Proposed land-based salmon farm in the US faces opposition

A land-based salmon farm proposed in the US state of Maryland is proving to be quite unpopular with some residents.

Oslo-based AquaCon fielded questions from the community in a town hall meeting last Monday about the $300-million land-based salmon operation it plans to build in the state.

According to the Dorchester Star, an informal tally taken at the gathering showed most of the 100 attendees were opposed to the development.

AquaCon plans to produce around 50,000 tons of Atlantic salmon (HOG) in three phases over the first six years of operation in the Frank Adams Industrial Park, located in the town of Federalsburg, Maryland. It said it chose Maryland for its four-hour trucking distance to more than 70 million customers.

The facility will have the potential to expand production to more than 100,000 tons. However,  that is still a long way away because the project and the town itself are still waiting for permits from the Maryland Department of the Environment.

At the Monday night meeting, the attendees raised concerns about the environmental impact of the project, particularly the plan to extract 2.3 million gallons of water daily from the ground and discharge the same into the Maryshope Creek.

Doubts about AquaCon’s source of funding for the $300M that it needs were also aired, as only $10 million so far has reportedly been raised. Around this time last year, SalmonBusiness reported that the financial support to the project from potential investors has been “lukewarm.”

Questions also revolved around jobs, odor control, wild sturgeon, groundwater, waste management and permits.

AquaCon lawyer Ryan Showalter said the project will create 150 jobs. A supporter in the audience told the group that the financial contribution, through taxes, to the town’s economy will be enough “for the County Commissioners to pay the school budget every year.”

It didn’t sway some attendees. One promised to continue the petition against the project and add to the 107 signatories to date.

In August, a group of nine environmental advocates and scientists said Maryland authorities erred in allowing Oslo-based AquaCon to proceed with the project.

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