US Senator Angus King recently toured Kingfish Maine’s recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) operating at the University of Maine’s Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research (CCAR) in Franklin.
Senator King viewed Kingfish Maine’s broodstock operations as the company continues its pre-design phase for its Jonesport facility.
“For generations, Maine’s ocean economy has supported our communities. Today, with investments in the aquaculture industry, we have exciting new opportunities to continue this long-standing tradition of producing high-quality ocean products,” said Senator King. “I was so excited to tour the state-of-the-art Dutch yellowtail operations in Franklin, which is the first step in establishing the kingfish facility in Jonesport. I want to thank the Kingfish team for choosing Maine as its American hub and investing in our great state.”
Kingfish Maine is part of the Kingfish Company, which is currently operating its first RAS facility in the Netherlands. Kingfish Maine has received all required federal, state, and local permits to build its US-based facility in Jonesport, which is expected to produce 8,500 tonnes of yellowtail when fully operational.
“We are honoured to have Senator King and his staff tour our existing Franklin facility where we have built and are currently operating the same advanced RAS technology used in the Netherlands, ” said Megan Sorby, Kingfish Maine operations manager. “We recently harvested our first Dutch yellowtail from Maine, and for the first time, provide our US-grown fish to the market.”
The limited release of Dutch yellowtail from Maine (8,000 lbs.) was distributed to and served at restaurants in Maine, Boston, DC and California this spring.
According to the company, the special release took “all 20 top seafood industry headlines in the first week”.
"We had great collaborative partners in Maine-based Bristol Seafood for processing and Wheeler Seafood in sales. We hope this is indicative of the economic benefit we can provide in our direct employment as well as indirect impact for other great Maine companies," said Tom Sorby, Kingfish Maine operations manager.
Kingfish Maine is collaborating with the Washington County Community College, the Labor Department, and the Sunrise County Economic Council to establish apprenticeships and training programmes to develop the workforce in the Downeast Region. At full capacity, Kingfish Maine will create more than 70 jobs, with many more jobs to be created in the region when the construction phase is underway.