Kingfish Maine fourth year of its High School Aquaculture Program

The company plans another harvest of Dutch yellowtail from Maine.

Credits: Kingfish Maine
September 25, 2023

Kingfish Maine continues moving forward with company activity in Maine. The Kingfish Maine-sponsored, high school aquaculture program begins its fourth year in Jonesport and a second harvest of sustainable Dutch yellowtail from Maine is planned for late this year, the company said in a press release.

“With the recent affirmation of our state-level permits by the Maine Superior Court, we are laser-focused on our vision for the Downeast region of Maine; providing economic development in partnership with the community of Jonesport,” said Tom Sorby, Kingfish Maine operations manager. “And there’s no better way to prepare the future workforce of Kingfish than introducing area students to the aquaculture industry and our technology.”

The Kingfish Company donated a small recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) to Jonesport Beals High School in 2020, helping students stock the system with tilapia and learn the process of growing and harvesting fish. Lead teacher Robin Monini has added an aquaponics component to the school-based RAS and has successfully landed additional grants to grow the program.

“Our aquaculture/aquaponics program provides real-life training for high school students who are interested in pursuing a future in aquaculture,” said Robin Monini. “It’s a unique program: The students grow the fish and learn the basic mechanics of RAS. They also have a chance to grow vegetables as part of the system. Most importantly, they see how their hard work and effort pays off.”

As the program was launched in September for its fourth year, operations manager Tom Sorby provided students with a primer on yellowtail from Kingfish Maine’s hatchery at the nearby Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research (CCAR).

Tom Sorby and partner, Megan Sorby, have been leading the Kingfish Maine development since inception in 2019. Together, they have led the US project through the local, state and federal permitting phases. With all permits approved, Tom Sorby will continue to build broodstock numbers and complete small-scale grow-out in preparation for the Jonesport development. Megan Sorby will now take an advisory role with Kingfish as she explores new initiatives outside The Kingfish Company.

From Kingfish Maine’s CCAR facility earlier this year, a limited release of Dutch yellowtail from Maine of 8,000 pounds was distributed to and served at restaurants in Maine, Boston, DC and California. Kingfish is announcing another harvest scheduled in November and will be distributed to select restaurants in the US, as well as available to the residents of Jonesport.

“Our first harvest of Dutch yellowtail from Maine was well received by top chefs and restaurants across the country. We look forward to another successful harvest as we continue to prepare for our full production facility in Jonesport,” said Tom Sorby.

“The momentum in Maine is tremendous at this time,” said Vincent Erenst, CEO of The Kingfish Company. “The US operations team is focused on building our broodstock numbers and preparing pre-design for the facility in Jonesport. We credit not only our strong team in Maine but the supportive community of Jonesport, which will benefit from the economic development that we will provide to the region.