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State rejects application for salmon farm in Frenchman Bay

April 21, 2022 GMT

GOULDSBORO, Maine (AP) — A state agency has terminated an application for a large aquaculture operation opposed by lobstermen in Frenchman Bay.

American Aquafarms, which was notified of the decision Tuesday, proposed a pair of 60-acre, 15-pen sites that together could produce 66 million pounds of Atlantic salmon a year.

The Department of Marine Resources said the Portland-based company backed by Norwegian investors failed to find a state-approved hatchery for salmon eggs for the operation.

The company also failed to prove the hatchery met requirements of state law for fish health and genetics, officials said.

The company was notified eight months ago of the deficiencies and failed to rectify them, officials said.

The group that for the past year has been leading the fight against the operation, which included a proposed processing plant on the mainland, praised the decision.

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“We hope that the company has finally gotten the message that they are not welcome here and that it’s time to pull the plug on this destructive and ill-conceived project once and for all,” said Henry Sharpe, president of the Frenchman Bay United board.

The company could submit a new application but that would add several years to the permitting process. The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.