BUCKSPORT – Along with the new aquaculture farm coming to the former mill site in Bucksport, there’s also a new lobster processing business at Buckstown Heritage Park.
It’s a work in progress at the new Greenhead Lobster processing facility. Its grand opening was Friday, and after construction wraps up workers hope to start operations within the month.
The site’s general manager, Kris Grimnes, said it has state-of-the-art technology, like a high pressure processing machine.
“It’s a humane death for the lobsters, it kills them within seconds. But it also does a number of good things for the meat. It kills all pathogens. It extends the shelf life out to almost a month,” said Grimnes.
Greenhead Lobster has three buying stations in Stonington and has previously processed the catch in Richmond, Maine and Canada.
Having a facility in Bucksport means the lobster doesn’t have to travel as far and can stay fresh longer.
“We’d like to keep the product here in Maine so that’s been a motivation for us as well,” said Grimnes.
He said they’ll be processing 30,000 pounds of lobster per day, with some of the meat going out freshly cooked and some frozen by a machine using nitrogen.
About fifty people will be working at the new facility.
“With the mill closing, this town just seems motivated for business and it’s a great fit for both,” said Grimnes.
Greenhead Lobster is one part of an effort to diversify Bucksport’s industrial businesses since the closing of the Verso Paper Mill about five years ago.
Town officials said Whole Oceans will be coming to Bucksport’s planning board for their new aquaculture facility at the former mill site. They’re planning to break ground next spring.
“We’ve got a lot of maritime seafood businesses that have come here to Bucksport and the local restaurants have benefited as well,” said Richard Rotella, Bucksport’s community and economic development director.
Also coming to the mill site is a training facility for Maine Maritime Academy in Castine.
Along with its industrial history, town officials said there’s something else that’s bringing new business to the area.
“The quality of life in Maine, the people,” said Rotella.