The Kingfish Company is on a roll in its project to build a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) facility in Jonesport, Maine. As the company hoped, the town’s Board of Appeals upheld the Planning Board’s decision to grant a building permit for Kingfish Maine, unanimously rejecting all of the opponents’ appeal arguments. Adding to this milestone, the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) has also provided unanimous support for loan insurance on a direct loan from Machias Savings Bank related to the project. All permits were already in place, so that means the company can start with facility construction this year, as they expected.
Last December, the activist group Protect Downeast announced that it would appeal the permit granted to Kingfish Maine by the Jonesport Planning Board to build The Kingfish Company’s U.S. subsidiary. In response, the land-based yellowtail farmer said it was not concerned by this opposition group’s appeal. Now, the town’s Board of Appeals has rejected Protect Downeast’s appeal and voted unanimously in favor of Kingfish Maine on each of the three appeal issues raised by the opposition group, including the leadership of Roque Island’s summer residents. The formal adoption of the final decision was completed earlier this week.
Megan Sorby, Director of Operations for Kingfish Maine, has commended the Jonesport Board of Appeals for what she considers thoughtful work and decision-making in the appeals process. “Over the past three years, we’ve had unwavering support from the Jonesport community. We are honored that they have welcomed us and we look forward to our collaborative work as we are planning to bring sustainable land-based technology to the U.S.”, she pointed out.
Joint company-community commitment
The Kingfish Company’s project in Maine has always had the support of most of the community. This was emphasized by its CEO, Vincent Erenst, “We credit the Jonesport community for its commitment to the project and sharing our vision for the future”, he said. And added, “The Kingfish Company is committed to demonstrating the highest standards of sustainability, which includes transparency and responsibility to our stakeholders and the community where we intend to develop our latest project”.
A commitment the company pointed out just this week, following news of a controversial new bill presented to the Maine State Legislature this month, seeking to restrict the activities of land-based aquaculture ventures in the State. Speaking to WeAreAquaculture Megan Sorby reminded not only that Kingfish Maine has received all local, state, and federal permits for its Jonesport project, but also that the Maine Department of Environmental Protection sets extremely stringent standards for all aquaculture operations precisely through the lengthy permitting process.
Financial support for aquaculture in Maine
Finally, Kingfish Maine also announced another important milestone for the company. The Finance Authority of Maine has approved a 90% pro rata loan insurance on a $2 million loan from Machias Savings Bank to enable the completion of development preparation for the Jonesport facility. FAME’s Commercial Loan Insurance Program insures a portion of a loan to a business made by a participating financial institution or investment firm.
The institution has shown its full support to the project and to aquaculture in the region. “FAME is proud to partner with Machias Savings Bank to support this aquaculture project in Washington County, which promises to bring quality, good-paying jobs to the area”, said Carlos R. Mello, Acting CEO. “Aquaculture projects support our rural communities and are an important part of Maine’s economic development plan”, he concluded.
About Kingfish Maine
Kingfish Maine is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Kingfish Company, a pioneer and leader in sustainable land-based aquaculture. It will deploy in Maine the same advanced technology and operational excellence proven at the company’s facility in the Netherlands. Once the Jonesport facility is fully operational, it is expected to produce 8500 metric tons of yellowtail. Thus, Kingfish Maine will beco the largest producer of yellowtail kingfish in the U.S. and will provide local sustainable seafood products for North American retailers and food service providers.