Katahdin Salmon reaches major milestones 14 months after it was announced.

Contact person: Marianne Naess, CEO & Co-Founder of Katahdin Salmon, Inc.

Email: marianne.naess@katahdinsalmon.com

Phone: +1-207-830-3118


Since the company was founded in October 2022, Katahdin Salmon has progressed significantly in planning and de-risking. The company is now pleased to announce major progress on several important milestones:

  • Discharge-, Aquaculture-, and VRAP- permits are final. The company has obtained these high-priority permits in record time.
  • Since site permits were grandfathered in and the project is being developed in an existing man-made structure, remaining permitting/permit amendments are low risk and will be handled in conjunction with the remaining design work.
  • The Millinocket site’s significant CAPEX benefits have been validated. Existing infrastructure, site qualities, and design optimization provide $ 60-80 million in direct savings compared to most other sites for similar facilities.
  • Bidding is in progress for site preparation work to start in 2024.
  • Biological risk mitigation and fish welfare priorities have guided planning work.

The company has now obtained all the critical permits it has applied for. The final discharge permit (MEPDES) was issued in early April and the appeals period is closed with no challenges to the final permit. Appeals to discharge permits have been one of the major challenges for projects in this industry in the US with potential delays of several years. Thus, reaching this milestone has been the highest priority for Katahdin Salmon. 

The Department of Marine Resources also issued the final Aquaculture License in April this year. “We have now obtained the critical permits that significantly de-risk the company so we can proceed with the more capital-intensive detailed design and site-preparation activities”, says Marianne Naess, CEO of Katahdin Salmon. 

The company and its development partner “Our Katahdin” also received approval for site-remediation activities from the Maine DEP in December last year. The VRAP (Voluntary Response Action Program) allows properties to be remediated according to a plan approved by the EPA/DEP, in exchange for protections from Department enforcement actions. “The remediation involves emptying the large man-made lagoon we are building inside. Extensive testing has confirmed there is no contamination of concern present”, says Naess. 

An RFP for remediation was issued in April and contractors from across the country have shown interest in the project. The project will be managed by Sevee & Maher Engineering and the contractor is expected to be selected within the next couple of months with a start of the remediation later this summer. 

The company will apply for amendments to the existing site development permit as the company progresses on RAS and civil designs. 

Katahdin Salmon is launching a new company brand next week.

Katahdin Salmon is now entering a new phase and has decided to rebrand the company. The new brand will be launched next week. 

Katahdin Salmon has been a good name for the initial development phases. Now that the company is entering into a new phase, it is the right time to transition to a name that reflects the developments of the company and the way forward. 

  • Although the company is focused on developing the first site, the new brand will be scalable to future locations and reflects our ambition to expand to future locations in North America. 
  • The brand will represent the company´s vision: producing high-quality salmon in areas with access to plenty of clean and cold water in the Northern USA.
  • The facility will be developed at the site of the former paper mill in Millinocket. The new brand will reflect the ties to the community and its history and at the same time represent our future ambitions and direction. 

The new brand will be launched next week together with other company updates. 

Identified significant Capex savings

Katahdin Salmon has significant in-house development and estimation experience. During the planning and design phase, the company has validated between $60-80 million in CAPEX savings compared to the projected costs of other facilities of similar size. The projected savings are based on the unique site qualities and efficiencies developed in facility planning. 

  • The existing infrastructure on the site represents significant savings for the project, 
  • The pre-excavated site with a glacial till foundation results in significant reductions in concrete and foundation needs, and 
  • Design optimization accounts for the capex savings of the core infrastructure.

The company´s capex estimate is $270 million with 2024 inflation updates.

RAS design and bio-planning

The company has progressed significantly in production planning and design and developed many risk-mitigating solutions to ensure operational continuity in the facility.

  • The design allows for each RAS grow-out module to be temporarily turned into a hybrid RAS system to mitigate negative fish welfare incidents without increasing the discharge. Having access to enough water is a major biological risk mitigation measure. 
  • The company´s bioplan allows for one of the six grow-out modules to be turned into a pre-purge section if needed to ensure that we will deliver great-tasting fish to the market.
  • The bio-plan mixes several cohorts per RAS module resulting in lower than industry-average densities, lower system loads, and better capacity utilization compared to a traditional “all-in-all-out” approach. This increases the stability of the system and reduces the size of each RAS module, and thus CAPEX. 

The facility also includes the highest degree of water treatment in the industry both for the water intake and wastewater. The tide in the industry has been turning between no discharge, setting the fish welfare at risk, to hybrid and flow-through systems, increasing the environmental impact and biosecurity risks, we believe we can achieve both by having the highest degree of water treatment in the industry and enough water to ensure fish welfare” says Naess. 

Katahdin Salmon´s water treatment processes:

Katahdin Salmon will apply the highest water treatment standards in the industry for both the intake and discharge water:

  • On the intake, the water is treated using a combination of membrane ultrafiltration, ozonation, UV disinfection, and activated carbon to provide a constant source of clean, consistent fresh water. 
  • The on-site wastewater treatment facility will feature a robust treatment train, including dissolved air floatation, denitrification, membrane ultrafiltration, ozone, and finally UV disinfection. This high level of discharge treatment ensures the water leaving the facility is safe to return to the environment.

Katahdin Salmon is founded by Xcelerate Aqua. Based on the results of another Xcelerate Aqua portfolio company progressing in Maine, we have seen great growth and performance: “We have seen outstanding results on our salmon performance. Extremely low mortalities, no health issues, and the largest fish are now approaching 2,5 kilograms. Fish welfare and effective biological risk mitigation are our cornerstones in delivering on biomass targets and financial outcomes”, says Co-founder & Chair of Katahdin Salmon, Erik Heim.

Next steps 

The company will be moving through detailed design work, remediation, and pre-construction planning in the coming months to enable the start of construction on the site in the 2025 summer season. 

In parallel, the company will continue its capital-raising activities with its investment banks. The company offers a significantly de-risked US project, a highly experienced team, and highly competitive financials.

We would especially like to thank the Finance Authority of Maine, Our Katahdin, our investors, and our management team for vital contributions over the past year.