Maine rejects bill to increase regulation of land-based aquaculture operations

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Controversial act LD 620 is sunk.

On Wednesday, State Legislature’s Joint Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry in Maine, USA, unanimously rejected a bill designed to increase regulation of land-based aquaculture operations.

On Tuesday, SalmonBusiness reported on LD 620, the proposed change in the law that would have given the commissioner the power to refuse or revoke a license for one facility if it alone, or in combination with another land-based aquaculture facility, poses an unreasonable risk to a body of water.

In a press release, Maine Aquaculture Association wrote that the committee heard from a number of state agencies about how aquaculture is currently regulated and concluded there was no need for additional regulation. Furthermore, the association noted that the bill could have “created a scenario where one company might be held hostage to another company’s environmental performance.”

“Like any other jurisdiction in the world where aquaculture is expanding, Maine has a small group of vocal NIMBIES who try to push development to other areas. The committee deserves a great deal of credit for doing their homework and recognizing that Maine has struck a practical balance between environmental protection, regulatory stability and the ability to allow sustainable development to move forward,” said Executive Director of the Maine Aquaculture Association Sebastian Belle.

Currently, there are two large scale indoor salmon farms being planned in the state, including the USD 400 million Nordic Aquafarms site in Belfast and the USD 200 million Whole Oceans site in Bucksport.