Nordic Aquafarms sues city over development block

map showing location of Belfast, Maine USA

Nordic Aquafarms has launched a legal action against a local authority in Maine, USA in an effort to keep its plans for a large land-based salmon farm on the US east coast alive.

The company is asking the Maine Superior Court to reverse a decision by the City of Belfast, Maine which has had the effect of denying Nordic Aquafarms access to a vital area of intertidal mud flats on Penobscot Bay, required for the farm’s outflow pipes.

After a long dispute over ownership of the area, the city initially brought an “eminent domain” action enabling it to seize the land in question and enable the fish farm to go ahead.

Following a vocal campaign by environmental groups, the city reversed that decision, and Nordic Aquafarms is now challenging the change of policy.

The proposed RAS (recirculating aquaculture system) salmon farm is estimated to represent a capital investment of at least $500m (ÂŁ383m). Nordic Aquafarms has faced numerous legal challenges over its proposals, but this is the first lawsuit the company has initiated.

“Having the Superior Court determine Nordic’s rights following the council vote is an important part of the development process, and Nordic is committed to seeing it through,” the company’s spokesperson Jacki Cassida said on Wednesday. “We are dedicated to Belfast and want to continue bringing other economic benefits to Belfast and the surrounding region by completing the development of its fully permitted on-land aquaculture facility.”

Initial plans for the Belfast facility suggested that it could produce up to 33,000 tonnes of salmon annually.

Nordic Aquafarms also operates yellowtail kingfish farms in Norway and Denmark with a capacity of 3,000 tonnes, and is developing a yellowtail farm in Humboldt, California.

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