Opponents to Maine Nordic Aquafarms project seek to win political seats

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Effort to derail indoor mega-farm project.

Two of Belfast’s most outspoken opponents of the world’s largest proposed indoor salmon farm this week are seeking to win city council seats in November as write-in candidates according to bangordailynews.

Ellie Daniels, who filed a lawsuit this summer against the city in opposition to the salmon farm, Jim Merkel and Joanne Moesswilde seek control of the council.

The publication reported that if some or all the three win, it could have have big consequences for the future of the giant-land-based farm run by .

“The control of the council is up for grabs,” incumbent councillor Neal Harkness, who is running against Moesswilde for the Ward 2 seat, said this week.

Belfast is divided into five wards, each represented by a councillor who lives in that ward. All residents vote for councillors from all of the wards.

“Start a conversation”
The opponents are against the idea of Nordic Aquafarms, using Maine resources such as fresh and ocean water for the salmon farm and have criticised city officials for green lighting the project with enough public input.

“The fish farm is only part of why we’re running,” said Daniels, who lives very close to the proposed salmon farm. “It’s a specific part of larger issues that we stand for: protection of our resources from exploitation and protection of our green belt … the reason I’m running is very much in line with what my major passions have been. Transparency. Local voice. And legal process at the local level.”

Merkel, an engineer and community activist, said that if elected, he would like to renew and update Belfast’s comprehensive plan. He also wanted to “start a conversation” about the best use for the property by the Little River for which Nordic has a purchase-and-sale agreement.

“It could be a park, a playground, a wildlife corridor,” he said, adding “I would like to see a broad process to stimulate local, sustainable economic initiatives.”

Nordic Aquafarms, owner of land-based salmon farmer, Fredrikstad Seafood, hopes to start construction in 2019, with “first-fish” ready by 2020.