American Aquafarms to take a pause after Maine terminates salmon farm applications

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American Aquafarms has stated that it is “taking a pause to understand” a decision by Maine authorities to terminate a controversial application for the company to grow Atlantic salmon in net pens in Frenchman Bay. 

Thomas Brennan, American Aquafarms’ director of project development, confirmed the response from the company in the wake of the set back by state regulators over a Maine agency’s concerns about its plan to source its eggs from AquaBounty.

Maine’s Department of Marine Resources (DMR) terminated the application for the $300 million American Aquafarms project on Wednesday over, among other things, “genetics questions” about the company’s plan to source its eggs from AquaBounty.

Read also: AquaBounty responds after Maine cancels controversial salmon farm application over egg concerns

“The DMR response is perplexing to say the least, and the way it has been communicated is a surprise… I expect the company owners are taking a pause to understand what this all means for the future,” Brennan stated.

American Aquafarms is allowed to resubmit its applications but the DMR confirmed that this would likely add several more years to the company’s permitting process.

“American Aquafarms failed to provide documentation demonstrating that the proposed source of fish/eggs could meet genetic requirements in law,” Maine’s Department of Marine Resources (DMR) confirmed to SalmonBusiness last week.

“The source of Atlantic salmon proposed by American Aquafarms, AquaBounty of Newfoundland, Canada, did not meet the criteria for a “Qualified Source/Hatchery” as defined in DMR regulations,” the DMR representative added.

AquaBounty responded to the termination of the application in a statement to SalmonBusiness last week, stating that AquaBounty has been in discussions with American Aquafarms about becoming an approved supplier to provide them with non genetically engineered Atlantic salmon eggs from our facility in Rollo Bay, PEI, Canada.”

“Representatives for American Aquafarms requested specific information and data from AquaBounty, which we have provided. We did not receive requests for any additional information,” AquaBounty’s President and CEO Sylvia Wulf said, adding that the biotech company has ” rigorous quality control and quality assurance procedures in place to confirm the genotype of every commercial batch of eggs shipped from our hatcheries.”