Erik Heim, managing partner for Maine's land-based salmon farm Katahdin Salmon, has joined a US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) advisory board to inform aquaculture priorities in the northeastern US.

Heim will represent Maine on the USDA's Northeastern Regional Aquaculture Center (NRAC) advisory board. Headquartered at University of Maryland, College Park, the center is one of five regional aquaculture centers established by Congress for the United States.

Funded by the USDA at an annual level of approximately $700,000 (€646,000), and representing 12 states and the District of Columbia, NRAC develops and sponsors cooperative regional research and extension projects in support of the aquaculture industry in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, West Virginia and Vermont.

Heim, founder of and former president of Maine-based Nordic Aquafarms, and his wife Marianne Naess, are the creators of Katahdin Salmon, a 5,000 metric ton land-based salmon project in Millinocket, Maine.

Naess is the CEO of the project, which she said last year will cost between $120 million (€113 million) and $140 million (€131 million).

Naess and Heim formed Katahdin salmon from Xcelerate Aqua, which was launched in 2022, following her and Heim's exit from Nordic Aquafarms.

The cost for the first phase of Katahdin is significantly lower than the investment required by Heim's former company Nordic Aquafarms, whose 33,000-metric ton Maine facility has been priced as high as $500 million (€496 million) to build, and still is not complete six years after being announced.

While the company has remained quiet about its investment sources, its LinkedIn page points to pre-seed funding in the $110,000 range (€102,000).

The company last year said on LinkedIn it has been funded by Maine investors, which include the Maine Angels. It also said the Finance Authority of Maine Technology Institute and the Maine Venture Fund joined Katahdin Salmon investors in funding pre-construction for the project.

Based at the site of Millinocket's former Great Northern Paper Company, Naess said the location comes with significant cost benefits at a lower "investment threshold."

Download the IntraFish app
Stay a step ahead on seafood. Get news, analysis and insight on-the-go with the IntraFish app.