Group of Local Nonprofits and Investors Purchase ARC Hatchery

Richard Kraus explains the processes inside the hatchery.

Richard Kraus explains the processes inside the hatchery.

DENNIS – The Aquacultural Research Corporation has transferred its hatchery business to new ownership and management.

A group of investors led by the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance made the $3 million deal to ensure the future of the hatchery in Dennis.

ARC will now be led by CEO Rob Doane, who joined ARC in December of 2014.

“I got involved in the project to preserve this hatchery, which is a vital resource for shellfish aquaculture in the state of Massachusetts,” Doane said. “Without this resource the future of the states $23.1 million aquaculture industry would have been in jeopardy.”

The business will look to enhance aquaculture operations with a new facility.

“We are going to be constructing a new hatchery that will be able to increase our production to meet growing demand while creating jobs, supporting a Cape Cod way of life and cleaning the environment,” Doane said.

The new hatchery should be ready for the 2016 season, according to Doane.

The nonprofit Fishermen’s Alliance was the first to sign on eight months ago.

Other investors involved with the purchase of ARC were Wellfleet Shellfish Promotion and Tasting, which produces the Wellfleet OysterFest, and a group of families across the Cape. The investors were able to raise $1.5 million.

The other $1.5 million which made the deal possible came from construction loans from Cape Cod 5, the Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod and the Property and Casualty Initiative of Boston.

The purchase was the second phase of a project to save the shellfish hatchery. The first phase permanently protected 39 acres of ARC land with a $3 million purchase of conservation restrictions.

Funding for the conservation restrictions came from the state, Barnstable County, Dennis, Yarmouth, the Dennis Conservation Trust, The Nature Conservancy and other donors.

“In the land deal, ARC retained 10 acres of the [39] acres that it owned and the remaining [29] was transferred to the town of Dennis,” Doane said. “But all of the 40 acres is under a conservation restriction and the only allowable use is aquaculture and that’s only on the 10 acres that we still own.”

“The financing is a big win for Cape Cod and will be a shot of adrenalin for the regional and state economies,” said investor and chairman of the board of directors, Jonathan Fleming. “It’s supporting thousands of jobs, a healthy food source and a tangible way to improve water quality through the ‘spat on shell’ efforts of oyster reef building that are a part of the business plan.”

Cape and Islands State Senator Dan Wolf helped to assemble all the different aspects of the project, according to a statement from the local non-profits involved in the purchase.

“Because of this transaction, 39 acres of beautiful Cape Cod land will remain natural and unbuilt on forever,” said Fleming.


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