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An illustration of Nordic Aquafarms' proposed RAS facility in Belfast, Maine. Image: Nordic Aquafarms
An illustration of Nordic Aquafarms' proposed RAS facility in Belfast, Maine. Image: Nordic Aquafarms

Nordic Aquafarms, which is planning a 33,000-tonne land-based salmon farm in Belfast, Maine, has won backing from the local authority over its proposed farm site.

The $500 million (£360 million) project has been delayed by lawsuits from environmental opposition groups, despite receiving all the necessary state and city permits, but now the city has intervened in an attempt to bypass the lengthy legal battles.

According to the Bangor Daily News, Belfast officials voted unanimously last week to pursue eminent domain on a contested strip of land, which Nordic intends to use for pipeline access to Penobscot Bay, on the US east coast.

Disputed

The action seeks to clear the disputed deed on the property, allowing the city and Nordic Aquafarms to move forward on the RAS farm, which is expected to bring much new revenue to the city.

Norwegian owned Nordic said in July it would give a shorefront property to the city of Belfast – to be used for the public benefit - in exchange for a permanent easement that will allow the company to bring its intake and outflow pipes to Penobscot Bay.

Tensions have been running high over the fish farm development, but one councillor, Neal Harkness, stressed the advantages of the scheme for the community.

Public benefit

‘We’re basically talking about the ability to rebuild our water system, which is seriously antiquated and in need of repair … you cannot argue against the public benefit here,’ he said.

A public hearing over the issue will be heard on Thursday, August 12.

Nordic Aquafarms also plans to build a 33,000-tonne on-land salmon farm in California. The company already runs a small salmon RAS in Fredrikstad, Norway, and grows yellowtail kingfish in a RAS unit in northern Denmark.