Many articles below the intro, the most recent articles added at the bottom of the scroll
American Aquafarms, based in Portland and organized recently by the Norwegian Firm, Global AS, is proposing a gigantic farmed salmon operation for Frenchman Bay. Plans are to place 30 huge sea pens, each 150 feet wide, just north of the Porcupine Islands and in a separate location north of Bald Rock occupying a total of 100 acres in the bay. The company is also in agreement to buy the former cannery and lobster processing factory in Gouldsboro, where it plans to substantially rebuild and expand the plant in order to hatch the eggs and process the fish it raises in Frenchman Bay.
Ocean based salmon farming is environmentally unsound, and has been banned in Washington State. Impacts include: pollution from fish waste, transfer of disease and sea lice to wild fish, use of chemicals (antibiotics and pesticides) that impact wild marine life, escaped farmed fish changing the genetics of wild salmon and more. Details about the proposed pen containment technology and the infrastructure, including the height, lighting, generator noise as continuous pumps will be running , potential diesel spills, and maintenance of the pens, were not provided by the company. To date there have not been any environmental impact studies of the proposed pens on the health of Frenchman Bay.
How will these structures impact the lobster fishery of Frenchman Bay, and the existing local aquaculture ?
Removal of “solids” from the containment pens (large plastic bags filled with thousands of fish and their waste) does not account for the significant liquefied waste produced both by the fish and by the dissolved fish food. This liquefied waste will be pumped back into the bay, containing high amounts of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus. Frenchman Bay already has significant toxic algae blooms each year- how will this increased nutrient load affect the health of the bay ecosystem?
Many links below – most recent articles can be found at the bottom of this page by scrolling down
Excellent article below by The Quietside Journal
Fish farming in Down East: Pay the fine, take the cannolis …
Map shows where salmon pens are proposed in Frenchman Bay (green boxes) just north of the Porcupine Islands
SOMESVILLE, Jan. 1, 2021 – Fire, ready, aim.
It’s the prevailing business model, some cynics say, for companies wishing to operate fish farms in Maine waters: Pollution? Whoops. I’ll just pay the fine.
It was a little over a year ago Cooke Aguaculture was fined $156,213 for 11 violations of its state permit. Cooke is the only sea-based salmon aquaculture firm in Maine, with pen farms in Washington and Hancock counties, as well as a hatchery on Gardner Lake in East Machias and a fish processing facility in Machiasport. It’s also a multi-billion-dollar company. A $156,213 fine is like a large tip at one of its company events.
“Clearly these miniscule fines are having precious little effect on Cooke’s illegal behavior, which is precisely why I have so little faith in fines administered by the Maine DEP,” said Lawrence Reichard, a Belfast journalist and environmentalist.
“In that same year, 2018, Cooke Aquaculture posted revenues of $2.8 billion, meaning the $156,123 fine assessed against Cooke Aquaculture by DEP amounted to a mere .006 percent of Cooke Aquaculture’s revenue for that year,” Reichard said.
Such benefit analysis is a reprise of the famous “Pinto memo” of 1968 when Ford Motor Company concluded it was cheaper to settle lawsuits over deaths from its exploding Pintos than to recall all the cars and fix the problem. “For companies with environmental issues, fines are simply a cost of doing business,” Reichard said.
Donald Eley, president of the Friends of Blue Hill Bay, said the fish farming industry is banking on weak state and local governments, enticing bureaucrats with the promise of jobs and property tax revenue.
The state of Maine is addicted to the promises of aqua farms “whether they come true or not,” said Eley. “They all claim they can meet the state guidelines … but who’s monitoring it?”
“It becomes a self-monitoring, self-regulated industry,” Eley said.
Since the slap on the wrist against Cooke, two huge salmon farming proposals are being debated here in Down East – one a land-based operation in Belfast and another in Frenchman Bay. In Jonesport, Kingfish Maine, which is owned by a Dutch aquaculture firm, announced plans last fall for a $110 million land-based farm where it hopes to produce 13 million or more pounds of yellowtail each year on a 94-acre site overlooking Chandler Bay.
“In Belfast, Nordic Aquafarms (see rendering) will pump 1,600 pounds of nitrogen a day into Belfast Bay, where pollution has already closed 4,093 acres to shellfishing,” Reichard said. “That’s 16 times the amount currently discharged on average by Belfast, a city of about 7,000. And that effluent will create algae blooms, and attract and feed sea lice, to the detriment of wild fish populations.”
Nordic said it is almost impossible for fish to escape from land-based fish farms, but 20,000 fish escaped from a land-based fish farm in Vagan, Norway, as recently as July 28, 2018. Escaped fish compete with wild fish for spawning grounds, destroy wild-fish spawn, and breed with and weaken wild fish stock, Reichard wrote in a letter to the Bangor Daily News.
“Their entire premise is based on no mistakes happening,” Reichard said. “And that’s extremely unrealistic.”
In late December, two groups – Upstream Watch and Friends of Harriet L. Hartley Conservation Area – began legal action to overturn decisions by the town of Belfast and the state granting Nordic the necessary permits. An excellent overview of that case appeared in the Penobscot Bay Pilot. https://www.penbaypilot.com/article/state-approval-belfast-salmon-farm-appealed-city-planning-board-oks-project/141976
Closer to MDI, the in-water fish farm proposed for the middle of Frenchman Bay by another Norwegian company has many locals alarmed. These are the modern-day Vikings, true to their tradition of seeking opportunities outside of resource-constrained Scandinavia. And what a prize Mount Desert Island must be! It even comes with its own fiord.
“I am terrified,” said Sarah Redmond , who runs an organic seaweed farm on Stave Island off Gouldsboro only about a mile northeast of the salmon farm proposed by American Aquaculture. She worried that her certification for organic products would be jeopardized if the water is polluted.
“It’s an absurd proposal,” Redmond said. “It’s a permit to pollute. It’s not possible to capture all the fish waste” as proposed by American Aquaculture. “Most of the waste is dissolved in the water.”
The Norwegian company proposed to deploy 30 pens, each 150 feet wide, in lease sites in the bay. The pens would support a projected annual production of 30,000 metric tons, or about 66 million pounds of the fish.
“Those 66 million fish would be raised in a plastic polymer bag sitting in the ocean just north of Bar Harbor,” wrote Kathleen Rybarz, president of Friends of Frenchman Bay, in a letter to the Portland Press Herald. “Raising may be too generous a word, rather, the fish will be swimming in circles in containers in the water. The cold clean waters of Maine get pumped in and water gets pumped out as the fish swim in circles. And that methodology leads to so many questions about the potential damage to the environment.
“What will the water pumped back into the bay be like? Will it affect our local marine animals and plants?,” wrote Rybarz, who also is chair of the selectmen in Lamoine. “Will the state have effective regulations in place to do no harm to the environment? How will the container be kept clean? How many jobs for locals will it really create?”
One of the problems cited by scientists on dumping any disruptive matter in Frenchman and Blue Hill bays, which are conjoined by the Union River, is that the two bodies of water flush very poorly. The Friends of Blue Hill Bay have been working for the past 20 years to understand the ecology of Blue Hill Bay, and its twin on the eastern side of MDI.
“The effluents from net-pen aquaculture would have little negative impact on the marine environment if the aquaculture sites were located in the open, well flushed, and vigorously mixing waters of the Gulf of Maine,” wrote Neal R. Pettigrew, oceanographer at the University of Maine. “However, the bays and estuaries of the Gulf of Maine are generally much more sensitive to aquaculture activities and caution needs to be exercised when instituting these activities in our sheltered waters.
“The addition of any fish pens would pose a great threat that dissolved oxygen in the lower water level would be overly depleted and algal blooms would occur in the upper water level, potentially introducing Red Tide to the Bay for the first time,” Pettigrew wrote.
“The extremely slow currents in Upper Blue Hill Bay would result in significant waste build up and the development of anaerobic bacterial mats under the fish pens and damage to the bottom dwelling community. The existing conditions and attendant risks appear to be so high that they should not be ignored.”
“Why is it in this area of Maine – an area that attracts millions of visitors a year? Whose interests are really being served?” Rybarz asked.
Threats to existing fisheries and water-based businesses may be a better launching pad to fight the fish farms because the state is sensitive to grievances from incumbent constituents. It’s folks like Sarah Redmond and Zach Piper of Hancock, a young lobsterman who now makes a living in Frenchman Bay.
“The areas this Norwegian-backed company is proposing to turn into industrial aquaculture with two 50-plus acre leases for large fish pens, is heavily fished by lobstermen and has been for years,” he wrote in a letter to Bangor Daily News. “I am not a fan of foreign corporations making their money at the expense of Maine people.”
American Aquaculture’s audacious proposal to site an industrial farm in the middle of one of Maine’s most prized bodies of water is like asking for trouble. But trouble is not foreign to its CEO, Mikael Roenes, who volunteered during an interview with Bill Trotter of the Bangor Daily News that he has a white-collar criminal past in Norway, and that he has spent time incarcerated because of it.
Roenes told Trotter he got into legal trouble more than a decade ago in Norway when he was working as a stockbroker and “made some promises I could not keep” to investors he had lined up in an attempt to acquire a Norwegian company.
He lost all his money, repaid his investors in full and eventually was convicted on charges he did not specify and spent two and a half years at a minimum-security prison, he said.
“I am very open about my past,” he said. “I accept full responsibility for my actions and have paid my debt to society.”
