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Many Mainers breathed a sigh of relief last week when American Aquaculture was refused its permit due to unacceptable fish egg sourcing. I believe the threats to Frenchman Bay were blatant and undeniable, but Maine still has a long way to go in understanding the consequences of industrial aquaculture.
Land-based systems like what Nordic Aquafarms is proposing in Belfast, in my opinion, represent a serious threat to the state’s ecological well being. In the Nordic permitting process, there are dozens of Department of Environmental Protection permit conditions that need to be met, most of which I think are still full of large information gaps after four years.
During the DEP hearings for Nordic we learned about the business of fish eggs, viruses and the threats they pose to ecosystems. This is what the state Department of Marine Resources has stated for the reason to close down American Aquaculture. Shouldn’t the same standards be applied to Nordic? Being land-based doesn’t remove the danger to our ocean. One of Canada’s top viral experts testified about the threat of viruses, and the inability of Nordic’s filtration systems to prevent them from spreading.
It is time that our leaders are replaced by people who understand that a healthy viable future lies in the restoration and protection of the natural world, including regenerative fishing, farming and forestry. The age of corporations exploiting Maine’s natural gifts and destroying local economies is over.
We understand that Belfast and the state may fear a lawsuit from Nordic if they revoke their permits for noncompliance or failure to meet conditions. We at Upstream Watch hope the victory against American Aquaculture will give our local authorities the courage they need to finally heed our science-based research and the alarming environmental consequences of industrial aquaculture.