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Dec 3, 2019
RAS believers making an early stand on American soil
Domestically produced, fresh Atlantic salmon is hitting the U.S. marketplace. That’s nothing new.
What is new is that these fish aren’t from traditional ocean-based farms. They’re from land-based aquaculture facilities in places most people wouldn’t expect.
For industry insiders, the emergence of land-based aquaculture is not too surprising, seen as a response to demand for Atlantic salmon and locally produced food with a low environmental footprint. Despite the considerable expense to build a suitable facility that can produce fish at commercial scale, two prominent producers are making waves with this market-leading species, recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) and are poised to make an early stand in the United States.
The first RAS producer to bring Atlantic salmon to market did so this past July, when Superior Fresh LLC harvested its first batch at its facility in Northfield, Wisc., a thousand miles from the nearest ocean.
Superior Fresh operates an aquaponics RAS system that produces Atlantic salmon and steelhead trout in conjunction with leafy greens. Its certified-organic produce, fertilized by the fish waste, has been on the market since 2018, but the first yield of market-sized salmon staked the company’s claim as RAS pioneers. In celebration, Superior Fresh announced an expansion plan at its current facility to increase production almost tenfold. Construction is in the works for a new facility that will increase their yield from its current 160,000 pounds (80 metric tons) to 1.5 million pounds (750 MT) annually by 2022.
Atlantic Sapphire is also carving out its position as a leader in U.S. Atlantic salmon production, even though its fish are not yet on the market. The Denmark-based company has a facility under construction outside of Miami, Fla., with some fish already in smolt stage of production. The company expects to harvest its first market-sized yield next summer, with an eye on annual production of about 90,000 MT by 2026. Read the article
Editor's note: All of the benefits stated for the firms mentioned in the article apply to AquaBounty's salmon, except ours grows to market size faster.