US land-based salmon farmer AquaBounty Technologies has identified the next US location for its planned large-scale farm, where it will produce its AquAdvantage gentetically modified salmon.

The new farm will be located in Mayfield, Kentucky, and will be AquaBounty’s first large-scale commercial facility with a planned production capacity of 10,000 metric tons annually, about eight times the size of its currently operating farm in Albany, Indiana, which has a 1,200 metric ton annual production capacity, the company said.

Construction is expected to begin in 2021 and the company anticipates the farm will be ready for commercial production to commence in 2023. The facility will potentially bring approximately 70-90 new jobs to the region.

The company said it searched roughly 230 potential sites before choosing the Mayfield location. Evaluation criteria for the farm included sufficient water and wastewater volumes, low electricity prices, proximity to major population centers, availability of skilled labor pools and a stable, supportive political environment, it said.

“We now are negotiating details of the potential purchase, conducting due diligence, and are moving forward as quickly as possible to finalize the transaction. This milestone positions AquaBounty to rapidly expand our geographic footprint and meet our long-term production goals, creating value for our shareholders,” said Sylvia Wulf, CEO of AquaBounty.

In August, AquaBounty raised above and beyond its offering of $27.5 million (€23.3 million) worth of shares of its common stock to investors it issued earlier this month.

The company reported its gross proceeds from the share sales amounted to approximately $31.6 million (€26.5 million).

The money raised will be used for working capital costs and general corporate purposes, including potentially purchasing land and towards costs associated with the construction or site development for a new production farm, it said.

In June, the company announced it had begun the commercial-scale harvest of conventional Atlantic salmon raised at its first US farm in Albany, Indiana.

"We’re to the point where we’ll have fish in the market," AquaBounty CEO Sylvia Wulf, told IntraFish.

The harvest at AquaBounty's land-based recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) farm is a key part of the company's plan to deliver US consumers its much-anticipated genetically engineered AquAdvantage salmon later this year.

"I think this will be a demonstration the United States can raise salmon in a land-based environment and deliver on consumer expectations for quality, freshness and sustainability," she said.

The RAS facility, which has 40 employees, is processing whole fish for sale initially, as well as head-on and gutted product. The farm will ramp up monthly harvests of conventional salmon throughout the summer and plans to reach 100 metric tons per month by early 2021. The annual capacity of the farm is approximately 1,200 metric tons.