Nordic Aquafarms, a Norwegian-based company that's planning a $500-million land-based salmon farm in Belfast is expected to acquire two Danish kingfish companies, ahead of its U.S. operational launch in Maine. The company is aggressively expanding its international land-based fish-farming operations. From left, Ed Cotter, project director, Marianne Naess, vice president of commercial, Erik Heim, CEO, and Jacki Cassidy, community liason for Nordic. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN

BELFAST, Maine — Nordic Aquaculture has reached an agreement with Denmark-based Sustainable Seafood Invest to acquire controlling interest in two of its kingfish operations, the company said this week.

It comes as the land-based fish farm conglomerate prepares to launch bi-coastal operations in the U.S., with a controversial $500-million indoor salmon farm in Belfast that’s pending final approval from planners and another facility in the works for California.

In the deal reported by the aquaculture industry blog The Fish Site, Nordic will secure 50 percent of the shares in SSI’s Maximus division, which produces juvenile yellowtail kingfish and has its own broodstock. It also will acquire 32.5 percent of the shares in SSI’s Sashimi Royal A/S division, which grows yellowtail kingfish up to 5 kg. Both companies have produced yellowtail kingfish since 2017 and sell primarily to European markets.

The deal will secure the companies as fully owned subsidiaries of Nordic Aquaculture and give them a lock on the market. Nordic Aquafarms is the only land-based producer of two high-value species, yellowtail kingfish and salmon, Nordic Aquafarms’ CEO Bernt Olav Røttingsnes said, and the deal will allow the company to focus on growing its seafood supply.

“We have made plans for further development of the companies and will evaluate how these can be implemented in the near future,”Røttingsnes told The Fish Site. “With this acquisition we strengthen our biological diversification and expand the opportunity space for future projects globally.”

Nordic is actively eyeing the Asian fish-farming market, according to its website, as the Norweigan company looks to be the international leader in sustainable seafood farming.

The company “will continue to look for new locations for our aquafarms,” Røttingsnes said.