Info about the planned project begins about 13 minutes into this video below:
MOWI guide to industry for investors. Explains why Norwegians are investing elsewhere. https://ml.globenewswire.com/Resource/Download/1766f220-c83b-499a-a46e-3941577e038b
canadian government publicationhttps://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/publications/ssat-ets-eng.html
Bangor daily news articles10/16/2020 https://bangordailynews.com/2020/10/16/news/hancock/new-salmon-aquaculture-firm-to-buy-lobster-processing-plant-in-gouldsboro/
Ellsworth American articles A company with roots in Norway. 10/14/2020https://www.ellsworthamerican.com/maine-news/waterfront/frenchman-bay-eyed-for-salmon-cod-farm/
10/16/2020 follow-up article about Fair Lobster property acquisition.https://www.ellsworthamerican.com/maine-news/waterfront/maine-fair-trade-plant-eyed-for-aquaculture-venture/
WVII Story: https://www.foxbangor.com/news/item/town-of-gouldsboro-responds-to-proposed-salmon-aquafarm/
Maine Biz: https://www.mainebiz.biz/article/fishery-group-pans-proposed-salmon-farm-off-gouldsboro
(“Experimental” is all we can say about this next article) https://www.fishfarmingexpert.com/article/cermaq-begins-semi-closed-containment-trial-in-canada/
Ellsworth American 2/3/21
Salmon Farm Sparks Opposition
By Letitia Baldwin GOULDSBORO — Opposition is mounting to a large scale salmon farm in Frenchman Bay before the project’s backers have formally submitted an application to locate roughly 30 net pens at two sites north of Bald Rock and The Hop islands. In a related move, a citizens group is calling for the Maine Department of Marine Resources to toughen its rules regarding aquaculture leases that range widely from mussel to oyster cultivation in coastal Maine. Applications for these enterprises have jumped threefold in just five years. Early this week, American Aquafarms’ President and CEO Mikael Roenes still had not filed a DMR application for his company’s proposed ocean farm to raise Atlantic salmon and possibly cod in the northern-northwestern section of Frenchman Bay.From Norway’s southern coastal town of Grimstad, Roenes early last fall outlined his plan to raise the fish in floating net pens, fitted with polymer-membrane cloth sacks in which fish waste (feces and feed) collects at the bottom. The waste is pumped to and passes through an attached filtration unit before being discharged at sufficient depth into the sea. As part of its plan, American Aquafarms signed a purchase agreement with New Bedford, Mass.-based East Coast Seafood Group to acquire its seafood-processing plant in Gouldsboro’s Prospect Harbor village. The 100,000-square-foot Maine Fair Trade facility and its wharf would become the base from which the fish farm’s barges and other craft would embark to tend the Frenchman Bay ocean pens. The harvested fish would be processed on site. The existing warehouse would be converted into a hatchery for producing juvenile salmon and cod to replenish harvested fish. For over a century, the Prospect Harbor plant has processed seafood — whether sardines, lobster or scallops — and has been a major source of year-round jobs for eastern Hancock County and western Washington County residents. In 2020, Maine Fair Trade was Hancock County’s 25th largest employer with a workforce in the 1-500 range, according to Maine Department of Labor statistics. Earlier this week, East Coast Seafood Group declined to say whether the Maine Fair Trade property had been sold or when the sale might occur. Nor would company officials say why East Coast Seafood no longer wants to process lobster and produce value added products at the facility. In an unsigned statement released Monday, the company said it had made additional investments last year at its state-of-the-art processing facility in New Bedford, Mass. In 2021, the company aims to sell more than 40 million pounds of seafood products worldwide.As one of the world’s top live-lobster buyers, East Coast Seafood Group plans to remain a major player in the Maine lobster market, noting its $40 million investment to date in the industry. They call lobster fishing critical to the Maine economy, but touted aquaculture as a potentially stable, sustainable industry for Maine fishing communities such as Gouldsboro. They say American Aquafarms “would provide significant employment opportunities over the long term, ultimately creating increased job figures for Gouldsboro and the surrounding area.”“Aquaculture jobs often provide technically advanced operations, requiring enhanced labor training and improved skill sets, expanded wage rates and, notably, year round employment where seasonality is the norm.” Since March of 2020, American Aquafarms has worked with Maine & Company President and CEO Peter DelGreco to forge contacts in Maine and scope out potential sites for its aquaculture venture. Last spring, Roenes contacted Maine Department of Economic and Community Development Director Andrea Smith about qualifying for income tax credits and sales tax exemptions granted to businesses in certain industries under Maine’s Pine Tree Development Zone (PTZD).In an April 6, 2020, letter to Smith, Roenes estimated 60 full-time salaried jobs would be created. “Please be assured that our economic development plan would not occur within the state of Maine but for the availability of PTZD benefits,” the letter stated. In Maine at present, Canada’s Cooke Aquaculture runs the state’s sole sea-based salmon farm. Its two dozen ocean pen sites are located in Cobscook and Machias bays and other protected inlets in Washington County. After unveiling its plan publicly in Gouldsboro Oct. 16, American Aquafarms’ proposed Frenchman Bay operation sparked immediate alarm and staunch opposition from Hancock residents who objected to the proposed operation’s scale in a water body where half a dozen towns’ lobster fishermen compete for prime sea floor to lay their traps. The opponents pointed out several dozen small-scale farms cultivate mussels, oysters and seaweed there too. Come summer, all size and form of recreational craft use the bay from sailboats and kayakers to outboard boats and sightseeing vessels.“ This is simply a matter of the wrong place, the wrong technology and the wrong people,” Hancock resident James Paterson said in a Jan. 18 press release. He also noted American Aquafarms’ proximity to Acadia National Park. “This project represents the industrialization of a pristine bay in the shadow of Acadia National Park. It is a totally inappropriate place for this kind of development — it’s like putting a large factory at the foot of Cadillac Mountain.” Hancock resident Ted O’Meara, a public affairs consultant working with the Frenchman Bay group, questioned Roenes’ credibility, referring to 2008 stories in the Norwegian business journal Financsavisen detailing the Grimstad businessman’s four year prison sentence on fraud related charges. In the decade since serving 2.5 years in prison, Roenes founded an investment company, Global AS, and was involved in the 2019 start-up of Norcod, a commercial-scale cod farm, whose ocean pens are located north of Norway’s western port city of Trondheim. The company expected to harvest its first fish this June or earlier, according to news reports. Besides Friends of Frenchman Bay, Portland-based Protect Maine’s Fishing Heritage Foundation also is opposing the Frenchman Bay venture. The coalition works with lobstermen and small aquaculturists to protect coastal Maine from industrialized aquaculture. Under current state regulations, the group’s executive director, Crystal Canney, warns American Aquafarms potentially could expand its proposed leases from 110 to 1,000 acres. In a related move, Rep. Robert Alley (D-Beals) has drafted legislation that would cap the total size of any one aquaculture application and prohibit the transfer of leases without public hearings.“ This is simply a matter of the wrong place, the wrong technology and the wrong people.”– James Paterson. American Aquafarms is proposing to spend from $50 million to $100 million to remodel the Maine Fair Trade seafood processing facility in Prospect Harbor. The waterfront facility also would serve as a base to service thirty 150-foot net pens for raising salmon and possibly cod in Frenchman Bay. The operation eventually could produce as much as 66 million tons of fish.
