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American Aquafarms appeals state decision to end salmon farm application

The company's project application was terminated by the Maine Department of Marine Resources last month. The proposed farm would be in Frenchman Bay.

PORTLAND, Maine — American Aquafarms filed an appeal in Cumberland County Superior Court last week after the State's Department of Marine Resources terminated its salmon farm application. The appeal was confirmed May 19. 

The Portland-based company, backed by Norwegian investors, proposed a pair of 60-acre, 15-pen sites that could produce 66 million pounds of Atlantic salmon a year. The location of the pens would be in Frenchman Bay, near Acadia National Park.

Last month, the DMR said American Aquafarms failed to find a state-approved hatchery for salmon eggs for the operation

According to court documents, the company appealed the permit termination because it claims the decision was not supported by evidence and the decision was affected by third-party communication.

In August 2021, American Aquafarms submitted its permit applications to the DMR and listed AquaBounty as the source of its Atlantic salmon eggs. The DMR responded in September and said it was not a qualified source.

American Aquafarms claims the DMR did not allow the company sufficient time to provide testing data in a review process of AquaBounty.

Credit: NCM

"We stand by our decision to terminate American Aquafarms’ lease applications," DMR Communications Director Jeff Nichols said via email. "That decision was based in regulation and law designed to protect the marine environment."

The proposed project has been a subject of debate in Hancock County, specifically among conservation groups dedicated to protecting Frenchman Bay.

“This lawsuit reveals the extent of American Aquafarms’ determination to pollute Frenchman Bay with 4.1 billion gallons per day of untreated wastewater from their ill-conceived monster fish farm in Hancock County," Campaign Director at Oceana Matt Dundas said in a statement.

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