A Maine Fair Trade Lobster sign and the plant's iconic tall metal fisherman stand outside the shuttered and unoccupied seafood processing plant in the Gouldsboro village of Prospect Harbor on Nov. 30, 2021. Credit: Bill Trotter / BDN

Gouldsboro voters elected two new selectmen on Tuesday who are opposed to plans to grow salmon in Frenchman Bay and to process the fish at a local former lobster plant.

Two candidates who said they were undecided or at least partially receptive to American Aquafarms’ plan received the smallest vote totals among the five people running.

Jackie Weaver and Peter McKenzie received the most votes among the five candidates. Weaver, a former reporter for the Ellsworth American, got 285 votes while McKenzie, the town’s former emergency management coordinator, got 185 votes.

Both Weaver and McKenzie said they oppose a proposal by American Aquafarms to grow salmon in Frenchman Bay and then to process the salmon at the former Maine Fair Trade Lobster Plant in the local village of Prospect Harbor.

Paul Shoemaker, another candidate who said he also opposed the plan, came in third with 158 votes.

Wally Moore, an incumbent on the select board, received the fewest votes with 123.

The Ellsworth American reported earlier this month that Moore said the town should strengthen its aquaculture regulations but that the salmon company ought to be able to redevelop the former lobster plant, which it bought at the end of April.

Chris Urquhart, who said he was undecided about the proposal, received the second-fewest votes with 140.

Longtime selectman Ernest West decided not to seek reelection this year.

American Aquafarms is seeking to produce 30,000 metric tons, or about 66 million pounds, of salmon each year at two 60-acre sites in Frenchman Bay, but the proposal has been strongly opposed by many area residents, organizations and environmental groups.

The company’s application to the state Department of Marine Resources for permits for the salmon farm was terminated in April after the company failed to secure a qualified provider for salmon eggs that it would use to grow the fish. But American Aquafarms has filed a court appeal of DMR’s decision in Cumberland County and has vowed to push on to get the permits it needs to establish and operate the salmon farm in Frenchman Bay.

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Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....