May 31, 2023
Maine state, US legislators propose density limits for salmon farms
Legislators in the state of Maine, US, have put forward a new bill aimed at imposing density limits on salmon farms operating in state waters, in direct response to the controversies surrounding the American Aquafarms project, SeafoodSource reported.
The proposed bill, known as LD 1951 or "An Act Regarding Marine Finfish Aquaculture," seeks to amend existing state laws by introducing maximum stocking densities for salmon net pens located in state waters.
The Committee on Marine Resources of Maine unanimously voted ought-to-pass on May 25th, endorsing an amended version of the bill that sets a density limit of 30 kg per cubic meter for salmonid net pens.
Maine State Senator Nicole Grohoski, the bill's sponsor, specifically cited the issues surrounding the American Aquafarms proposal as a driving force behind the need to update the state's regulations pertaining to salmonid aquaculture.
During a committee hearing, Senator Grohoski expressed concerns raised by her constituents about the potential impact of fish farms on the state's coastal resources. She said that the proposed stocking density limit is not extreme and aligns with the upper limits recommended or required by other governments worldwide.
American Aquafarms had put forward plans for a closed net-pen salmon aquaculture venture with an annual production capacity of up to 30,000 metric tonnes. The project, slated to be located in Frenchman Bay off the coast of Gouldsboro, Maine, faced vehement opposition from local residents due to its proximity to Acadia National Park. The town of Gouldsboro implemented a moratorium on large-scale fish farms, and several local groups actively opposed the project.
Ultimately, American Aquafarms failed to secure a crucial lease in the state, leading to the resignation of its former CEO, Keith Decker. In early May, the company's processing plant was put up for auction.
During the committee hearing, Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher revealed that American Aquafarms' proposal was rejected for various reasons, not solely due to technicalities surrounding the sourcing of salmon eggs from AquaBounty, a company known for its advancements in genetically engineered salmon.