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To the Editor: Gaslighting Needs to Stop

Updated: Mar 10, 2022

Letter to the Editor

February 11, 2022

Ellsworth American

Dear Editor:

American Aquafarms is trying to gaslight us with its recent full-page ad.

We know that salmon is a popular food source and that producing it locally could improve supply chain concerns, but the statement that pollution caused by transporting these fish from overseas would be reduced by their proposal ignores the impact of 10,500-kw diesel generators running 24/7, truck transport of fish, feed and feces to and from the land-based processing center (estimated to require one semi-truck every 15 minutes) and the local processing and storage of sludge. Additional light and noise pollution in Frenchman Bay is ignored.

American Aquafarms states that its closed-pen technology will prevent any adverse impact. In fact, it will discharge 4.1 billion gallons of “overflow” from their floating pens each day. At least two independent academic analyses show that pollutants would exceed tolerable levels in the bay within 30 days. Experience with similar technology in other countries has changed the nature of the sea bottom below the pens, eliminating other sea life. The many gallons of water flushing through the pens is filtered, removing plankton and other foodstuffs for the aquatic food chain in the bay. American Aquafarms states that diversifying our waterfront economy is important. The scale of its project, however, and its displacement of other aquaculture and fishing activity is likely to reduce, not increase, that diversity. The additional impacts on tourism, the adjacent Acadia National Park and local property values will result in an overall negative impact on Maine’s economy.

American Aquafarms states that Maine’s permitting process is tough. In fact, our state agencies lack any meaningful ability to regulate, monitor or enforce these kinds of operations. Our extremely cheap lease provisions make it attractive for outsiders to “lock in” sites in our public waters. These are primary reasons American Aquafarms has chosen Maine to locate its project here.

There are many other reasons to oppose this industrial salmon farm and we need a good, transparent and honest public discussion about it. This gaslighting is not helpful and needs to stop.

Mike Summerer Prospect Harbor

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