Ellsworth American week of 2/25/21
BY LETITIA BALDWIN GOULDSBORO ? Opposition is mounting to a large-scale salmon farm in Frenchman Bay before the project’s backers have formally submitted an application to locate roughly 30 net pens at two sites north of Bald Rock and the Hop islands. In a related move, a citizens group is calling for the Maine Department of Marine Resources to toughen its rules regarding aquaculture leases that range widely from mussel to oyster cultivation in coastal Maine. Applications for these enterprises have jumped threefold in just five years. In early February, American Aquafarms’ President and CEO Mikael Roenes still had not filed a DMR application for his company’s proposed ocean farm to raise Atlantic salmon and possibly cod in the northern-northwestern section of Frenchman Bay.From Norway’s southern coastal town of Grimstad, Roenes early last fall outlined his plan to raise the fish in floating net pens, fitted with polymer-membrane cloth sacks in which fish waste (feces and feed) collects at the bottom. The waste is pumped to and passes through an attached filtration unit before being discharged at sufficient depth into the sea.As part of its plan, American Aquafarms signed a purchase agreement with New Bedford, Mass.-based East Coast Seafood Group to acquire its seafood processing plant in Gouldsboro’s Prospect Harbor village. The 100,000-square-foot Maine Fair Trade facility and its wharf would become the base from which the fish farm’s barges and other craft would embark to tend the Frenchman Bay ocean pens. The harvested fish would be processed on site. The existing warehouse would be converted into a hatchery for producing juvenile salmon and cod to replenish harvested fish. For over a century, the Prospect Harbor plant has processed seafood ? whether sardines, lobster or scallops ? and has been a major source of yearround jobs for eastern Hancock County and western Washington County residents.In 2020, Maine Fair Trade was Hancock County’s 25th largest employer with a workforce in the 1-500 range, according to Maine Department of Labor statistics.Earlier this week, East Coast Seafood Group declined to say whether the Maine Fair Trade property had been sold or when the sale might occur. Nor would company officials say why East Coast Seafood no longer wants to process lobster and produce value-added products at the facility.In an unsigned statement released Feb. 1, the company said it had made additional investments last year at its stateof- the-art processing facility in New Bedford, Mass. In 2021, the company aims to sell more than 40 million pounds of seafood products worldwide.As one of the world’s top livelobster buyers, East Coast Seafood Group plans to remain a major player in the Maine lobster market, noting its $40 million investment to date in the industry. They call lobster fishing critical to the Maine economy, but touted aquaculture as a potentially stable, sustainable industry for Maine fishing communities such as Gouldsboro. They say American Aquafarms “would provide significant employment opportunities over the long term, ultimately creating increased job figures for Gouldsboro and the surrounding area.Aquaculture jobs often provide technically advanced operations, requiring enhanced labor training and improved skill sets, expanded wage rates and, notably, year-round employment where seasonality is the norm.”Since March of 2020, American Aquafarms has worked with Maine & Company President and CEO Peter DelGreco to forge contacts in Maine and scope out potential sites for its aquaculture venture. Last spring, Roenes contacted Maine Department of Economic and Community Development Director Andrea Smith about qualifying for income tax credits and sales tax exemptions granted to businesses in certain industries under Maine’s Pine Tree Development Zone (PTZD).In an April 6, 2020, letter to Smith, Roenes estimated 60 fulltime salaried jobs would be created. “Please be assured that our economic development plan would not occur within the state of Maine but for the availability of PTZD benefits,” the letter stated.In Maine at present, Canada’s Cooke Aquaculture runs the state’s sole sea-based salmon farm. Its two dozen ocean pen sites are located in Cobscook and Machias bays and other protected inlets in Washington County.After unveiling its plan publicly in Gouldsboro Oct. 16, American Aquafarms’ proposed Frenchman Bay operation sparked immediate alarm and staunch opposition from Hancock residents who objected to the proposed operation’s scale in awaterbody where half a dozen towns’ lobster fishermen compete for prime sea floor to lay their traps.The opponents pointed out several dozen small-scale farms cultivate mussels, oysters and seaweed there too. Come summer, all size and form of recreational craft use the bay from sailboats and kayakers to outboard boats and sightseeing vessels.A ferry also provides seasonal passenger service between Winter Harbor and Bar Harbor.”This is simply a matter of the wrong place, the wrong technology and the wrong people,” Hancock resident James Paterson said in a Jan. 18 press release. He also noted American Aquafarms’ proximity to Acadia National Park. “This project represents the industrialization of a pristine bay in the shadow of Acadia National Park. It is a totally inappropriate place for this kind of development ? it’s like putting a large factory at the foot of Cadillac Mountain.”Hancock resident Ted O’Meara, a public affairs consultant working with the Frenchman Bay group, questioned Roenes’ credibility, referring to 2008 stories in the Norwegian business journal Financsavisen detailing the Grimstad businessman’s fouryear prison sentence on fraudrelated charges.In the decade since serving 2.5 years in prison, Roenes founded an investment company, Global AS, and co-founded Norcod, a commercial-scale cod farm, whose ocean pens are located north of Norway’s western port city of Trondheim. The company expected to harvest its first fish this June or earlier, according to news reports.Besides Friends of Frenchman Bay, Portland-based Protect Maine’s Fishing Heritage Foundation also opposes the Frenchman Bay venture. The coalition works with lobstermen and small aquaculturists to protect coastal Maine from industrialized aquaculture.Under current state regulations, the group’s executive director, Crystal Canney, warns American Aquafarms potentially could expand its proposed leases from 110 to 1,000 acres. In a related move, Rep. Robert Alley (D-Beals) has drafted legislation that would cap the total size of any one aquaculture application and prohibit the transfer of leases without public hearings.
” will be the largest in the world” (below)
Ellsworth American 5/12/21
American Aquafarms’ discharge estimates spark questions
By Letitia Baldwin GOULDSBORO — Hancock County residents late last week got an abstract picture of how American Aquafarms would draw and discharge sea water and dispose of waste from its proposed operation in Frenchman Bay.But when citizens asked, the Norwegian-backed company failed to specify by whom and exactly where in the world the closed-pen technology is being used in real time commercially to grow and successfully harvest Atlantic salmon for the global market.At a three hour-plus online public meeting last week,American Aquafarms Vice President Eirik Jors, Portland- headquartered Ransom Consulting Engineers and Scientists’ Senior Project Manager Elizabeth Ransom and civil engineer and computer modeler Nathan Dill provided a detailed blueprint showing how American Aquafarms would discharge a total of 2 billion gallons of circulated water (23,775 gallons per second) daily from the two 15-pen sites northwest of Long Porcupine Island and northeast of Bald Rock Ledge in Frenchman Bay. Last fall, Ransom did extensive manual and remote sensor testing in Frenchman Bay, which is about 15 miles long and 7 miles wide, to gauge the potential environmental impacts of the proposed salmon farm’s use and release of seawater there to raise as much as 66 million pounds of Atlantic salmon annually. Computer modeling and statistical techniques were used to analyze the hydrologic data and predict outcomes inshore and in distant reaches of the bay.Ben Walter owns Acadia Oceanside Meadows Inn in the Gouldsboro village of Corea. He was among 171 people who attended the meeting in a webinar format in which only the meeting hosts’ faces were visible. Acadia National Park, Friends of Acadia, Frenchman Bay Conservancy, Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, Downeast Salmon Federal Federation, Friends of Frenchman Bay, Friends of Eastern Bay, Friends of Schoodic Peninsula and Protect Maine’s Fishing Heritage Foundation were represented.“Are your numbers essentially best guesses? Why can’t you move your pens offshore?” Walter asked. “It seems you are experimenting with the bay and the lives in our community.”“I think it is naïve to believe that there is not going to be any biological change in the bay,” Ann Sharpe remarked. “Just the mass of fish in an enclosed system. I don’t see how there isn’t going to be a temperature change.”The May 6 public meeting was held by American Aquafarms, as the company is required to do by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), in light of its impending Maine wastewater discharge permit application.Jors said Norway’s Blue Ocean Technology designed the Frenchman Bay project’s wastewater treatment system from technology refined through fin fish aquaculture over many years. He noted the system’s sediment trap captures 90 percent of the fish waste consisting of feces and residual nutrients.He explained the waste is pumped up to and passes through a central waste bin on a barge before being transported to the mainland. The material is recycled into biproducts such as biogas and fertilizer. He added that the salmon feed is made from fish meal and fish and plant oils and does not contain any hormones, antibiotics, palm oil, the chemical PCB or genetically modified foods (GMOs).In the freshwater hatchery, which American Aquafarms would construct at Maine Fair Trade’s seafood processing complex in Prospect Harbor, Jors said salmon eggs would be decontaminated and vaccinated for viral and bacterial infections to ensure the juvenile “fish are healthy and minimize disease” before being transferred to the ocean pens.In addition, Jors said American Aquafarms’ proposed Eco-cages are equipped with a robotic device for systematically cleaning the pens. Cleaning agents as well as medications for treating the farmed salmon must be listed in the DEP permit. Should any illnesses arise, the Frenchman Bay farm and a licensed veterinarian would be required to jointly formulate a treatment plan and seek authorization from state authorities.Speaking to the daily discharge of 2 billion gallons of seawater, Dill and Ransom staff studied the filtered water’s dispersal, dilution and drift over time in waters surrounding the proposed 60-acre fish farm and the entire bay. They estimated the 2 billion gallons discharged daily would be diluted a dozen times in Frenchman Bay. They also calculated the amount of nitrogen and other elements released as part of the discharge. In the case of nitrogen, they determined the amount was 2,300 pounds — far below the permitted volume under state law.“Without degrading the water quality, you could add 13,000 pounds of nitrogen and that would bring you right to that threshold,” Dill said, noting the 2,300 pounds of nitrogen anticipated. “So, we are well below the 20 percent capacity threshold.”Holly Faubel of Belfast took issue with Dill’s estimate, saying the amount does not include the nitrogen that the fish release naturally in liquid form through their gills. She also questioned the origin of American Aquafarms’ broodstock and whether it was genetically modified.Elizabeth Ransom responded to both questions, saying the Maine Department of Marine Resources requires the fish farm’s broodstock to match the genetic code of species found off the Maine coast. On the issue of nitrogen, she told Faubel she was “spot-on that nitrogen certainly is present in liquid form. What you are going to see is the nitrogen levels are quite low and discharged at a level that’s not going to do any harm.”DEP Deputy Commissioner David Madore told The American earlier this week that American Aquafarms is expected to submit its wastewater discharge permit application in late May. Once that happens, the public has up to 20 days to request in writing that a public hearing be held. Holding a hearing is discretionary. Such requests should be made within the prescribed time frame to the Division of Water Resource Regulation, Department of Environmental Protection, State House Station #17, Augusta, ME 04333. For more info on the regulatory process, call 287-3901.A copy then will be available for the public’s review at the Gouldsboro town office. Madore said the agency must determine whether the application is complete before deciding whether to hold a public hearing.
Friends of Acadia Summer Journal 2021
Advocacy Committee Votes to Oppose
The Friends of Acadia Advocacy Committee
unanimously voted to oppose the salmon farms
because of concerns about navigation in Frenchman
Bay, conflicting uses of the Bay, and impacts to public
enjoyment of the park and conserved islands.
This spring, Friends of Acadia wrote a letter to the
Army Corps of Engineers to request that the agency
require American Aquafarms to complete a full
Environmental Impact Statement given the significant
environmental controversy over the proposal and the
fact that the semi-enclosed salmon pens American
Aquafarms plans to use have not been tested in the
United States. Part of the process of the Army Corps’
review is to consult with other federal agencies,
including the National Park Service.
Scenic resources are one of the fundamental
resources and values listed in Acadia National Park’s
foundation document. Friends of Acadia is concerned
about the impacts to the viewsheds from the Paradise
Hill sections of the carriage roads and motor-road
system, both of which are on the National Register of
Historic Places, as well as from the public waters of
Frenchman Bay and the nearby park-owned islands,
including Bar Island, Long Porcupine Island, and the
Hop, which are popular destinations for recreational
hikers and boaters.
