Massive farm raised salmon operation coming to Federalsburg, partnering with UMBC researchers
FEDERALSBURG, Md. – The University of Maryland Baltimore County is partnering with a Norwegian company to bring a massive land-based Atlantic salmon farm to Federalsburg.
Dr. Yonathan Zohar, a UMBC professor of marine biotechnology, is credited with leading the research that is needed for a project like this. Zohar says there has been an increase in the number of people regularly eating salmon, which has drained the wild salmon population. On top of that, Zohar says the United States imports the most seafood in the entire world.
To help meet the demand, Zohar and other researchers have been developing innovative ways to farm Atlantic salmon on land, in an eco-friendly way. This type of aquaculture is less susceptible to disease and produces fresher fish. They also “remove the risk of releasing waste or farmed fish to the environment, and reduce costs and the carbon footprint associated with shipping.”
Kevin Sowers, professor of marine biotechnology, and Zohar have invented a system to convert organic waste in the fish tanks to fuel-grade methane. This technology can generate enough energy to offset about 10 percent of the operation’s energy costs.
The researchers plan on joining the company, AquaCon, for this new three phase project. “I think it’s going to bring the seafood production sector back to Maryland and with all the economic benefits obviously it’s going to add jobs to the Eastern Shore,” says Zohar.
AquaCon will invest $300 million in the first phase and a total of $1 billion for all the three phases. The other two phases involve opening a second and third facility. They should start harvesting from the plant in Federalsburg in 2024.
47 ABC reached out to AquaCon and the attorney for the town of Federalsburg for comment on this project but have not heard back.