West Coast Salmon has dumped AquaMaof in favor of Vancouver, Canada-based PR Aqua as its technology provider for the recirculating aquaculture system Atlantic salmon farm it plans to build in the U.S. state of Nevada.

West Coast Salmon AS, which is based in Norway and which counts Nutreco and Bregal Partners as two of its major backers, announced its intention to build an RAS farm with a 50,000-metric-ton annual production capacity in Pershing County, Nevada – to the northeast of Reno – in October 2020. At the time, Rosh Haayin, Israel-based AquaMaof, one of the world’s leading providers of RAS technology, was also announced as one of the project’s four keystone investors.

However, West Coast Salmon announced a switch to PR Aqua on Tuesday, 8 February.

“The decision has been made after thorough review and optimization of the company’s design and execution strategy,” it said in a press release. “PR Aqua’s expertise and track record ensures a solid platform for the company to execute on its plan to build and operate an industrial scale land-based Atlantic salmon operation outside of Reno, Nevada.”

The move appears to have come after West Coast Salmon hired Morten Nielson, the former CEO of AKVA Group’s Land Based division, as its chief operating officer at the beginning of 2021. Nielson followed his former boss, one-time AKVA Group CEO Hallvard Muri, who is one of West Coast Salmon’s founding partners, to the start-up. Muri has ties to Bregal Partners Co-Founder Scott Perekslis through  their involvement with American Seafoods, where Muri served as CEO and Bregal Partners was (and remains) majority owner.

“The management team has made a thorough review and optimization of the company’s design and execution strategy. We are very impressed by PR Aqua’s strong team, expertise, and track record, as well as the initial work they have performed,” Nielson said. “The WCS team is excited to have secured an agreement with PR Aqua and we look forward to executing our plan in partnership with K.C. Hosler and his team to achieve our goal of becoming the leading U.S. West Coast provider of high-quality sustainably raised Atlantic salmon.”

PR Aqua also recently won the contract for the 1,500-MT Taste of BC Aquafarms RAS farm, announced in August 2021 by Blue Star Foods.

“We are extremely proud to take part in this large-scale project and to support the West Coast Salmon team and owners on their mission to supply the U.S. West Coast market with fresh, healthy, and sustainably produced salmon,” PR Aqua General Manager and Chief Technology Officer K.C. Hosler said.

West Coast Salmon has released a business plan consisting of three development phases, eventually producing 50,000 MT of head-on, gutted Atlantic salmon annually. The first phase, scheduled for construction in 2022 after financing is finalized, is designed to produce around 14,000 MT annually by the first half of 2025, and the project will also include a processing facility. The company has secured permitted freshwater rights and additional acreage to enable future expansion, and a contract with Nutreco to provide the farm specialized RAS feed from the company’s subsidiary, Skretting.

“The farming facility’s proximity to major markets will ensure a continuous local supply of a high-quality, fresh, and environmentally sustainable product that has longer shelf-life and significantly reduced CO2 footprint than conventionally farmed salmon transported by air from Chile and Europe,” West Coast Salmon said.

AquaMaof also recently lost the contract to build a series of RAS facilities for Pure Salmon, including farms in France and Japan. Karim Ghannam, a partner and co-founder at 8F Asset Management, the primary owner of Pure Salmon, told SeafoodSource in October 2021 the company is shifting all of its projects besides Pure Salmon Poland to management by Krüger Kaldnes, which it purchased in June 2021.

Photo courtesy of PR Aqua

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