I have always loved eating salmon - dubbed the "king of fish" for its full, rich flavor and numerous health benefits. Wild caught and certain farmed raised salmon are excellent sources of protein and vitamins, but it is vitally important to know exactly where that salmon is sourced, and how the fish are raised.
Located in the small fishing village of Blacks Harbour, New Brunswick, is a family owned business that has become one of the leading innovators of sustainable Atlantic salmon farming. True North Salmon Company is one of North America's largest and most trusted producers of fresh North Atlantic Salmon, and Trout, as well as a variety of smoked and specialty seafood.
During my recent visit to Maine, I had the opportunity to take some friends on a short trip to True North's fish farm. Here are some photos, and please take some time to visit their web site. You can also learn more from the National Aquaculture Association.
Before we set out on our trip to the True North Salmon Company fish farm, I uploaded a special navigation app, Navionics Boating USA, on my iPad to help guide us through the waters. My boat is equipped with the most advanced navigational instruments, but it is also fun to use the iPad. http://www.truenorthsalmon.com
We left at 10am with two representatives from True North – its head of global marketing, Andrew Lively, and his marketing manager, Devan Zanatta.
The weather was questionable for our boat ride, but with promises of clearing.
The flag signifies this is an American vessel. My Hinckley picnic boat creates a wake at 20-knots.
I like to drive whenever I can. I use a joystick for steering, although in my Hinckley, I can also use the wheel.
After an hour, we reached the shores of Black Island. Directly across the sea is Bass Harbor and the lighthouse on the mainland. The fog had not yet lifted.
My property director, Mike Fiore, got out onto the bow of the boat to take this photo.
This is our first glance of the salmon fish farm nets.
The salmon net is a round construction anchored on the sea floor. One specially made cage can hold 30 thousand fish.
Feeding is automatic and monitoring is all done electronically. 27 such nets are at this fish farm.
Two men man the feeding and care of the farm at all times – they have duties every day of the year.
Russ Sprague manages the salmon farm and oversees all its operations. He’s been with the company a long time.
This is the net float and walkway.
The nets are extremely strong, weatherproof and impenetrable.
Here is a good illustration of the cage system – only the top is above the water.
This is Skylands II tied to one of the cages.
This is a closeup of all of us. Here I am with my guests including gardening and features editor, Melissa Ozawa, and editor-at-large, Hannah Milman.
My boat is a classic Hinckley picnic boat 36.
This is a new automated feeding barge, which holds thousands of tons of food for the farmed salmon.
Special sea cameras are everywhere and the video feed goes to the main offices of True North Salmon, a $1.8 billion dollar fish company.
Russ greets us in his wet suit on the ladder, which gives access to the barge.
The feed is transferred from the barge via long plastic tubes, which float atop the sea to each cage.
Here is a group photo of all of us on the barge. I am joined by Russ, Andrew, Melissa, Devan, Hannah and my friend and horticulturist, Dan Hinkley.
Hannah loved the entire process and hasn’t stopped talking about it.
Here I am holding fish pellets – the only food the salmon eat during their growing stage. The food is made from fish oil, heads, tails and a little grain. No salmon parts are used to feed the salmon.
If one looks closely, here are some of the 30-thousand salmon housed in each cage.
Here is Melissa posing for a photo. In the distance, the fog is rolling in.
This is Skylands II from above. When we got back, I navigated the boat to the Claremont Hotel dock for lunch. This hotel, overlooking Somes Harbor, is famous for its croquet tournaments. http://www.theclaremonthotel.com