on hiring and job availability will be provided as the project evolves. 

How will this benefit my community and the region?

Adding 70-80 jobs to the local economy will have an enormous impact on the community. Each middle-class job created by Great Northern Salmon contributes to every sector of the economy, from the tax base to schools to restaurants and grocery stores. For every dollar coming into the community through wages and investments, there is a multiplier effect. Additionally, wins attract more wins. Our Katahdin envisions a full campus of related businesses on the One North site, and already, there is collaboration between Great Northern Salmon and other potential tenants on the site. Locating an aquaculture facility on the site will bring more job opportunities in complementary industries. 

How does the fish farm work?

The full life cycle of the salmon will be contained within the indoor facility – from hatch to harvest. The facility is compartmentalized to accommodate different stages of the salmon growth cycle. Tanks are connected by pipes that allow the salmon to swim from one growth stage area to the next, reducing handling and increasing safety and well-being for the fish. As the salmon grow, the stock is divided into more tanks, and the fish are transferred through pipes within the buildings. Before harvest, the fish swim through underground pipes to the purge and processing facility where they are harvested and processed.

How much fish will be produced at the facility per year?
  • The facility will be built in two phases of 5,000 metric tons (11 million pounds) each for a total capacity of 10,000 metric tons (22 million pounds) when fully built out.
  • The fish will be harvested when it reaches 8-10 pounds.
  • The fish will be processed onsite into head-on-gutted fish and filets.
  • The fish will be distributed to the regional Northeast markets (including being for sale in Millinocket!).
What will the fish eat?

The nutritional requirements of the fish can be met with a broad range of ingredients. Great Northern Salmon will source ingredients that have minimal impact on the environment. The small amount of marine ingredients that may be used would be processing byproducts or come from sustainable fisheries/aquaculture. Great Northern Salmon will replace these ingredients with more innovative solutions such as fermented single cell proteins, insect meals, and algae oils as soon as it becomes commercially viable. In addition, there will be no traces of antibiotics in the fish feed, no GMOs, no artificial coloring, and no soy from Brazil in the fish feed.

Great Northern Salmon plans to transport fish feed to Millinocket by train.

Why did Great Northern Salmon choose Millinocket for its fish farm?

The proposed site in Millinocket is the best site for this kind of facility from an environmental, production, and investor perspective. Millinocket offers:

  • An abundance of clean water suitable for fish farming
  • 100% renewable power to reduce the CO2 footprint
  • Existing infrastructure in place that reduces cost, time-to-market, and risks
  • A business-friendly community that is seeking economic development opportunities
  • An area with excellent recreational opportunities that makes it a nice community to raise families and develop a good and stable workforce.
Will I be able to purchase the fish locally?

Yes. Fish raised in Millinocket will be sold locally, in Maine, and in the Northeast. Salmon will be transported by trucks to markets, providing a fresh and healthy product to regional consumers.

Will there be light pollution from the facility at night?

No. Lights are used inside the facility to create optimal and stable growth conditions for the fish, but the facility does not have windows that allow lights to be visible at night. All outdoor lights will be either downward-facing or motion-sensitive to ensure that there is no light pollution from the facility.

Will there be offending odors?

 No. The fish tanks are clean and don´t omit any odors. Waste products are stored in sealed containers and sludge is immediately transferred to the digestor on site for processing.

Is the facility discharging water into the river?

RAS systems are extremely efficient, recirculating and reusing more than 99.5% of the water used in the facility. The 0.5% water remaining will be discharged after treatment with UV light, ultrafiltration to remove more than 99% of the nutrients, and removal of all pathogens under strict biosecurity protocols.  Additionally, the fish are harvested before they are sexually mature, ensuring that no pheromones will be released into the river that could affect local fish.

Can the fish escape from the facility?

No. The fish live their entire life from eggs to harvest inside of the fish production buildings and are transported through an internal piping system when they are transferred to larger tanks as they grow. The fish swim through pipes that are separate and unconnected to the outfall pipe that goes to the river.

Do you use antibiotics during the life cycle of the salmon?

No. Antibiotics are only used in case of an emergency, and historically, the managing party has never used antibiotics at any of the farms they have built. 

All fish going to market will be antibiotic-free certified.

Is the land-based fish farming facility in Millinocket bad for the environment?
  • No. Great Northern Salmon uses a Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS), which means the facility will have no ocean impact. Land-based salmon farming was introduced for grow-out facilities to mitigate the environmental impact of ocean farming.
  • Great Northern Salmon facility will use 100% renewable power to reduce the CO2 footprint from the facility. The facility in Millinocket is the only large-scale RAS farm in the US that has proposed to use only renewable power.
  •  Most of the water (> 99.5%) used at the facility is recirculated. The small amount that is being discharged is highly treated, resulting in no pathogens, parasites, bacteria, or viruses being released from the facility. In addition, more than 99% of the nutrients and more than 90% of the Nitrogen will be removed before the water is discharged.
  •  All waste products from the facility are being handled on-site by a digester placed at the facility.
Has Great Northern Salmon engaged with the local community?

Yes. Great Northern Salmon has prioritized communication with the community and other stakeholders. We have had conversations with business and community leaders in the Katahdin region, tribal and environmental groups, and elected officials. The feedback so far has been encouraging. This is a community that welcomes development.

What kind of engagement is being done in the community and how can I learn more about the project?

Great Northern Salmon is planning to keep the public informed about the project through their website, greatnorthernsalmon.com, through Our Katahdin updates, and public meetings during the buildout.