Aquaculture

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Nordic Aquafarms: Opponents taking 'Trumpian-type approach' with its legal challenges

Nordic Aquafarm's US president tells IntraFish the project is moving forward, with permitting expected to be approved within coming months.

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A Belfast, Maine-based citizen action group called the Friends of Harriet L. Hartley Conservation Area is just the latest in a series of small but vocal protesters in Maine who are trying to derail Nordic Aquafarms' massive future land-based salmon project in the city.

“The Friends” are the third local group concerned about Nordic Aquafarms siting its 900,000 square-foot facility on the shore of Belfast Bay, the group said in a statement Friday.

The opponents claim the project should not be not allowed on the land because of language in a 1946 deed, and that no businesses for profit are to be conducted there unless agreed to by Harriet L. Hartley, her heirs or designated individuals.

"They don't have a legal clarification regarding that, this is a Trumpian-type approach to things," Nordic Aquafarms US President Erik Heim told IntraFish.

Nordic Aquafarms said its filings with the BPL show that it has right, title and interest sufficient for the BPL to issue a submerged lands lease. Heim told IntraFish permits are being finalized for approval in the next three to four months, with construction set to begin next year.

The groups are piggybacking on a lawsuit filed earlier this year by a Belfast couple asking to be granted as much as $1.2 million in damages because the project crosses their waterfront property, the Bangor Daily News reports.

Heim said the company is looking to have the lawsuit resolved before construction begins next year. Beyond working with city and state officials as well as the courts, Heim added that Nordic Aquafarms will not address the issue with the groups specifically, however.

"It's a small group of people in Belfast doing this. We're not engaging with them as the majority in Belfast are not in support of what they're doing," he said.

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