A massive 120 acre marine pen salmon farm proposed for Frenchman’s Bay, Maine, was terminated week before last by the State's Department of Marine Resources.
Plans for the Norwegian owned project have been reported as ‘the largest fish farm in North America’, however, we’re not sure if that classification is based on its physical size (30 pens @ 150 ft dia ea, on 2 x 60 acre sites) or the quantity of salmon it aimed to produce. Because if based on the physical size - THE PROPOSED FISH FARMS FOR LIVERPOOL BAY ARE 3X BIGGER than this ‘massive’ farm in Maine. What’s planned for Liverpool Bay is 3 sites totalling 60 pens at 196 ft diameter ea, on 369 acres (150 hectares). We'll look into this statistic as to determine which Bay is actually home to "the largest fish farm project in North America”, its certainly not a title any coastal community wants to claim.
The Frenchman's Bay fish farm was planned to be a new SEMI-CLOSED NET-PEN SYSTEM, never before used commercially. Its designed to contain solid food waste and feces, then those solids are compressed to extract the water and that water gets pumped directly back into the ocean. This is an example of why even a closed containment system or on-land system can be bad, its about how the effluent is dealt with.
The project has raised a LOT of awareness and wide spread opposition in Maine’s coastal towns and the Towns' officials are pushing back - for stronger regulation and localized licensing. Additionally at least 3 nearby Towns voted to be Intervenors (and a 4th had a vote scheduled) should the application have proceeded. In the meantime they're also demanding a moratorium.
"There’s a lot of opposition around the globe to open-net pen salmon aquaculture, and some successful efforts to eliminate the practice altogether, and American Aquafarms may have inadvertently sparked a reform effort in Maine." - John Burrows, ASF’s Executive Director of U.S. Operations
The Atlantic Salmon Federation shares more insight with a great Q&A about this project in the article published here. Or click on our Facebook post below for the article link and comments.