Nordic Aquafarms wins appeals case in Maine, faces another

Construction of the first phase of the 33,000-MT land-based salmon facility of Nordic Aquafarms in Maine was planned for 2019, but three years later the company remains embroiled in lawsuit after lawsuit from opponents of salmon farming, preventing it from beginning construction.

On Thursday, September 8, lawyers representing Nordic Aquafarms and plaintiffs Jeffrey R. Mabee et al. gathered at the Cumberland County Courthouse in Portland, Maine to present oral arguments regarding an appeal filed over who owns the intertidal land that is critical to Nordic’s land-based salmon farm in Belfast, said local news outlet

Nordic Aquafarms plans to bury its intake and outfall pipes in the contested land to funnel water to and from Penobscot Bay.

Thursday’s court hearing comes in the wake of Nordic Aquafarms’ victory last September 1 over an appeals case by the non-profit Upstream Watch.

The group challenged the Belfast Planning Board’s five permits granted to Nordic Aquafarms. It asked Waldo County Superior Court Justice Robert for a court review of the municipal proceedings that led to the permitting of the aqua farm applications. The judge dismissed the request, affirming the original decision by the Bureau of Parks and Lands in September 2020.

“Justice Murray has ruled on another case that had been pending in Superior Court, once again in favor of Nordic Aquafarms,” said the company on its Facebook page.

Brenda Chandler, Interim CEO/CFO, said “no further permit appeals are pending in Superior Court.”

Chandler was named interim CEO in July 2022 upon the departure of Erik Heim, Nordic Aquafarms president.

In an interview with this journalist in November, Heim said he was undaunted by the delay in the project, saying that working to make sure all the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed is more important than rushing to build. He viewed the delay as an opportunity to “keep on de-risking the project.”

“We’re taking things in a responsible conservative step-by-step approach. The most important thing for us is that things are in order and that we feel confident about engineering everything before we start working. That’s actually more important than rushing to do something,” he said at that time.


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