Kingfish defeats Maine planning challenge

A legal bid to stop The Kingfish Company’s land-based yellowtail farm in Maine, USA has failed at the appeal stage.

The project, which would see a recirculating aquaculture systems farm built near Jonesport, Maine, had been opposed by the Roque Island Gardner Homestead Corporation and Eastern Maine Conservation Initiative, but yesterday the Superior Court of Maine found in favour of the initial decision to grant the project planning consent.

The Location of Development Act (SLODA) and Natural Resources Protection Act (NRPA) joint permit had been issued by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection in 2021 and affirmed, on appeal, by the Maine Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) in 2022. This was Roque Island’s second appeal denial, on the state level.

Megan Sorby, Kingfish Maine Operations Manager, said: “The opposition from Roque Island continues to be unsuccessful in its appeals of the Kingfish Maine project. This latest appeal denial is a clear victory for Kingfish Maine and more importantly the residents of Jonesport.

“Kingfish Maine will bring economic development to the Downeast region [part of the north-eastern coast New England and some Canadian Maritime areas] and that cannot be controlled by Roque Island. We are excited to celebrate this Superior Court victory with the community of Jonesport.”

In the appeal, the Petitioners raised issues with what it claimed was the BEP’s “failure to independently assess the project’s impact on wildlife under NRPA.”

In its decision: “While Petitioners ask the court to vacate the Board’s decision upholding both the NRPA and Site Law permit, Petitioners’ challenge is based on the alleged violations of NRPA, and they mount no meaningful challenge to the lawfulness of the Site Law Permit (SLODA).”

The Court concluded: “…the Board did not violate NRPA or otherwise act unreasonably by failing to independently assess the project’s effluent discharges…”

Once the Jonesport Maine facility is fully operational, Kingfish Maine is projected to produce 8,500 metric tons of yellowtail.

The Kingfish Company currently produces 1,500 tonnes of yellowtail at its RAS farm in Zeeland, in the Netherlands (pictured).

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