RASTECH Magazine

AquaBounty to sell Indiana RAS facility, prioritize Ohio project

February 14, 2024  By RAStech staff

AquaBounty's northeast Indiana farm is capable of raising 1,200 metric tons of salmon each year. (Photo: AquaBounty Technologies)

AquaBounty Technologies Inc. announced that it will be selling its land-based recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) operation in Albany, Ia.

According to a company statement, AquaBounty said the decision to sell the Indiana farm was to “prioritize the financing alternatives necessary” to complete the construction of its Ohio farm. The company announced a “pause” on its construction in June 2023.

“Making the decision to sell our Indiana farm was a difficult one for us,” said CEO Sylvia Wulf in a company press release. “I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to our team members in Indiana for the job they have done over the last eight years to transform the facility and create a well-run operation. Our focus will be on harvesting the remaining genetically engineered (GE) Atlantic salmon for sale over the coming months to ready the farm for a new owner.”


Wulf adds the company’s current priority will be to secure cash requirements by pursuing “multiple financing alternatives.”

The 122,000 sq. ft. Indiana facility, designed to produce 1,200 metric tons annually, began its operation in 2019 and harvested its first batch of Atlantic salmon in June 2020. The facility shifted to raising its genetically engineered (GE) AquAdvantage salmon shortly after and the company marked the delayed first harvest in February 2021 at 100 metric tons.

The AquAdvantage salmon is being bred and developed at the company’s Rollo Bay, PEI hatchery and broodstock facility. It is the only genetically engineered Atlantic salmon approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada. The Rollo Bay facility also raises traditional Atlantic salmon genetics for the aquaculture market.

The Ohio farm is intended to be the company’s first commercial-scale facility designed to produce 10,000 metric tons of salmon annually on a 429,000 sq. ft. property. The company reports that the Ohio farm site is “roughly 30 per cent completed” since the team first broke ground on the US$320 million project in April 2022.

AquaBounty has faced a myriad of operational challenges, citing supply shortages and construction delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. Shipping issues disrupted the delivery of electrical equipment and components needed by aquaculture companies. Prices of materials skyrocketed.

During the keynote at RASTECH 2023 conference, Wulf shared how the company conducted weekly and monthly consultations with its contractors and suppliers. “We were in constant collaboration with our partners to make sure we understood what the critical supplies were, when did we need them, and what was going to happen with pricing,” said Wulf.

The cost of copper increased exponentially and she said AquaBounty needed to make decision on whether to buy the material at a high price or wait a bit but run the risk of supply disappearing.

“Sometimes, we need to buy at a higher price than what we had planned for because we will need the product at some point in time. You got to have a plan, but you need to be flexible,” Wulf explained. “We have really been closely working with our engineers and our subcontractors to make sure we consider every efficiency we can find.”

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