$400 million land-based salmon farm public meeting draws big crowd

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Nordic Aquafarms held a public meeting in Maine, USA, to discuss its progress on various permit applications.

“If Belfast wants jobs, economic development — this is a green project. And it’s a tremendous opportunity also for the population of the U.S. and the northeast to have local food production. Fresh fish, fully traceable, close to their consumer markets,” said Nordic Aquafarms U.S operations President Erik Heim, reports News Center Maine.

The company gave updates on Tuesday evening to a packed room regarding air emissions, water disposal, and the site layout. The site will 7.7 million gallons of water a day into Penobscot Bay – around 0.75 per cent of all discharge sources in the bay. The facility will use a 0.4-micron microfiltration process to filter out fish feces and residual nutrients from fish feed particles.

Heim said the USD 400 million project operation will create 60 jobs when the facility first opens and that will expand to 100 jobs shortly after.

Some residents brought placards to protest the facility with one resident saying that he was afraid that the project could bring algae blooms to Maine. Reporters asked Heim if he was surprised by “pushback” from protesters in the community.

“I hear it’s quite common in Maine,” he said. “We’ve had some people who are opposed to the project in Belfast for a while. Fortunately, a lot of people are extremely supportive as well.”

Officials say that if the applications are approved they hope to start building by late summer or early autumn. Once completed, the farming facility will have the capacity to produce 30,000 metric tons of fish per year.

In February, Nordic Aquafarms announced that it’s developing a West Coast site in Humboldt, California, which will bring its total US output to 50,000 tonnes of salmon per annum.