Nordic's planned 30,000-tonne salmon farm in Belfast, Maine. Image: Nordic Aquafarms.

Nordic Aquafarms wins intertidal land dispute

Nordic Aquafarms, which plans a 30,000-tonne on-land salmon farm in Belfast, Maine, in the north-east United States has won a court case confirming its right of access to the coast for water intake and discharge.

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Opponents of the farm claimed a plot of land (Lot 36) bought by Nordic from Janet and Richard Eckrote so that it could run its pipes to Penobscot Bay did not include intertidal flats that extended to the bay. Jeffrey Mabee and Judith Grace, who owned owner plot (Lot 38) a short distance away, claimed the intertidal land in front of several plots belonged to them.

But Justice Murray of Waldo County, Maine Superior Court ruled that opponents to the project possess no land ownership rights impacting Nordic’s project and that a conservation easement Mabee and Grace had granted on the intertidal land does not exist over Nordic’s project area.

‘Unassailable reasoning’

“We are very pleased with both the win on every property count and with the court’s unassailable reasoning in this extremely clear decision,” said Nordic Aquafarms Inc. president Erik Heim.

“Nordic Aquafarms obtained every permit for the Maine project and, with this ruling, can proceed to final Maine project planning.”

Marianne Naess, executive vice president commercial for Nordic Aquafarms Inc. and spokesperson for the company said: “Project opponents’ lawsuits and attempted land grab show their willingness to do anything, including suing their neighbours, and consistently spreading false claims and misrepresentations in their attempt to stop the project.

“So far, their attempts failed to do anything but delay project benefits to Maine. Nordic is in this for the long haul. Belfast is a location worth fighting for. Nordic looks forward to moving into the next phase of engineering and project planning.”

Remaining litigation

Nordic said it thanked the Eckrotes “for their perseverance throughout this ordeal”.

The company added: “Nordic looks forward to resolving the remaining litigation by project opponents including their second lawsuit against the City of Belfast, which this ruling should expedite, and to moving forward in Belfast.”

Read the full judgement here.