Nordic Aquafarms opponents lose council race in Belfast, Maine

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Race seen as referendum on Nordic Aquafarms’ proposed land-based salmon farm ends.

Nordic Aquafarms president, Eric Heim, can now breathe a small sigh of relief after the three city council candidates who bitterly fought the proposed fish farm, each lost bids for municipal office as reported in the Bangor Daily News.

The development plan to open a $400 million land-based salmon farm in Belfast, Maine next year divided the midcoast city of 6,700 and its environs.

Two of Belfast’s most outspoken opponents of the world’s largest proposed indoor salmon farm sought to win city council seats in November as write-in candidates to halt the project. However Ellie Daniels, who filed a lawsuit this summer against the city in opposition to the salmon farm, alongside Jim Merkel and Joanne Moesswilde, all lost seats.

Incumbent councilors Mary Mortier and Neal Harkness won their races, along with political newcomer, Paul Dean.

“I’m happy to have the honor of serving again,” said Harkness to the publication, who beat Joanne Moesswilde by 1,818 to 1,637. “Joanne ran a really gracious campaign — and obviously, a lot of people listened to what she had to say, and I have to take that seriously. It shows people have a lot of concerns about the fish farm. I want to talk with Joanne so she can help me learn what some of those concerns are.”

Nordic Aquafarms hopes to start construction in 2019 and be “first-fish” ready by 2020.