The salmon farms will also be visible from the
Bluffs area of Route 3, which has been designated
as an “All-American Road,” the highest level of
scenic classification in the National Scenic Byways
Program. The salmon farms will require lighting and
continuously operating water pumps, which could
degrade the night sky and natural soundscapes over
Friends of Acadia will continue to track American
Aquafarms’ proposal and send alerts to members
about opportunities to comment on the proposal. n
STEPHANIE CLEMENT is Friends of Acadia’s
“The scale of this development—
the equivalent of 16 football
fields—is unprecedented in
Maine and incongruous with
the existing nature and setting
of Frenchman Bay and its
It poses significant impacts
to Acadia and its visitor
ACADIA NATIONAL PARK SUPERINTENDENT
Friends of Acadia President David MacDonald and Maine
Coast Heritage Trust President Tim Glidden discuss concerns
about the proposed industrial size salmon farms with
Department of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.
ACADIA Summer 2021 | 27
Ellsworth American, Sept 2, 2021
By Letitia Baldwin GOULDSBORO — An estimated 125 watercraft — from lobster fishermen to kayakers and sailors — Sunday morning paraded in a great arc and filed past the packed Bar Harbor municipal pier to express opposition to American Aquafarms’ proposed $250 million salmon farm in Frenchman Bay.Converging at 9:30 a.m. off “The Hop,” a tiny island in the vicinity of one of the Norwegian-backed company’s two proposed 15-net pen sites, vessels joined the “Save the Bay Flotilla” organized by Hancock innkeeper and restaurateur Leslie Harlow. She said the parade was intended to show “solidarity” with the local lobster industry and small-scale oyster, mussel and seaweed farmers who see the 120-acre fish farm as a threat to their livelihood and the health of the 7-mile-wide inlet.On board her husband’s fishing boat, devOcean, South Gouldsboro resident Diane Potter declared it felt good to demonstrate on the water, where the vessel’s captain Jerry Potter has lobstered, shrimped and harvested other seafood for decades. “I don’t think these guys [American Aquafarms] have the fishermen’s best interests,” she said. “I feel the natural resources would be taken out of here and not kept local.”Gouldsboro, Winter Harbor, Sorrento, Hancock, Lamoine, Sullivan and Bar Harbor were among the home ports of the commercial fishing boats participating in the parade that proceeded across calm waters thick with lobster buoys to the Bar Harbor waterfront. The flotilla filed past the municipal pier packed with cheering, signbearing opponents of the proposed salmon farm.For many of the fishing boats in attendance, Sunday’s event was a family affair. Accompanying the Potters on devOcean was their daughter Stephanie Scott as well as neighbors who oppose the industrial-scale fish farm.“I think it’s a disgrace the fishermen are up against something like this,” Scott said. “This has been a sustainable fishery for centuries.”Sitting in the stern, South Gouldsboro resident Colleen (MacGregor) Wallace says her late father and grandfather both fished for a living in Frenchman Bay. She attended the village’s tiny schoolhouse. After a banking career, she and her late husband retired to South Gouldsboro. She cofounded Friends of Schoodic Peninsula, one of the first opposition groups to form.“I live where I swam as a kid every day,” said Wallace who is concerned about the potential project’s environmental impact and the quality of life in Frenchman Bay towns. “This will certainly affect our children and grandchildren.”Quality of life — in the form of well paid, full-time jobs — is among the benefits American Aquafarms says it seeks to bring to the Downeast region. The company’s founder Mikael Roenes has pledged to create 60 salaried jobs ranging from engineers and technicians to boat captains and crew. He and the other company executives have sought to forge ties with Maine technical schools and provide aquaculture curriculum to train students.Maintaining water quality in Frenchman Bay has been a major concern of American Aquafarms’ critics. The company is touting a new generation of fish-farmingtechnology using semi-closed pens. Designed by Norway’s Ecomerden, the floating Ecocages, each measure about 125 feet wide, are fitted with polymer-membrane cloth sacks in which fish waste (faeces and feed) collects at the bottom. The waste is pumped to and filtered in an attached but contained unit. The compressed excrement would be transported to the mainland and potentially used for commercial applications such as biogas and fertilizer.In its application to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, however, the company is seeking permission to discharge a total of 4 billion gallons daily of filtered water into Frenchman Bay, releasing 2 billion gallons daily (23,775 gallons per second) at each of the 15-pen sites. The concern for opponents of the project is the possibility of the filtered water degrading the inlet’s current water quality and threatening lobster and other marine resources. Among the many other concerns are potential gear conflicts with lobster fishermen and greater boat traffic with existing commercial and recreational watercraft.Sunday’s flotilla set the stage for an expected visit Labor Day weekend from American Aquafarms’ founder Mikael Roenes, Vice-President Eirik Jors and Technology Director Erling Kristiansen who will be in town to meet with local residents about the project among other things. The COVID-19 pandemic has prevented them from visiting Maine since they unveiled plans to farm fish in Frenchman Bay. A public meeting has been tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 7, at the Gouldsboro Recreational Center.As it stands now, American Aquafarms’ wastewater discharge permit application is under review by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. The application was deemed complete June 9. On Monday, Aug. 30, DEP spokesperson David Madore said the state agency plans to hold a public meeting to hear public sentiment about the project but has not scheduled that yet.American Aquafarms’ 20-year lease application has not yet been deemed complete by the Maine Department of Marine Resources. If and when that happens, the state agency’s scientists will conduct their own fieldwork and a formal public hearing will be scheduled. DMR spokesman Jeff Nichols says such a hearing is unlikely to be held this year.
MD Islander, Sept 1st, 2021
“Save the Bay Flotilla” draws over 100 boats
Note: That the AA September 7th meeting has been postponed, will be rescheduled. Friends of Schoodic Peninsula will reschedule their meeting to Sept 9th 6pm at Women’s Hall.
By Letitia Baldwin [email protected] — More than 100 watercraft – from lobster fishermen to kayakers and sailors – Sunday morning paraded in a great arc and filed past the packed Bar Harbor municipal pier to express their opposition to American Aquafarms’ proposed $330 million salmon farm in Frenchman Bay.Converging at 9:30 a.m. off “The Hop,” a tiny island in the vicinity of one of the Norwegian- backed company’s two proposed 15-net pen sites, vessels joined the “Save the Bay Flotilla” organized by Hancock innkeeper and restaurateur Leslie Harlow. She said the parade was intended to show “solidarity with the local lobster industry, small scaleoyster, mussel and seaweed farmers who see the 120-acre fish farm as a threat to their livelihood and the health of the 15-mile-long inlet.”“Gotta protect what we all know and love,” Harlow said ahead of the event.Gouldsboro, WinterHarbor, Sorrento, Hancock, Lamoine, Sullivan and Bar Harbor were among the home ports of the 110 boats participating in the parade that proceeded in waters thick with lobster buoys to the Bar Harbor waterfront. The flotilla filed past the municipal pier packed with cheering, sign-bearing opponents of proposed salmon farm.For many of the fishing boats in attendance, Sunday’s event was a family affair. From South Gouldsboro, devOcean was captained by Jerry Potter. Accompanying him were his wife Diane and daughter Stephanie Scott as well as neighbors who oppose the industrial- scale fish farm.Diane Potter said it felt good to take action and express opposition on the water, where her husband has lobstered, shrimped and harvested other seafood for decades.“I don’t think these guys [American Aquafarms] have the fishermen’s best interests,” she said. “I feel the natural resources would be taken out of here and not kept local.”Her daughter Stephanie agreed.“I think it’s a disgrace the fishermen are up against something like this,” she said. “This has been a sustainable fishery for centuries.”Sitting in the stern, South Gouldsboro resident Colleen (MacGregor) Wallace says her late father and grandfather both fished for a living in Frenchman Bay. She attended the village’s tiny schoolhouse. After a banking career, she and her late husband retired to South Gouldsboro. She cofounded Friends of Schoodic Peninsula, one of the first groups formed to oppose the project.On a nautical chart, South Gouldsboro lobster fisherman Jerry Potter shows fertile fishing grounds off The Hop island, near where one of American Aquafarms’ 15-pen ocean sites would be located in Frenchman Bay. The area is fished by lobstermen from Lamoine, Sullivan, Hancock and Sorrento as indicated by the penciled lines.“I live where I swam as a kid every day,” said Wallace who is concerned about the potential project’s environmental impact and the quality of life in Frenchman Bay towns. “This will certainly affect our children and grandchildren.”Sunday’s flotilla sets the stage for an expected visit Labor Day weekend from American Aquafarms’ founder Mikael Roenes, Vice-President Eirik Jors and Technology Director Erling Kristiansen who will be town to meet with local residents about their project among other things. The COVID-19 pandemic has prevented them from visiting Maine since they unveiled plans to farm fish in Frenchman Bay. A public meeting has been tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 7, at the Gouldsboro Recreational Center.As it stands now, American Aquafarms’ wastewater discharge permit application is under review by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. The application was deemed complete June 9. On Monday, Aug. 30, DEP spokesperson David Madore said the state agency plans to hold a public meeting to hear public sentiment about the project but has not scheduled that yet.American Aquafarms’ 20year lease application has not yet been deemed complete by the Maine Department of Marine Resources. If and when that happens, the state agency’s scientists will conduct their own fieldwork and a formal public hearing will be scheduled. DMR spokesman Jeff Nichols says such a hearing is unlikely to be held this year.ISLANDER PHOTO BY NINAH GILECopyright (c)2021 MDIslander
