Atlantic Sapphire completed the first commercial harvest of salmon from its land-based facility in Miami on Monday, marking a major milestone for the company and the large land-based salmon industry.
Atlantic Sapphire Interim CFO Karl-Oystein Oyehauge told IntraFish the harvest "is a proud moment for the Sapphire team."
The company said it will now be supplying weekly volumes to customers such as Giant Eagle, H-E-B, New Seasons Market, Publix, Safeway, Sobey's, Sprouts Farmers Market and Wegmans.
The Chef’s Warehouse, a Connecticut-based gourmet food and restaurant supplier, will be among the first buyers to receive the product, Atlantic Sapphire said.
A long list of seafood buyers praised the milestone in Atlantic Sapphire's announcement of the harvest.
Giant Eagle Seafood Director Rich Castle, who called the product a “game changer,” said his company is looking forward to "a long-term partnership with Atlantic Sapphire.
Portland, Oregon-based New Seasons Market Seafood Program and Category Manager Daisy Berg, the first US retailer to carry Atlantic Sapphire's land-based salmon, also praised the group, saying that the company "believed in Atlantic Sapphire since day one."
Adam Caslow, co-CEO of Acme Smoked Fish, which reached an agreement to supply volumes of Atlantic Sapphire's smoked salmon to retailers, called the announcement of the first harvest a "seismic shift."
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Atlantic Sapphire, co-founded by Atlantic Sapphire Inc. CEO Johan Andreassen and Bjorn-Vegard Lovik, first began raising salmon to market size in Hvide Sande, Denmark, around 10 years ago. The company still has operations there, but its Miami facility is where it has staked its future -- and significant investment funds.
The company is nearing completion of phase 1 of its Miami project, where it is expected to raise roughly 10,000 metric tons of salmon annually.
Earlier this month, it raised NOK 906 million (€84.6 million/$100 million) in a “significantly” oversubscribed private placement, just after announcing the departure of its CFO and revealing cost overruns on its Miami project from around $3 (€2.50) per kilo, to around $22 (€18.35) per kilo.
The operation has faced other setbacks. In July, the company was forced to make an emergency harvest of 200,000 fish, which it blamed on impacts from construction noise.
The group is projecting 220,000 metric tons of salmon will be harvested from the facility by 2031.
Shares of Atlantic Sapphire, which trade on the Oslo Stock Exchange, are down over 18 percent since the beginning of the year.