RASTECH Magazine

Industry update News Management Sustainability
Xcelerate Aqua enter US RAS arena with launch of Katahdin Salmon

February 16, 2023  By  Nestor Arellano

Proposed Katahdin Salmon Inc. RAS facility (Image: Katahdin Salmon Inc)

Xcelerate Aqua, the aquaculture start-up created by former Nordic Aquafarms president Eric Heim and Marianne Naess, today announced a new recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) company, Katahdin Salmon Inc.

The new company is focused in providing fresh salmon to consumers in the United States East Coast. Katahdin Salmon’s proposed RAS facility will be built on the site of the former Great Northern Paper Co. mill in Millinocket, Maine. The facility will have a capacity of 5,000 metric tons (MT) of Atlantic salmon a year, with a future second phase adding an additional 5,000 MT of capacity.

The site will include feed storage, a hatchery, grow out facilities, and the supporting infrastructure for those operations including processing, oxygen storage, back-up power, and a digester for bio waste.


Heim and Naess, who was executive vice president Nordic Aquafars, announced their departure from the Norway-based company he founded with his wife in July last year. The couple then formed a “smaller and learner”, Maine-based company called Xcelerate Aqua.

“We don’t see any significant volume growth of domestic salmon coming from anything else than land-based growth. We have looked closely at the development of the industry in the US over the past five years and listened to the concerns expressed regarding aquaculture. The proposed farm addresses these concerns, and we believe it will contribute to opening for further development of RAS aquaculture in the US going forward” said Naess, chief executive officer and co-founder of Katahdin Salmon. 

The site selected for the proposed project comes with unique benefits that will take down the time to market, the investment threshold, and the risks, according to a press release from the company.

“We have successfully developed and permitted every land-based project we have been involved with in the past decade because we are thorough, science-based, and quality focused,” said Heim, co-founder and chairman of the board of Katahdin Salmon. “One needs to remember successful development is not only about RAS design, but organizational development, commercial planning, value chain, plant logistics, targeted innovation, and more.”

“The arrival of Katahdin Salmon will be another exciting step toward the revitalization of the former Great Northern Paper mill site,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement. “This state-of-the-art facility will raise Atlantic salmon in an environmentally sustainable way while creating dozens of new jobs.”

Print this page


Stories continue below