MD Islander American Aquafarms 9/1/21
postpones meeting due to COVID-19 surge
By Letitia Baldwin
GOULDSBORO — American Aquafarms last week notified the town that it was postponing a planned Sept. 7 public meeting, where the company’s founder, Mikael Roenes, Vice President Eirik Jors and Chief Technology Officer Erling Kristiansen were to have presented information and answered questions about their $250 million project to raise Atlantic salmon in Frenchman Bay. They canceled the meeting because of potential health risks given Maine’s escalating COVID-19 cases.At the Select Board’s Thursday night meeting last week, interim Gouldsboro Town Manager Eve Wilkinson said American Aquafarms’ Project Manager Tom Brennan stressed in his email that the company execs do intend to hold an in-person meeting but didn’t say when. Wilkinson also told several dozen citizens in attendance in-person and via Zoom that Brennan had responded in writing to a multitude of questions raised about the proposed aquafarm venture by the public at meeting earlier this summer. She said Deputy Clerk Brianna Mitchell reviewed the meeting’s video/ audio files and identified 28 questions that were subsequently answered in Brennan’s written response distributed at the Sept. 2 meeting.In related business, Board Chairman Dana Rice informed the public that the Select Board has contracted the Bangor law firm Rudman Winchell to inventory Gouldsboro’s land use, shorefront, subdivision, solid waste and other ordinances and what current rules may or may not apply to American Aquafarms’ 120-acre salmon farm in Frenchman Bay and proposed fish-processing/hatchery facility in Prospect Harbor. Rice said Rudman Winchell is giving the town a discount for its legal services. He said the law firm is expected to report back and may suggest drafting new regulations.The Select Board’s move to hire Rudman Winchell came after consultations with Winter Harbor summer resident and Washington, D.C., attorney Robert Nichols. Nichols, whose home overlooks Frenchman Bay, has closely followed American Aquafarms’ proposal to locate two 15-net pen sites northeast of Long Porcupine Island and north of Bald Rock. The lawyer, whose firm Nichols Liu specializes in government contracts and who previously served as a judge advocate general at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, recently stepped forward to offer his expertise as a neighboring Schoodic Peninsula resident.“Robert, thank you for stepping up in the process,” Rice said. He also praised Wilkinson for also serving yet again as interim town manager. He said, “If it hadn’t been for Eve Wilkinson these last 30 to 40 years, Gouldsboro would have been an unorganized territory.”In American Aquafarms’ six-page response to citizens’ questions, Brennan said the company expects to hire 75 to 90 employees to run its two ocean sites featuring Ecomerden AS’s Eco-cage floating pen system. The year-round jobs will vary widely from pen operators and technicians to various support vessels’ crews and wastewater treatment plant operators. To reach the Frenchman Bay sites, Brennan said the company would work with local fishermen to establish seasonal routes and minimize the risk of entanglements and fishing gear damage. At each site, only 10 acres will be occupied by the pens and mooring systems equipped with required navigational lighting. Work lights will be shielded and not used continuously. No activity is foreseen after daylight hours.At the Prospect Harbor facility, they anticipate more than 100 jobs including administrators, processing-line leaders, biologists, cleaners, maintenance workers and daycare/ health center staff. Eight hour shifts are planned. Some training and certification will be required and related training programs will be initiated with Maine educational institutions. The processing plant/ fish hatchery’s water supply will be sourced from existing wells on site.Brennan noted the U.S. is the world’s top consumer of farmed salmon. Consumption has at least tripled in 40 years. At present, the United States imports more than 90 percent of its seafood largely by air freight from China, Vietnam, Norway and other countries. American Aquafarms’ overland transport of up to 30,000 metric tons of salmon to market cuts “the carbon footprint of 100,000 metric tons per year (31,000 vehicles).”In addition, Brennan noted American Aquafarms would help preserve Gouldsboro’s working waterfront and marine- driven economy for future generations. He said the operation provides an alternative income source should Maine’s lobster landings drop 62 percent as predicted in a 2018 University of Maine study. He said the company also is exploring how salmon cuts and bi-products could be used as lobster bait by local fishermen.Opponents of the project argue that it risks the health of Frenchman Bay and will interfere with existing industries and recreational use of the bay.
Norway would never allow aquafarm proposed for Frenchman Bay; Is Maine an easy mark?
Select Board opposes plan for salmon farm
Project called ‘cheap and dirty’
By Dick Broom [email protected] 9/23/21
MOUNT DESERT — The Select Board has asked Town Manager Durlin Lunt to draft a letter to state officials expressing opposition to a proposed 120-acre salmon farm in Frenchman Bay.“We see a lot of signs around town; a lot of people who live here are opposed to it,” Select Board member Martha Dudman said at Monday night’s meeting. “It’s not good for the fishermen; it’s not good for the island, and I think we should make some statement.”American Aquafarms has applied to the Maine Department of Marine Resources for a 20-year lease on two sites in the bay, each slightly more than 60 acres in size. One site is northwest of Long Porcupine Island; the other is north of Bald Rock. They would have a total of 30 salmon pens.Opponents of the project point to what they say would be its negative environmental and aesthetic impacts.“I don’t know that I’ve had a strong opinion on it, mainly because it’s not right off our shores of Mount Desert,” Select Board member Matt Hart said at Monday’s meeting.“But I think we’re aware of the potential dangers to that ecosystem, and that’s going to have an impact on Mount Desert residents who are fishermen, who are pleasure boaters, with algae blooms and everything going into the water.“There are other ways to do that sort of salmon farming on land, where water can be filtered,” Hart said. “I view this as sort of the cheap and dirty method of doing it, and it would have a detrimental effect on Mount Desert residents.”Board member Geoff Wood said of the American Aquafarms proposal, “There are reasons that organizations like that want to bulldoze their way in, and it isn’t for the benefit of the people who live there. They can dress it up all they want, but the risks are high, the benefits to this community are virtually nil.”Acadia National Park officials have expressed serious concern about the impacts of the salmon farm.John Macauley, chair of the Mount Desert Select Board, said Monday, “It’s going to affect the park. It’s going to affect the things we love the most here.”Board members said they want to give the public an opportunity to comment at their next meeting, Oct. 4, on the letter opposing the salmon farm that they asked the town manager to draft before sending it to state officials.
Ellsworth American 9/23/21
Sorrento to vote on whether to oppose salmon farmBy Rebecca Alley SORRENTO — The town’s annual meeting is set for Monday, Sept. 27, at 7 p.m. at the Sorrento-Sullivan Recreation Center on Route 1.One article out of the 23 on the warrant will ask voters if they want the town to oppose American Aquafarms’ proposed salmon farm in Frenchman Bay and support the Sorrento Select Board in seeking intervenor status in the project’s application process with the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR).DMR is responsible for overseeing the lease applications for aquaculture farmers.According to the department’s website, “If the proposed lease will substantially and directly affect you, you may apply for intervenor status.”If granted that status, “intervenors may provide testimony and present witnesses during the public hearing.”In some cases, intervenors can make comments on the draft decision of an application.The Select Board voted to add the article to the warrant.The project has been met with vocal opposition, including from lobstermen, conservation groups and Acadia National Park.One topic of concern is the scale of the project, as well as potential environmental impacts.If voters approve the article, the Sorrento Select Board will join the Bar Harbor Town Council in seeking intervenor status. Council members voted unanimously in June to apply for intervenor status.In other Town Meeting business, voters will decide whether to appropriate from American Rescue Plan Act funds $28,303 for capital improvements of the Long Pond Water District.Town elections are scheduled for Nov. 8.Select Board Chairman Rob Wilpan is running unopposed for re-election for a three-year term.Current Fire Chief and Road Commissioner Joey Clark is running unopposed for re-election for both positions, which each have two year terms.
