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Newsletter - September Update from Frenchman Bay United

An Update on the Opposition to American Aquafarms

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You must watch this video!

Clayoquot Action is a British Columbia-based conservation society committed to protecting the biocultural diversity of Clayoquot Sound on the West coast of Vancouver Island. The group recently took a dive under an experimental semi-closed salmon farm in the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Their conclusion: these pens are not a solution to fish farm pollution. Remember, this is the only semi-closed pen in use anywhere in North America, and American Aquafarms wants to put 30 of them in Frenchman Bay. Canada is phasing out open salmon net pens in BC over the next few years and, as the video notes, ocean pen farming is an issue in Canada’s federal elections this week.

As the narrator warns his fellow Canadians: “now is not the time to take a chance on an experimental system.” That is warning for all of us as well and the message we must continue to deliver to elected officials and regulatory authorities in Maine.

Please take a few minutes and watch this important video and share it with everyone you know.

Save the Bay Flotilla a major success

The “Save the Bay” flotilla and boat parade on August 29 was a major success for our opposition efforts. Hundreds of people on more than 125 boats of all shapes and sizes – many of them working lobster boats – gathered off the The Hop and then paraded through Bar Harbor and past the town pier where another 100 or so opponents and the news media were waiting. It was a major display of unity that garnered extensive media attention around the state and beyond. Links to a few examples are listed below and here is a link to a video of the event by Mike Perlman. Thanks to all the flotilla participants and the many others who helped make this event such a great such success.

Maine Coast Heritage Trust joins opposition

The Maine Coast Heritage Trust, a highly respected organization that conserves and stewards Maine’s coastal lands and islands, including several in Frenchman Bay, has come out firmly against the American Aquafarms lease applications, adding another powerful voice to efforts to stop this project. In a recent news release, MCHT said: “Based on currently available information, we believe this proposal’s proximity to Acadia National Park, its scale, and expected level of activity would be incompatible with existing uses in Frenchman Bay,” shared MCHT Board Chair Tom Armstrong. “With many unanswered questions remaining and informed by 50 years of working with the National Park Service and other partners in the region, MCHT has no other option but to oppose American Aquafarms aquaculture lease application.”

Earlier this year, MCHT also joined a number of other conservation groups in calling on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement on the American Aquafarms project.

American Aquafarms cancels public meeting

Several Norwegian executives from American Aquafarms were scheduled to have their first face-to-face meeting with the public on this past Tuesday, but the meeting at the Gouldsboro Recreation Center was cancelled “because of potential health risks given Maine’s escalating COVID-19 cases that hit the highest daily total of 624 on Sept. 2 since late January” according to The Ellsworth American. A spokesman for the project said the meeting would be re-scheduled, but did not say when. Stay tuned.

Panel discussion on impact of American Aquafarms held in Gouldsboro

In the meantime, about 100 people - more than 70 in person and 28 on Zoom -turned out in Gouldsboro on September 9th for an information session and panel on American Aquafarms. Frenchman Bay United Board member Jeri Bowers presented a slideshow interspersed with questions from the audience. Kelp farmer Sarah Redmond, lobster fishermen Jerry Potter and Frank Hammond, and Becky O’Keefe, fielded questions about how the salmon farm would affect them. O’Keefe focused on what jobs young people want - something where they can be their own boss, like fishermen. Interest in and opposition to the controversial project remain high.

Ways you can help

As always there are many ways to help:

  • Make sure you participate in public meetings and reach out to local officials

  • Provide written comments on all applications once they are filed

  • Write your state legislators, Governor Mills, Maine’s Congressional delegation, and area legislators. Your voice matters!

  • Write letters to the editor of local and statewide newspapers.

  • Talk to friends and neighbors.

  • Follow us on social media and share with your networks.

  • Donate money, time, and expertise to support this effort.

And sign up for future updates by joining our mailing list here.

Key agencies Maine Department of Marine Resources Patrick Keliher, Commissioner 21 State House Station Augusta, ME 04333 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jay L. Clement, Senior Project Manager Maine Project Office 442 Civic Center Drive, Suite 350 Augusta, Maine 04330 Maine Department of Environmental Protection Melanie Loyzim, Commissioner 17 State House Station 28 Tyson Drive Augusta, Maine 04333-0017 Governor and Congressional Delegation Governor T. Janet Mills 1 State House Station Augusta, ME 04333 207-287-3531 U.S. Senator Angus King 202 Harlow St., Suite 20350 Bangor, ME 04401 Phone: (207) 945-8000 U.S Senator Susan Collins 202 Harlow Street, Room 20100 Bangor, ME 04401 Main: (207) 945-0417 U.S. Rep. Jared Golden 6 State Street, Suite 101 Bangor, ME 04401 (207) 249-7400 U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree 2 Portland Fish Pier, Suite 304 Portland, ME 04101 (207) 774-5019 State Legislators who represent towns on the bay Hancock County State Sen. Louis Luchini P.O. Box 1311 Ellsworth, ME 04605 (207) 664-4699 Gouldsboro, Hancock, Sorrento, Sullivan, Winter Harbor State Rep. William “Billy Bob” Faulkingham P.O. Box 121 Winter Harbor, ME 04693 Cell: (207) 460-6967 Bar Harbor, Lamoine, Mt. Desert State Rep. Lynne Williams 13 Albert Meadow Bar Harbor, ME 04609 Cell: (207) 266-6327 Trenton Rep. Nicole Grohoski P.O. Box 1732 Ellsworth, ME 04605 Cell: (207) 358-8333 Town governments

News Media Bangor Daily News (250-word limit for letters) Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram (250-word limit for letters) The Ellsworth American (350-word limit for letters) Mount Desert Islander (350-word limit for letters, 500 for op-eds)

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