Computer renderings of Whole Ocean's indoor salmon farm, slated for construction at the former Verso paper mill site in Bucksport. Work on the site is expected to start in August. Credit: Courtesy of John Gutwin of Peppe

The Maine-based company planning a large-scale salmon farm at the former Bucksport paper mill site has hired an executive with 15 years of experience at Bath Iron Works to lead the aquaculture site’s daily operations.

Jason Mitchell, most recently director of ground assembly at Bath Iron Works, will be the salmon farm’s first chief operating officer, Whole Oceans announced Tuesday. Mitchell has 15 years of experience in shipyard operations and held several positions at General Dynamics, the defense contractor that owns the Bath shipyard.

Credit: Courtesy of Whole Oceans

“Mitchell is experienced at leading production and operations management and strategic planning,” Whole Oceans said in a news release.

[Maine lands second major salmon farm, this time at shuttered paper mill]

Mitchell also founded a San Diego brewery, Helms Brewing Co., which he sold in 2017. He and his wife own Yarmouth-based Delany Arts, a community arts space in a former fire station.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in marine engineering and shipyard management at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York, and a master’s degree in business and operations management from San Diego State University.

Whole Oceans expects to start work on the salmon farm at the former Verso paper mill site along the Penobscot River later this year, assuming it gets permits and approvals on schedule. The farm would produce 5,000 tons of Atlantic salmon per year, and the company anticipates a total investment of about $250 million.

Follow Nick McCrea on Twitter at @nmccrea213.

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