By setting its sights on building a land-based fish farm in Jonesport, a Dutch firm is hoping to be the first to cultivate yellowtail at a commercial scale in the United States.
Kingfish Zeeland, founded in 2015, has successfully cultivated yellowtail in Kats, Netherlands, in Europe, where in April 2018 it opened a land-based, recirculating aquaculture system that produces approximately 500 metric tons or 1.1 million pounds each year.
By building a similar facility in Jonesport that can produce 6,000 metric tons — or 13.2 million pounds — the company hopes to carve out a bigger share of the United States’ $1.24 billion aquaculture market. According to the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. ranks 16th worldwide for fish and shellfish production from aquaculture (China, with a $144 billion annual aquaculture industry, is by far the leader), but more than half of the seafood imported and consumed in the U.S. is cultivated rather than wild caught.
Ohad Maiman, the CEO of Kingfish Zeeland, told SeafoodSource in May that expanding production to the U.S. is “critical” if the company wants to sell more in the U.S. market, where currently it sells just 10 percent of what it produces.
“While on the macro, overall level, Europe is a larger seafood consumption market, it is quite a fragmented market by member states,” Maiman told the trade industry publication. “The relative consolidation of the U.S. market makes it attractive.”
A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....
More by Bill Trotter