A legal dispute between the parent company of a planned Bucksport salmon farm and a consultant hired to aid with the land-based project has been settled.   Credit: Ethan Genter / BDN

A legal dispute between the parent company of a planned Bucksport salmon farm and a consultant hired to aid with the land-based project has been settled.  

Emergent Holdings, the company behind Whole Oceans, was sued by GNP Consulting, an Indiana-based firm that Emergent had brought on to help with its aquaculture projects. The two parties went into mediation last month and said Friday that they had reached a settlement.

Lawyers for both companies did not return a request for comment on the details of the settlement, which were not included in documents for the case in federal court.

The lawsuit sprang from a contract disagreement between the companies.

GNP Consulting owners Gabriel and Nicholas Pranger said they sold their aquaculture engineering firm PR Aqua to Emergent Holdings in 2019 for $6.25 million.

As part of the sale, the Prangers would continue to manage PR Aqua and help with Whole Oceans. But in July 2021, the Prangers filed the lawsuit, claiming that Emergent still owed them $2.4 million and broke the contract agreement. In a counterclaim, Emergent said they terminated the contract and ceased payments because Nicholas Pranger failed to deliver on his promises and underestimated the cost for the Bucksport project by $150 million.

Whole Oceans is the first of four major planned land-based salmon farms in Maine that has all of the approvals needed to move ahead, though it has been slow to start construction. According to court documents, the project is now estimated at $400 million.

The company announced in March that it would start site work at the old Verso paper Mill in Bucksport this spring, though it’s unclear if that’s happened yet.