American Aquafarms buys Maine Fair Trade Prospect Harbor property

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American Aquafarms has purchased Maine Fair Trade Lobster’s property in Prospect Harbor, East Coast Seafood Group’s Chief Executive Officer, William Blais, has announced.

In an email send on 29 April, the Ellsworth American reported that Blais confirmed the “real estate deal closed today,” stating how “Maine Fair Trade Lobster has been under contract for well over a year.”

The sale of the seafood processing facility comes after the Gouldsboro Selectmen in the area voted unanimously to extend a moratorium on finfish aquaculture for another six months. The local group claimed that the extension was required to review and refine licensing ordinance and potentially make amendments to industrial-scale operations, such as American Aquafarms’ proposal.

The moratorium was first brought into effect to allow for local officials to have the time to make changes to ordinances, so they can better regulate aquaculture activities. While it is in effect, municipal permits and construction related to industrial projects can’t occur.

Dana Rice, the local Select Board Chairman, justified the moratorium, describing the situation as an “extraordinary thing” amid controversy over American Aquafarms’ proposal to farm 66 million Atlantic salmon in Frenchman Bay, discharging 1.4 billion gallons of diluted water into the inlet per day.

American Aquafarms recently faced a setback in Maine, when the state’s Department of Marine Resources (DMR) terminated the application for the company’s $300 million project on Wednesday over concerns about the company’s plan to source its eggs from AquaBounty.

Thomas Brennan, the director of project development at American Aquafarms, confirmed the company is set to take “a pause to understand” the decision that has placed the plans to grow Atlantic salmon in net pens in the area into limbo.