Ellsworth American. Closing “imminent” on sale of Maine Fair Trade plant
October 13, 2021 by Letitia Baldwin GOULDSBORO — American Aquafarms officials say the Norwegian-backed company’s closing on East Coast Seafood’s Maine Fair Trade facility “is imminent.” The exact date has not been announced. A new CEO, to succeed American Aquafarms founder Mikael Roenes, is expected to be named later this week.The company’s news comes as Gouldsboro’s Planning Board is set to hear public sentiment — support or opposition — to a proposed ordinance that would immediately halt for six months any related municipal permits sought for finfish aquaculture development encompassing 10 acres or more in coastal waters. The public hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 19, in the Prospect Harbor Women’s Club.Rudman Winchell attorney Tim Pease, whom the Gouldsboro Select Board engaged last month, assisted the Planning Board in drawing up the 180-day “Town of Gouldsboro Moratorium Ordinance — Aquaculture Development” that townspeople will weigh in on at the hearing. He says the proposed moratorium ordinance would be retroactive to Sept. 16, 2021, which is the date when the Select Board directed the Planning Board to draw up the ordinance.After getting public input Oct. 19, the Planning Board is expected the same night to vote on whether to recommend to the Select Board that the proposed ordinance be put to the town’s registered voters for a final say at a yet-to-be-scheduled special town meeting this fall.“If the currently worded draft moratorium passes, it would pause any application made after Sept. 16, 2021, that falls under the definition of [finfish] aquaculture development” in the ordinance, Pease told The American.If the six-month ordinance passes at a special town meeting, the Select Board would have the option before its expiration to renew it for another 180 days after holding a public hearing. To justify the renewal, the board would have to show that “reasonable progress” had been made thus far to address issues posed by 10-acre-plus finfish aquaculture ventures seeking to make the town their base for servicing ocean pens and processing their harvest.“Our responsibility starts at the shore — not the ocean,” Select Board Chairman Dana Rice stressed at the regular Oct. 7 meeting. He was referring to the fact that Maine’s Marine Resources and Environmental Protection departments and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have jurisdiction over proposed aquaculture projects in state waters.As it stands now, the DEP is scheduled to hold an online hearing from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, to hear public comment about American Aquafarms’ separate license applications to discharge more than 25,000 gallons of diluted wastewater per day at each of the Norwegian-backed company’s two proposed 15-pen sites west of Long Porcupine Island and northeast of Bald Rock Ledge. American Aquafarms’ DEP application was deemed complete June 9, initiating the state agency’s formal review of the company’s proposed Blue Ocean Technology system to discharge filtered fluid from its two sites.At present, the DMR still has not found American Aquafarms’ applications to be complete and the state agency therefore has not commenced its formal review of the company’s plans to lease the two Frenchman Bay sites for up to 20 years.American Aquafarms Director of Project Development Tom Brennan said Gouldsboro’s possible prohibition on finfish aquaculture development for six months has not diminished the company’s interest in acquiring Massachusetts-based East Coast Seafood’s closed Maine Fair Trade complex in Prospect Harbor. He noted the facility’s history of seafood processing dating back 115 years. He confirmed “the closing is imminent.”“We believe it should be restored to the economic engine it once was for the community,” Brennan said Tuesday. “Our project will complement Maine’s maritime heritage, while producing high-quality, sustainable seafood. However the town of Gouldsboro chooses to move forward on a moratorium, we will continue to work as a partner to enact ordinances that protect their interests and allows for businesses to bring increased investments and jobs to the community.”Gouldsboro already is the home base for small-scale oyster and seaweed-farming operations. The moratorium ordinance, however, would only apply to finfish aquaculture development. South Gouldsboro-based Springtide Seaweed proprietor Sarah Redmond, who grows alaria, dulse and sugar and skinny kelps in Frenchman Bay, noted the distinction, saying she read the draft ordinance at the Select Board’s Oct. 7 meeting and “thought it would be OK” and not affect her operation. Sitting beside Redmond was Corea oyster and seaweed farmer Joe Young, who also did not express objections to the moratorium.As grounds for its adoption, the draft ordinance notes an unprecedented aquaculture operation including a fish hatchery — exceeding the size and scope of prior ventures — is currently being proposed in Gouldsboro. The document also cites the fact that the town’s comprehensive plan has not been updated since 2005 and other existing ordinances do not address such development.“Without appropriate regulation, such facilities and development could pose a threat to the quality of life and the health and safety of town residents…,” the seven-part draft ordinance cautions. “Such facilities and development could cause a shortage and overburdening of public facilities such as water, roads and public safety.”Earlier this year, Gouldsboro’s Comprehensive Plan Committee Chairwoman Deborah Bisson and members commenced their review of the 2005 plan. The Planning Board also is charged with scrutinizing the town’s land use, site plan, subdivision and shoreland zoning ordinances. Any suggested changes will require public hearings and town meeting votes to implement, and their adoption will take time.Gouldsboro’s initiative to float the finfish aquaculture development moratorium ordinance for voters’ consideration is in response to a mounting, year-long campaign by numerous local and seasonal residents as well as commercial fishermen in opposition to American Aquafarms’ proposed Atlantic salmon-processing facility in town and on Frenchman Bay. Their many concerns include overwhelming the town’s present infrastructure, the degradation of water quality in Frenchman Bay and potential harm to the community’s century-plus lobster fishery and top industry. Greater use of the town’s roads, water supply, public safety personnel and other resources are other issues.Attempting to alleviate some fears, Planning Board Chairman Ray Jones said the town’s present site plan ordinance does address many of those issues.“Ninety percent of the questions you have are part of the [current] site plan application,” Jones told citizens at the Planning Board’s Oct. 5 meeting.
from Quietside JournalGreenhouse gas footprint from fish farms extend well beyond the pens 10/17/21
SOMESVILLE – What is fish farming’s most carbon inducing practice which emits the most greenhouse gas?Let’s use American Aquafarms as an example.The proposed 120-acre salmon farm for the middle of Frenchman Bay promises to be a Green Monster, and not the Fenway type. It will generate greenhouse gas, nitrogen, phosphorus and plenty of dirty diesel emissions.But surprisingly, its biggest violator will be in the actual production of feed for the farmed fish, according to a study published in Nature magazine by a group of scientists who gathered data from almost 7,000 fish farms and 1,000 fishery records about 23 species groups of fish, bivalves, seaweeds, and crustaceans.This was pointed out to QSJ by a reader and golf mate to an article in Anthropocene Magazine. (Did you now there was such a magazine?)“The footprint is attributable to the land conversion and fertilizers that are needed to produce the feed, which are typically soybeans,” the magazine reported. “This land-based food production also gives farmed fish a relatively high footprint where water use is concerned.“Crucially, finding ways to increase the feed conversion ratio (using less feed, more efficiently, to produce more fish) would bring substantial benefits. The researchers estimate that reducing the amount of feed applied in aquaculture by 10% could reduce all the associated environmental stressors of feeding fish—land use, water use, emissions—by between 1 and 24%. “If fish farms also switched to feed sourced from deforestation-free farms, emissions associated with feeding fish would drop by up to 50%. Beyond that, alternative feed sources like insect meals and algae, also hold a lot of potential to bring impacts down.”Henry Sharpe, president of Frenchman Bay United, touched on this in a previous QSJ article about the numerous environmental fouls the proposed salmon farm would generate.In April, he wrote a prescient opinion piece in the Ellsworth American in which he stated, “Skretting, an international supplier of commercial aquaculture fish food, indicates that it takes 1 pound of fish pellets to raise 1 pound of fish. That translates to 1,534 trucks 21 miles long” to haul the feed.”“There will be two 250-foot sludge barges, one at each pen. We don’t know exactly what the sludge volume is yet, but probably a similar volume to the food, so maybe another 21-mile line of trucks.“There will be large transport logistics for diesel fuel required to power high-volume pumps, controls, lighting and crew quarters. This demand is so large it will require one and possibly two so-called ‘minor new source’ emission licenses from the DEP to meet EPA air pollution regulations. Basically, a license to pollute.“A large ship will make the 30-mile round trip to Prospect Harbor every day, most likely burning high sulfur fuel oil, among the dirtiest.“So, all together, considering fish, pellets, and sludge, maybe 4,600 trucks per /year stretching 63 miles bumper to bumper. Double that to 9,200 trucks in a 126-mile line because, of course, if full trucks leave, empty ones need to arrive. Hauling that load from Gouldsboro through Ellsworth and beyond, five days a week, for 52 weeks of each year translates to 17 trucks leaving and 17 truck arriving every day, one every 14 minutes (assuming an eight-hour shift per /day) for 20 years on our small roads. Not to mention the additional traffic congestion from employees.”The greenhouse emissions from American Aquafarms will turn it into a huge climate miscreant, not to mention a total affront to the environmental sensibilities of Maine citizens.Here’s hoping the Maine environmental protection people are up to the task of protecting us.The America Aquafarms application will get a DEP public airing Oct. 28 from 5 to 8 on Zoom https://us06web.zoom.us/j/6928501126…Meeting ID: 692 850 1126 Passcode: 4gWhZz
Below is the audio recording of the DEP zoom meeting on Oct 28, 2021 regarding AA project- 2.5 hours of 3 minute testimonials against the project:
Excerpt from Oct 30th Quietside Journal:
Mainers to Norwegian salmon farms: Take your fish excrements and …SOMESVILLE – American Aquafarms, the company which is no more American than Donald Trump’s made-in-China baseball caps, has achieved something very few companies have been able to do in Maine. It brought together an amazing crossing section of Mainers who agree on one thing: We don’t want your farmed salmon to pollute our pristine coastline.Thursday night, nearly 200 Mainers of all stripes – fishermen, seaweed farmers, scientists, environmentalists, progressives, conservatives, Democrats, Republicans, business people, tradesmen, women, men – struck a unifying chord at a state DEP hearing. (The entire hearing may be viewed here. And here is the DEP project folder.)Each speaker was limited to three minutes. Their articulation of the facts and reasons why this proposed farm by a Norwegian felon are a bad idea was diverse and copious, lasting more than two hours.Among the most compelling was that of Henry Sharpe, chair of Frenchman Bay United who showed slides of what is widely accepted among marine scientists that Frenchman Bay does not flush well despite the tides.Go to Slide 3, 4 and 5 of this presentation to see models of how toxic material emitted by the farms is likely to stay in the area causing great harm to existing fisheries and recreational boating.“Thirty huge salmon pens will pump 4.1 billion gallons of untreated effluent into some of the most pristine waters on the Maine coast, and information submitted by the company about its wastewater discharge is grossly inaccurate and misleading,” Sharpe said.“The trial of the only semi-closed pen in North America (in British Columbia), half the size of the pens proposed here and the first using such a pen to raise harvest-size fish, was recently halted after less than a year due to poor water quality and high fish mortality.Frenchman Bay United’s attorney, David Kallin, warned that American Aquafarms “is seeking to place this new technology in the middle of a coastal wetland of special significance in Maine’s coastal waters off the shore of a national park alongside one of the most recognizable jewels of the State of Maine. “Should failure of any part of these systems occur, the impacts will not be contained to semi-closed grow pens, and will have a direct and devastating environmental impact to the low-flushing bay that is vital to Maine’s tourism industry and the ocean based economy of Mount Desert Island and surrounding communities.”
