Portland, ME – Sierra Club Maine Executive Committee voted unanimously on Saturday to oppose construction of Nordic Aqua Farm Inc. (NAF). As currently proposed it poses a significant and unreasonable risk to the environment and economy of Penobscot Bay and the Midcoast Maine communities. The giant land-based salmon farm will lie in Belfast and Northport, and proposes to draw 1200 gallons per minute of fresh water from the local aquifer and release 7.7 million gallons of waste water a day into Penobscot Bay.
The Sierra Club Maine calls for further transparency in environmental impact studies, with full disclosure of the chemical nature of the wastewater discharge, and the future oversight of claims including limited antibiotic use, non-GMO feed, and water treatment. The project poses an unknowable threat to the environment as well as marine life and people who live in an around the Bay and rely on the Bay to sustain their lives and livelihoods. Furthermore, no permit should be issued while the applicant is still working on details.
“Nordic Aqua Farms proposes 100 or fewer jobs, and promises no environmental damage yet refuses to release any scientific data to back up their promises” said Sierra Club Maine Chapter Director Alice Elliott. “Do we know the impact of pumping 750 up to 7.7 million gallons a day of waste water into the Bay? Is there scientific consensus that this volume of partially treated, brackish water will not impact the lobster and other fisheries that provide livelihoods for so many in the area? Nordic threatens the health and well being of countless existing jobs, for the promise of a few jobs.”
The excessive use and disposal of fresh and saltwater resources proposed by this facility is unreasonable for any single entity or project. Furthermore, NAF's proposal regarding the donation of 80 acres of regional coastal lands into a land trust in exchange for full permitting of the project fails to mitigate the environmental threats to coastal water quality.
Members of the Executive Committee cited general concerns about the carbon-footprint of fish farming, and pondered why a second NAF land-based salmon farm planned near Eureka, California is designed to be a recirculating aquaculture, calling for little to no waste discharged.
The Sierra Club Maine encourages concerned citizens to attend and demand further transparency about the environmental impact of this project as proposed at a public information session on Tuesday, March 26 at the Hutchinson Center in Belfast. A prior information session can be seen online https://vimeo.com/256895024.
For further comments from the Sierra Club Maine Chapter please contact Chapter Director Alice Elliot at (207) 761-5616.