Kuterra Salmon, started by the ‘Namgis First Nation in 2013 to demonstrate that on-land fish farming was possible, has been leased to American investor Emergent Holdings for 15 years.
Emergent Holdings owns Whole Oceans, which is building a large-scale, land-based fish farm on the east coast. By managing Kuterra they hope to build expertise in recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), which is the technology used at Kuterra to circulate fresh salt water through the fish tanks.
‘Namgis elected chief and hereditary chief Don Svanvik says Emergent made an offer to buy Kuterra outright, but the nation voted against the sale, opting to lease instead.
“Kuterra recently had a successful harvest of sushi-grade salmon for commercial sale under the leadership of Emergent Holdings and Whole Oceans,” they stated in a press release.
The fish farm was starting to show financial promise, but its small size prohibits any real profit, Svanvik said.
“If we had built it double the size, probably we’d still be running it and would be able to make a profit. But when we built it, it was really as a demonstration that land-based farming was possible.”
Back in 2013 when Kuterra started, it was North America’s first land-based fish farm.
Jacob Bartlett, CEO of Whole Oceans said, “Given Kuterra’s successful proof of concept along with experienced staff, Whole Oceans stands to gain valuable insights and synergies to advance the company’s workforce training and will also benefit from the technological and marketing expertise of Kuterra.”
The lease began in December 2019.
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