DEP officials hear opposition to salmon farmNovember 2, 2021 by Letitia Baldwin on Breaking News, News AUGUSTA — The Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s will and capacity to adequately appraise American Aquafarms’ proposed plan to discharge a combined 4.1 billion gallons of diluted wastewater daily from both the Norwegian-backed company’s two 15-pen sites in Frenchman Bay were questioned during a 2.5-hour public meeting held online by the state agency Thursday night.The scientific studies and analysis underlying the industrial-scale project also were disputed and independent scientific data, which paints a different picture, submitted.During the Zoom meeting, more than 40 citizens as well as representatives from Acadia National Park, Island Institute, Friends of Frenchman Bay, Frenchman Bay United, Protect Maine’s Fishing Heritage, the Sierra Club, Maine Natural Resources Council and other groups registered their view about American Aquafarms’ completed wastewater discharge permit applications for two proposed 60-acre sites near Bald Rock Ledge and off Long Porcupine Island. Listening to the unanimous opposition were DEP Commissioner Melanie Loyzim, Deputy Commissioner David Madore and other DEP staffers. No one spoke out verbally in favor of the project. The DEP has received and is still taking written comments about the applications.In its plan, American Aquafarms incorporated Norway-based Blue Ocean Technology’s wastewater treatment system, which is specifically designed for fish farming. Company officials estimate the system would capture 90 percent of the fish feces and residual nutrients from fish feed, which fall to the bottom of the floating pens, and are contained in polymer-membrane cloth sacks.The waste is pumped up from the ocean floor and solids compacted in an attached filtration unit. The compacted waste would be transported by barge to the mainland.Hired by American Aquafarms, in the fall of 2020, Portland-based Ransom Consulting Engineers and Scientists conducted manual and remote sensor testing in Frenchman Bay, which is about 15 miles long and 7 miles wide, to project potential environmental impacts of the proposed salmon farm’s use and release of seawater there to raise 66 million pounds of Atlantic salmon annually.Ransom studied the discharged water’s dispersal, dilution and drift over time in the entire bay. The Cormix computer model, statistical techniques and other tools were used to analyze the hydrologic data and predict outcomes inshore and in distant reaches of the bay. Ransom concluded the daily discharge of filtered seawater would be diluted a dozen times in Frenchman Bay.At Thursday’s meeting, Frenchman Bay United President Henry Sharpe challenged Ransom’s findings. The Sorrento resident cited different outcomes predicted by University of Rhode Island oceanographer Chris Kincaid and University Maine Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Lauren Ross.Both scientists used their own 3-D models to track tidal water movement and currents over time in Frenchman Bay. Independently, both found that the diluted wastewater would remain rather than exit the bay into the open ocean. The wastewater would stay in the bay’s upper reaches and release nutrients to shallower waters.“Waste will not flush from the bay,” Sharpe told the DEP during his allotted three-minute comment time. Instead, he said the effluent will concentrate, release nutrients and threaten the area’s aquatic ecosystem.American Aquafarms’ proposed use of Ecomerden AS’s Eco-cage system was another cause of concern. Designed by Ecomerden founder Jan Erik Kyrkjebø, who is a senior advisor on American Aquafarms’ management team, the semi-closed, rigid aluminum-collared cages resemble floating ponds.Five years ago, Ecomerden’s Eco-cages were first tested and their subsequent commercial use has been limited to several Norwegian salmon farms. Primarily, the cages have been used as an intermediary step to grow out juvenile fish. The design has yet to be used commercially elsewhere in the world.Dana Younger of Sorrento was among the citizens who couldn’t fathom how emerging technology with such limited track-record was even contemplated for Frenchman Bay and elsewhere in Maine.“What’s the actual impact?” he asked the DEP officials in attendance. He said Frenchman Bay communities and their natural resources were being used as “guinea pigs with unknown short- or long-term impacts.”Acadia National Park Superintendent Kevin Schneider reiterated the park’s opposition to American Aquafarms’ operation, citing potential harm to the coastal environment and Maine economy.Schneider said 2021 visitation is expected to reach a record 4 million visits by year’s end. He says Frenchman Bay is integral to the Mount Desert Island and Schoodic region’s landscape and visitor experience. He says the project’s sheer size — equal to 15 football fields — and any degradation of its natural resources — such as water quality — would have serious consequences.Acadia, he noted, “plays a key role in Maine’s tourism economy.”Bar Harbor resident and retired surgeon William Horner practiced trauma and critical care medicine for 20 years at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. Horner, seasonal Prospect Harbor resident and retired architect Robert Bushwaller and others expressed alarm at the proposed salmon-farming operation’s lack of risk assessment. When he was a practicing surgeon, Horner says, spelling out a surgical operation’s risks and benefits to patients was standard protocol.“DEP ought to incorporate risk management. You’ve got to think about [what happens] if this goes sideways. Who is going to be left holding the bag?” another speaker, Patrick Wilson, asked.Blue Hill resident and Friends of Blue Hill Bay member Robert Bauer and others asked why such large, ocean-based aquaculture ventures are not required to have a wastewater treatment plant operator as similar land-based fish farms are to monitor closely water quality and prevent degradation.Frenchman Bay residents, who make their living in the inlet, also spoke out. Among them was Sorrento fisherman James West, who has lobstered and scalloped in Frenchman Bay and the specific areas where the salmon pens would be located for 42 years. He sees American Aquafarms as detrimental to existing fisheries, but also the juvenile lobster resource and the inshore shrimp and groundfish nurseries.“It’s just a big accident waiting to happen. I am still shocked that we are talking about it,” West said.He also questioned whether DEP is adequately staffed to rigorously monitor such a large operation.
OVERWHELMING MAJORITY APPROVE 6 MONTH MORATORIUM IN GOULDSBORO ON ANY LARGE FINFISH AQUACULTURE PROPOSALS November 15, 2021
For Immediate Release GOULDSBORO–In what is widely seen as a vote against a proposed industrial salmon farm in Frenchman Bay, voters at a Special Town Meeting Monday decided overwhelmingly to approve a moratorium against all large-scale fish farms for at least six months.While there was not an exact count, Town Manager Eve Wilkinson said there were 205 people in the room and only 3 voted against the moratorium. It was so overwhelming with only 3 opposed an official count was not taken.The moratorium gives the Planning Board time to shore up its ordinances to address projects as large as the 120-acre salmon farm proposed by American Aquafarms, which is largely made up of Norwegian investors.Veteran lobster fisherman Jerry Potter said that although this vote does not kill the project, it does send a strong message to the company that the majority of residents do not back the salmon farm project. American Aquafarms has said it needs the support of the community.“I have been opposed to this project since the first time I heard about it,” said Potter, 75, who has been fishing in Frenchman Bay since he was a teenager. “We have a healthy economy in the bay and this will destroy that economy, all in order to line the pockets of overseas investors.”While many other commercial fishing and aquaculture activities take place within FrenchmanBay, and exist in harmony with Acadia National Park, this development is totally different. The scale, which is the equivalent of 16 football fields, is unprecedented in Maine.Jacqueline Weaver, a founding member of Friends of Schoodic Peninsula and a board member of Frenchman Bay United, both of which oppose the AA proposal, said this project is wildly inappropriate development for the area and for Frenchman Bay.“We didn’t ask for this, we don’t need it, and we don’t want it,” said Weaver. “The only people that will benefit from this are the investors. Existing businesses have great difficulty filling jobs.We need economic development that helps the area, not something that will ruin an irreplaceable ecosystem in Frenchman Bay.”Opposition to the project has been growing locally since last spring when residents of the Schoodic Peninsula started becoming aware of the proposal and its magnitude.While American Aquafarms is holding out the promise of new jobs, Acadia National Park, whichwould overlook the 30 pens, said the salmon farm would jeopardize 5,400 existing jobs that depend on the pristine nature of the national park.The voting took place at the Gouldsboro Rec Center on Pond Road.The moratorium ordinance addresses large scale aquaculture development and is retroactive toSept. 16. The moratorium would freeze for six months the review and issuance of municipal permits for any finfish aquaculture-related development that comprises 10 acres or more in local coastal waters.When the six month moratorium expires, the Gouldsboro Board of Selectmen would hold a public hearing on renewing the freeze for an additional 180 days.In order to be granted the extension, the Planning Board would have to show that “reasonable progress” had been made to address issues posed by companies interested in starting a finfish aquaculture business within the town.
Contact:Jacqueline Weaver, Friends of Schoodic Peninsula
Gouldsboro voters approve 6-month ban on controversial fish farm project
BDN 11/16/21 by Bill TrotterBy an overwhelming show of hands, Gouldsboro voters on Monday night approved a 6-month moratorium on large-scale aquaculture operations.With a little more than 200 voters at the special town meeting, only 3 people held their voting cards up to vote against the temporary ban. The rest raised their cards in favor of it, according to town officials and other people who attended the meeting.The vote was aimed at delaying potential approval of a proposal from American Aquafarms to establish a salmon farm in Frenchman Bay so the town can have time to update its development ordinances.The moratorium is retroactive to Sept. 16, 2021, when local selectmen decided to begin the process of drafting it, and will last 180 days.American Aquafarms is seeking state approval to lease two 60-acre sites in the bay where it would use 15 floating pens, each of them 150 feet wide, at each site, to produce 30,000 metric tons, or about 66 million pounds, of salmon each year.Fish grown at the site would be processed at a fish plant in the Gouldsboro village of Prospect Harbor that for decades functioned as a sardine cannery and, in the past decade, as a lobster processing site. American Aquafarms has an agreement to acquire the plant from the current owner, Maine Fair Trade Lobster, contingent upon getting approval for the salmon farm.The development ban applies only to any approvals and permits the company would need to get from the town to redevelop the lobster processing plant. The moratorium does not apply to American Aquafarms’ efforts to get approval from the state to grow salmon in Frenchman Bay.Many area residents and organizations have criticized the proposal, saying the pens would jeopardize water quality in the bay, create gear conflicts with local fishermen, and that the large, industrial scale of the project is inappropriate for the site, which abuts Bar Harbor and is clearly visible from Acadia National Park. Critics also have said the company’s use of the local seafood plant likely would bring heavy truck traffic to town and could impact local water supplies.Company officials said last month that if Gouldsboro voters were to approve the proposed moratorium, it will continue to work with town officials to help make sure the town’s interests are protected and to bring investment and jobs to Gouldsboro.A company spokesperson did not respond Tuesday morning to a request for comment about the vote.Jacqueline Weaver, a board member with both Friends of Schoodic Peninsula and Frenchman Bay United, said Monday’s vote shows that the majority of local residents do not support the company’s plans.“American Aquafarms has said they need community backing to succeed,” she said. “The vote was overwhelming.”
