Up to 80 jobs may be created at former mill site
AUGUSTA — At its monthly meeting held on May 18, 2023, the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) approved financing for Katahdin Salmon, Inc., an inland aquaculture business to be located in Millinocket. FAME’s actions are expected to help to create approximately eighty jobs in Millinocket.
FAME unanimously voted to approve Katahdin Salmon, Inc.’s application for a FAME Direct loan up to $110,000 to contribute to the financing of pre-construction planning and first management hires for what will become Maine’s first inland land-based salmon farm. The site, formerly the Millinocket paper mill, will feature a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) to deliver 5,000 metric tons of salmon in two stages. In this financing FAME is partnering with Maine Technology Institute, Maine Venture Fund, One North, and other select investors.
FAME found extraordinary public benefit potential from this proposed project, as well as equity investments that have been made into Katahdin Salmon, Inc. Maine’s ten-year economic development plan prioritizes aquaculture and marine sciences, which have long been part of the state’s targeted technology sectors.
Xcelerate Aqua LLC, a Maine-based entity, is the founder of Katahdin Salmon, Inc. The aquaculture development company is owned by Erik Heim and Marianne Naess, both experienced executives from the aquaculture sector. The salmon will be hatched, raised, and processed on site and sold to regional Northeast markets.
“We and involved investors are very appreciative of FAME’s support as we progress with planning for this unique developments that will promote carbon mitigation and regenerative food systems,” stated Erik Heim, co-founder of the company. “We have spent considerable effort in establishing dialogue and a good foundation with local communities, environmental organizations, and others in the past months,” said Marianne Naess, CEO and co-founder.
“FAME is thrilled to support Katahdin Salmon, Inc. with its plans for the RAS facility and particularly its proposed investment plans in the Millinocket region,” stated Richard Trafton, FAME Board chair. “This highly innovative and environmentally sound reuse of the Millinocket paper mill site shows the exciting trend of Maine economic development.”
FAME’s Direct Loan provides access to operating capital for startups and existing businesses for most business purposes. Loans up to $1 million may be available if substantial public benefit is demonstrated and sufficient funds are available.