RASTECH Magazine

AquaBounty eyes Republic of Georgia as new RAS site

November 9, 2023  By  Jean Ko Din

AquaBounty has set its sights on the former Eastern bloc state of the Republic of Georgia for the location of its next recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) facility.

The company said this is the first time that AquaBounty will enter an additional salmon market through local partnerships in a “capital-lite structure.”

This announcement comes even as the developer of genetically modified salmon reported that its third quarter results were impacted by falling prices of Atlantic salmon.

“Finally, we continue to make progress on leveraging and expanding our operational expertise internationally,” Sylvia Wolf, board chair and chief executive officer of AquaBounty said on Nov. 7. “AquaBounty has entered into a non-binding memorandum of understanding with Noble Salmon, a company formed to build and operate a RAS salmon farm in the Republic of Georgia.”

Georgia is at the intersection of Europe and Asia. It is home to the Caucasus Mountains and the Black Sea Beaches. Georgia was part of the Russian Empire and later the Soviet Union between 1921 and 1991. Today it is an independent republic.

AquaBounty has entered a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with RAS builder and operator, Noble Salmon. The company was formed by the Benish Group under Meni Benish who also co-founded Archi. Archi is a major engineering and real estate development firm in Georgia. Benish is also chair of the Israel-Georgia Chamber of Commerce.

AquaBounty said the Georgia facility will focus on producing Atlantic salmon for nearby markets.

AquaBounty also reported that during the third quarter of 2023, the company had a net loss of US$6.1 million, compared to $5.4 million in the third quarter of 2022.

The company generated $733,000 in product revenue in the third quarter, a year-over-year increase of 12% as compared to $653,000 in the third quarter of 2022.

“Our third quarter results were impacted by a decline in market prices for Atlantic salmon that began during the second quarter, even though our Indiana farm exceeded its planned output,” said Wulf. “However, we continue to be encouraged by the demand for our fish.

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