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Coalitions call for stricter regulations to preserve heritage waters

AJ Douglas

April 21, 2022

Fox 22 / ABC 7

FRENCHMAN BAY –– The Maine Department of Marine Resources has terminated applications for American Aquafarms due to the company’s failure to demonstrate an available source of fish to be bred at its proposed salmon farm in Frenchman Bay.

Now several coalitions are questioning existing regulations that allowed a company so large to progress so far in the application process.

“The regulations don’t appear to be that stringent. The cost is only $100 an acre, so I think we have to do a better job about making it very clear upfront that projects like this aren’t welcome here,” said Ted O’Meara, a member of Save the Bay.

Jeri Bowers of Frenchman Bay United says the cost of leasing area waters does not reflect the level of staffing required to monitor prospective fish farms to follow state regulations.

“One of the most basic ways we can begin to address this is to make sure that we are creating adequate fees to make sure that it supports the staffing that we need,” said Bowers.

Now that the state has denied the company’s applications, it’s uncertain if American Aquafarms will continue pursuing Frenchman Bay.

“It’s unclear really how American Aquafarms will choose to come forward. They would really have to start absolutely from scratch,” said Bowers.

Ultimately, she says community members worked together to protect heritage fishing waters and hopes that state officials will take notice.

“All different walks of life have come together to agree and to unite around opposition for this project. I think that’s a really important message for regulators and administrators at the state level to hear,” said Bowers.

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