12/7/21 BH town council discussion about AA project starts exactly at 3:08.00 hours into their meeting. Gary F. reports on Alex Morton’s talk & speaking to the governor about it. Also they discussed reaching out to other municipalities around the bay. Jeff Dobbs says he is producing a video against the project. Unanimous vote to accept Marine Resources report and use it in their intervenor case. https://townhallstreams.com/stream.php?location_id=37…In addition, there will be an informational meeting supported by BH chamber of commerce on December 15th.
Ellsworth American 12/8/2021
Groups ask state to deny salmon farm application
by Cyndi Wood on Environment, News GOULDSBORO — Citing “unprecedented scale, unproven technology” and pollution risk, Frenchman Bay Conservancy last month sent a letter to Governor Janet Mills opposing American Aquafarms’ proposed salmon farm in Frenchman Bay and requesting the project be denied. Twenty-one additional organizations signed the letter, including the Downeast Salmon Federation, Natural Resources Council of Maine, Friends of Acadia and College of the Atlantic President Darron Collins.“Very rarely, if ever, does the broad spectrum of environmental, economic and cultural interests represented by the 22 organizations that signed this letter come together with such a clear, single voice,” said Paul Parshley, president of the conservancy’s board of directors. The American Aquafarms “project is not just a small local issue, it is an ill-advised development proposal with ramifications far beyond Frenchman Bay.”American Aquafarms pushed back this week against the concerns outlined in the letter.“The yield and economic benefit per acre to the State and local communities from each of these sites will far exceed any comparable alternative use of this area,” according to a response provided Monday by American Aquafarms CEO Keith Decker.“The introduction of clean closed pen technology with waste collection ensures the minimal environmental impact of the operation. Compared to traditional fish farming without waste collection, the impact to the bay is minimal.”The Norwegian-backed company proposes to raise salmon at two 60-acre sites northwest of Long Porcupine Island and northeast of Bald Rock Ledge in Frenchman Bay. The company notes that it is only seeking 10 acres of each site for exclusive rights to place fish pens (15 at each site). For the remaining acreage, the company seeks “non-exclusive rights for moorings, where lobstering and other activities can and should continue as before,” Decker said.The company says the project “will have minimal impact on existing fisheries.” Opponents, including local fishermen who joined a “Save the Bay Flotilla” this past summer, disagree given the rich fishing grounds in the area.The conservancy’s letter questions the technology planned for the site and says it has never before been deployed at this scale. “Their 30 semi-closed pens would allow the daily discharge of an estimated four billion gallons of rinse water containing nitrogen, phosphates, and other dissolved chemicals,” according to the letter. The conservation groups also raise concerns about the potential for fish escape, disease, dissolved contaminants, veterinary pharmaceuticals and “longer-term uncharacterized impacts on the Bay’s floor.”American Aquafarms countered that closed pen technology has been in use since the 1980s in Norway. “The volume of water circulated through the pens is not a discharge but instead is natural, clean water in which the fish thrive and grow.” Plans for removing fish feces from the water before its release into the bay are detailed in the company’s pending discharge application with the state Department of Environmental Protection.The American Aquafarms CEO said that use of antibiotics or chemicals are not part of planned operations but may be used in a limited capacity if necessary.Opponents say the company’s models do not accurately simulate the risk posed to the bay by water released from the pens.The environmental impact of fossil fuel usage is also at issue. Opponents point to the fuel that will be used to power ten 500kW diesel generators at the pens as well as emissions generated from trucking salmon from the processing plant in Gouldsboro to markets elsewhere.American Aquafarms said opponents’ calculations of the operation’s fuel usage were “grossly exaggerated.” Decker said average usage would be much lower than installed capacity and the company was exploring other options to power its equipment, including biofuel, wind, solar and electric battery packs. Raising salmon in the U.S., as opposed to air shipping fish from overseas, will substantially reduce CO2 emissions, he said.As for the project’s ability to adapt to climate change, that’s part of the plan, Decker said. “Closed pens already provide stable water flow and temperature that insulate fish from dangerous conditions already noticeable as climate change impacts offshore waters.”The company’s reassurances are unlikely to sway opponents, who are deeply concerned about the health of the bay and the wildlife and industries that rely on it.As the two sides polish their talking points, the conversation is only beginning. American Aquafarms’ two lease applications to the Department of Marine Resources have yet to be accepted as complete. The company has yet to file an application for its proposed land-based operations, including a hatchery and processing facility, at the former Maine Fair Trade plant in Gouldsboro. That town recently enacted a six-month moratorium to assess and possibly update local regulations to cover finfish aquaculture applications.On May 17, 2021, the conservancy requested that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conduct an Environmental Impact Statement under the National Environmental Policy Act on the American Aquafarms project. Regulatory review of the company’s application has not progressed yet to the federal level and the Environmental Impact Statement decision is pending.
December 15, 2021 by Letitia Baldwin on News, Politics GOULDSBORO — Two minutes or less.That’s how long it took moderator Peter Drinkwater Monday night to read the warrant article at a special town meeting and for voters to unanimously approve taking up to $100,000 from the town’s unappropriated surplus to replenish its legal reserve account.None of the more than 40 residents in attendance opposed or commented on the move, which was taken in response to the town already having almost spent the $20,000 budgeted for legal expenses for the 2021-22 fiscal year.The budgeted funds were spent earlier than expected largely due to legal counsel needed to grapple with American Aquafarms’ plan to process Atlantic salmon and raise juvenile fish at the former Maine Fair Trade facility in Prospect Harbor.At the Planning Board’s meeting Tuesday, Dec. 7, Chairman Ray Jones said Monday night’s vote was crucial for his board and Rudman Winchell attorney Tim Pease to proceed and fulfill the mandate arising from Gouldsboro’s Nov. 15 special town meeting. Voters overwhelmingly passed a six-month moratorium ordinance halting finfish aquaculture development.The 180-day pause is intended to give the Planning Board time to review the town’s current ordinances and possibly propose amendments.“If we can work with him [Tim Pease] on Zoom, I think we can accomplish what we need to do,” Jones told the public at the Dec. 7 meeting, noting Zoom sessions with Pease were less costly than in-person consultations. He said the Planning Board later this month could commence work with the Rudman Winchell attorney.At the Dec. 7 meeting, several Gouldsboro residents expressed concern that the Planning Board had not yet commenced its review. The finfish aquaculture development moratorium retroactively took effect Sept. 15. They questioned whether board members will have sufficient time to study Gouldsboro’s ordinances and research finfish development-related rules elsewhere in the few remaining months. They also were unclear how they could express their views about any findings as part of that process.Jones said the town’s current site plan review ordinance, which has been updated four times since its 2002 adoption, likely would cover any seafood-processing operation proposed in town. He noted American Aquafarms intends to purchase East Coast Seafood Group’s Prospect Harbor complex soon but has not actually acquired the property. Until American Aquafarms owns the facility, and submits a site plan to remodel it, he won’t know the Norwegian-backed company’s detailed plans to process its farm-raised salmon and produce juvenile fish to restock its two 15-pen sites planned in Frenchman Bay.Gouldsboro resident and Springtide Seaweed LLC owner Sarah Redmond asked Jones whether the board has communicated directly with American Aquafarms in recent months.“There have been no communications regarding details,” Jones responded, saying he had received periodic phone calls from American Aquafarms’ Director of Project Development Tom Brennan. “He does call me on occasion to see if anything is new.”In light of American Aquafarms’ much publicized project, Prospect Harbor resident Jed West informed the board that retired architect and seasonal Lighthouse Point Road resident Robert Bushwaller has offered to carry out a risk analysis free of charge for the town of the proposed fish-farming operation’s potential impact on Gouldsboro.Jones said such assistance was welcome. He also urged interested citizens to read and familiarize themselves with Gouldsboro’s site plan review and other ordinances that may be relevant. They are easily found on the town website under “ordinances” at gouldsborotown.com.“The end result for all of us board members is to protect the town,” he said.In other business, board members agreed to request various developers to take “corrective action” to comply with the town’s fire protection ordinance. The move followed Fire Chief Tate McLean’s earlier report that he and the town’s former fire chief Alden Tracey had found a nonfunctional fire pond on an empty Sandpiper Shores lot and three defective dry hydrants on unsold lots located on Walters, Robbins Point and Merganser Bay Shores roads. Mclean said the developers are responsible for the fire ponds and hydrants’ upkeep until the land is sold and the responsibility shifts to the new property owners.In addition, Gouldsboro Infrastructure Superintendent Jim McLean proposed expanding the town’s shoreland ordinance to cover septic field repair or failure. McLean said he recently learned of two Prospect Harbor properties with dysfunctional septic systems. One lacks a septic field while the other has a defective tank. He says such violations put the town at risk of Prospect Harbor and other inlets being closed to shellfish harvesting.Jones concurred the risk is great, and he and other Planning Board members agreed to review a proposed amendment at a future meeting.“This is proactive — not reactive,” he said. “We’ll possibly take action on it very soon.”