BELFAST — Nordic Aquafarms CEO Erik Heim said June 25 that the company hired its first two employees in Maine as it prepares to submit permitting applications to local and state authorities later this summer to build a land-based salmon farm in Belfast.
Both hires are Maine natives with extensive aquaculture experience, according to a news release from Nordic Aquafarms.
Carter Cyr, who grew up in Cumberland, has been hired as production manager.
Cyr earned a master’s of science degree in fisheries and aquatic wcience from the University of Florida, Fort Pierce, in 2017.
He was awarded a funded assistantship to complete his graduate studies from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Cyr also holds a B.S. in marine science from Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island.
For the past two years, Cyr has worked as an aquaculture biologist at the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences in Cedar Key, Florida.
Cyr has recently spent time at Nordic Aquafarms' facility in Norway, and starting July 2 he will be working out of the Nordic Aquafarms’ new office in downtown Belfast.
"I'm thrilled to be able to return home to Maine and to put my education and training in aquaculture to work on this exciting project," said Cyr, in a news release. "Land-based aquaculture is the future of fish farming and the Nordic Aquafarms project in Belfast is leading the way."
David Noyes of Kenduskeag will join Nordic Aquafarms in October as chief technology officer.
Noyes has worked in various engineering and construction jobs over the years, and in scientific research at the Aquacultural Research Institute at the University of Maine, where he worked with a variety of animals, including Atlantic salmon. He has an extensive background performing all aspects of aquaculture system maintenance.
He earned a bachelor's degree in Marine Biology from the University of Maine in 2014, and subsequently worked at the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor and as operations manager and system lead for Acadia Harvest in Franklin, where he oversaw multiple recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) for raising several species of fish.
Since last November he has worked as a laboratory assistant at the National Cold Water Aquaculture Center, USDA Agricultural Research Services in Franklin.
Additionally, Noyes is a 15-year veteran of the U.S. Army National Guard and currently holds the rank of Sgt. First Class. He deployed to Iraq with the 133 Engineer Battalion for Operation Iraqi Freedom 2 and spent eight years working in Belfast with the 262nd Engineer Company.
"Nordic Aquafarms is giving me a great opportunity to utilize all the skills I have acquired over the years, along with my extensive RAS experience, right here in Maine," said Noyes, in the release. "This project is going to create career opportunities for many other Maine people, and I am excited to be a part of it."
Heim said that Nordic Aquafarms will gradually build up its workforce in the coming year as the Belfast project progresses from permitting to construction to operations.
Phase 1 of the project is expected to be completed in 2020/2021, and will employ more than 50 people at a variety of skill levels, according to the news release.
Nordic Aquafarms has circulated this link to a video it made of the proposed salmon operation: