Artist's rendering of the proposed Nordic Aquafarms land-based salmon facility in Belfast. Credit: Courtesy of Nordic Aquafarms

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Jacki Cassida is the Nordic Aquafarms community liaison.

In an April 27 letter, Sally Brophy, a board member of the Belfast-based activist group, Upstream Watch, admonished Maine to “realize the consequences of industrial aquaculture.” She cited the failing of one aquafarm proposal to somehow relate it to all aquafarms, but especially Nordic Aquafarms. Upstream Watch was present during the Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) hearings that provided a wealth of information for the project. As such, it causes a raise of the eyebrow when Brophy implies that Nordic Aquafarms wasn’t held to the same standards as American Aquafarms (which recently had its application terminated by the Department of Marine Resources), as if to say the BEP fell short of its responsibility.

Upstream Watch appealed the BEP’s decision and were denied. They also lost their appeal to the Belfast Zoning Board. Nordic Aquafarms is no longer a proposal, but a fully vetted and permitted project.

Not all salmon farms are the same and should not be treated as such. I’m confident that Nordic Aquafarms’ water filtration system is going to be the best in the state. The expertise of the fish production team is borne from a collective of over a century of knowledge and international experience. This salmon farm is not going to be an environmental disaster or destroy the local economy, as opponents have asserted.

But here’s the real rub, in my opinion. Environmental activism has become a forum for opponents to large development projects. “Aquafarms are a new target in the field of activism,” according to one of the opponent group’s presentations that I observed.

Responsible activists aim to encourage change for the better, and important work could be done. I would invite Upstream Watch to discontinue, what I consider, a waste of time, taxpayer dollars, and donor dollars.

By the content of a May 5 letter by Val Philbrick, Upstream Watch is still sharing incorrect information. The real details can be found on the DEP’s website under Major Projects. There are thousands of pages of information, all indexed.

Please, do yourself the favor of not allowing yourself to be misled. Get the facts from the source, not the activists who oppose these projects. Or contact me at Nordic Aquafarms. I am always happy to provide information with references and answer any questions.