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September 21, 2022 FBU Member Update

Updated: Sep 23, 2022

More showings of Our Waters Following its successful premiere to a full house at the Schoodic Institute’s Moore Auditorium in August, Our Waters, the short documentary about the fight against American Aquafarms, is scheduled for two more showings in the next few weeks:

Tuesday, September 27, 2022, at 5:00 p.m. Virtually and in-person at Maren Auditorium at the MDI Biological Laboratory, 159 Old Bar Harbor Rd, Bar Harbor (Salisbury Cove). This event is co-hosted by Friends of Acadia and Frenchman Bay United.

Saturday, October 8, 2022, at 4:00 p.m. Hammond Hall, 427 Main St., Winter Harbor This showing is hosted by Friends of Schoodic Peninsula, a member of the Frenchman Bay United coalition. It is open to the public and refreshments will be served.

The film was produced by the Parley for the Oceans, an international group that addresses major threats towards our oceans, and directed by award-winning filmmaker Josh “Bones” Murphy. It captures the coming together of people from around the bay to oppose the massive floating fish factory proposed by American Aquafarms.

The film features beautiful images of the bay and appearances by several local residents, including lobster fishermen Jerry Potter and James West, organic kelp farmer Sarah Redmond, and former Friends of Acadia President and CEO David MacDonald. You can view a trailer for the film here.

Work on Gouldsboro ordinance continues Last November the people of Gouldsboro, in a nearly unanimous vote, imposed a 180-day moratorium on large-scale fish farms to give the planning board time to strengthen the town’s ordinances to address projects such as the one proposed by American Aquafarms project. The moratorium has subsequently been extended for an additional 180 days and may be extended even further, depending on the progress made this fall.

Gouldsboro voters support the moratorium on large-scale fish farms last fall.

Gouldsboro voters support the moratorium on large-scale fish farms last fall.

With the assistance of a Bangor attorney, the Gouldsboro Planning Board is continuing to work on a new aquaculture ordinance, which, based on current versions under review, would be limited to finfish aquaculture and would require a license issued by the town that would have to be renewed each year based on adherence to performance standards.

FBU to be recognized by the Natural Resources Council of Maine Following receipt of the Presidents’ Darned Good Work Award by Friends of Acadia at its annual meeting in July, we have been informed that Frenchman Bay United will receive a Conservation Leadership Award from the Natural Resources Council of Maine at its annual meeting in October.

We are thrilled to receive this recognition from the state’s leading environmental advocacy organization for our work to the stop the American Aquafarms proposal. This award is shared with all of you who have so vigorously and generously supported our efforts.

Gathering scientific and economic data While we all are waiting to see what American Aquafarms next move is, much work continues behind the scenes. As part of our effort to gather scientific and economic data, we commissioned two policy briefs on the risks associated with the American Aquafarms’ proposal – one on tourism and the other on fisheries.

The reports were independently prepared by TBD Economics, LLC. Tracy Rouleau, the president and founder of TBD Economics, has more than two decades of expertise in assessing and advancing the blue economy, valuing the benefits of nature, and developing adaptive strategies to improve and value resilience in coastal communities. She is a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Blue Economy, and Editorial Board Member for the Journal for Ocean and Coastal Economics, and from 2012-2016 was the Deputy Chief Economist at NOAA.

The fisheries brief states in part:

By building the largest ocean-based aquaculture farm in Maine, the list of risks the lobster industry is facing will only grow. Lobsters in the area will be at risk of exposure to additional nutrient loads, diesel fuel, veterinary chemicals and pesticides, all likely to harm populations and the habitats that support the fishery.

While the tourism brief notes: At risk is the region’s coastal tourism and recreation industry; jobs, wages, and businesses that all rely on the unspoiled beauty and rugged natural features that exemplify the coast of Maine.

Please take a few minutes to look at these important additions to the case we are making against American Aquafarms and industrial-scale aquaculture in Frenchman Bay. And adding to our scientific knowledge, here’s a photo of FBU President Henry Sharpe getting ready to deploy an instrument this summer that will help us understand the biological consumption of nitrogen through the water column in Frenchman Bay.

Ongoing work and upcoming annual meeting We also are maintaining a dialogue with the many environmental and conservations organizations that joined our fight to better understand how best to approach the legislative and regulatory changes that are needed to prevent future projects like this. FBU leadership continues to meet weekly to share information and make plans for future efforts. If and when American Aquafarms comes back, we will be ready. We’ll provide a full update at our annual meeting to be held later this fall (details coming soon). In the meantime, your continued support of this important work is deeply appreciated. Support FBU

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