In your July 7 article on the sudden and unexplained departure of Nordic Aquafarms CEO Erik Heim and his wife Marianne Naess, incoming interim Nordic CEO Brenda Chandler is quoted saying: “This is an exciting time in our industry.”

Ms. Chandler may think it’s an exciting time in her industry, but the evidence suggests otherwise.

Prices for farm salmon are low and have been very volatile since the start of the pandemic, and aquaculture trade journals regularly run articles on considerable investor doubt about the industry and about land-based aquaculture technology being behind, or well behind, industry plans.

Meanwhile, inflation has likely pushed Nordic’s Belfast and California construction costs well beyond the original estimate of $500 million each, and Nordic recently made considerable hay about raising $17 million, a mere 1.7% or less of what it needs.

Worse still, land-based industrial fish farms from Norway to New Brunswick have recently experienced mass fish die-offs, including gigantic die-offs totaling 900,000 fish at Atlantic Sapphire’s land-based industrial fish farm in Florida. Those disasters caused the company’s stock price to plummet and sent shock waves through the industry and through the investor world.

The July 7 article states that “Nordic has all its major local, state and federal permits for the Belfast project…” But the article fails to mention that Nordic’s crucial Maine Department of Environmental Protection permit and Nordic’s ownership claim for crucial intertidal land are both under appeal, with no imminent end in sight.

In other words, Nordic is still well short of clearing all its Belfast hurdles, and well short of starting construction.

So, incoming Nordic interim CEO Brenda Chandler may indeed be excited about her industry’s future, but real-world events suggest Ms. Chandler’s professed excitement is so much whistling in the dark.

Lawrence Reichard


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