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Guiding principles for protecting Maine's coastal waters from industrial-scale aquaculture

 

Maine’s coastal waters are a priceless natural resource and belong to all Maine people.

They are a key part of who we are as a state must be protected for future generations to use and enjoy. Commercial uses of these waters must be carefully considered and closely monitored. Once granted, leases and related permits and licenses remain the property of the state and cannot be bought, sold, or transferred to another party by the grantee – a system that has long been in place for lobster fishing licenses and has served Maine well.

No single user has the right to use Maine waters to detriment of other users.

For generations, Maine waters have been shared in relative harmony by those who fish for lobsters and other species, recreational boaters, tourism-related businesses, small-scale, owner-operated aquaculture farms, and year-round and seasonal homeowners.

Those applying for permits to use Maine waters and discharge into them and/or the air above them must be held to the highest possible standards.

The burden of proof that no environmental degradation or economic harm to other users will take place rests squarely with the applicant; it should not be up to the state or its citizens to have to prove that the project is harmful.

Decisions to grant leases and permits, and their renewals, must be based on the best

available science and practices.

The state has a responsibility to establish guidelines and make decisions based on sound, up-to-date scientific data.

Those who seek permission to use Maine waters for commercial purposes are expected to pay the cost of fully considering their permit applications, as well as the ongoing cost of monitoring and oversight.

Fees charged to applicants should be commensurate with scale of their project and adequate to fund the state resources needed to protect the public

interest.

The consideration of multiple permit applications within the same department should be

consolidated.

The public deserves to understand the full scope and scale of any proposed project from the outset, rather than having permits approved piecemeal, which can obscure the cumulative impact of multiple approvals.

Communities that share coastal waters and estuaries with any municipality within whose boundaries a project resides, are entitled to have a say in the approval process.

Tides, currents, winds, and the potential negative impacts of a project do not follow arbitrary municipal boundaries drawn many years ago. Any town whose waters, shoreline and property owners have the potential to be harmed by a project in a body of water shared with the “host” community should have standing in the permitting process.

Frenchman Bay United

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“Voices of Frenchman Bay, Part One” features Graham Platner, owner-operator of Frenchman Bay Oyster Company, and Aaron Dority, Executive Director of Frenchman Bay Conservancy. This video was directed by Chek Wingo, and written and produced by Kelsey Buckley and Chek Wingo. From Frenchman Bay Conservancy