April 21, 2022
Opponents of a proposed 120-acre salmon farm on Frenchman Bay are hailing the state’s decision Wednesday to terminate regulatory applications for the project.
"Protect Maine's Fishing Heritage Foundation as part of Frenchman Bay United couldn't be more pleased with this result,” said the organization’s executive director, Crystal Canney. “This is a blow to industrial scale aquaculture in the water and it will result in protecting Maine's future.
Another group, Friends of Acadia, posted on Facebook: "A small victory today for the Acadia region."
The Maine Department of Marine Resources terminated two applications by Norwegian company American Aquafarms. The agency said the company “failed to fulfill its legal obligation to demonstrate an available source of fish to be cultivated at its proposed salmon farms in Frenchman Bay.”
The source of Atlantic salmon proposed by American Aquafarms was AquaBounty of Newfoundland, Canada. The source didn’t meet the agency’s criteria for a “qualified source/hatchery” as defined in agency regulations.
“Additionally, American Aquafarms failed to provide documentation demonstrating that the proposed source of fish/eggs could meet genetic requirements in law,” the agency said in a news release, adding, “No further action will be taken on these applications.”
American Aquafarms proposed to lease two 60-acre sites between Bar Harbor and Schoodic Peninsula to install 15 “closed pens” plus an operations barge at each site, with the goal of eventually producing 30,000 metric tons, or 66 million pounds, of salmon annually; and to build a hatchery and processing facility in Gouldsboro.
Local groups have opposed the project, but company leaders have said the project would produce healthy fish without harming the environment.
The company can submit a new application.
“We should not assume the fight is over,” said Friends of Acadia, who called the project an “industrial threat.”
“This project would have polluted the bay, threatening the local fishing and tourism economies,” said Oceana campaign director Matt Dundas.