One of the videos Nordic has produced to demonstrate its system to the US public. Video: Nordic Aquafarms.

Nordic briefs public ahead of permit bids

Nordic Aquafarms, which plans to develop a 33,000-tonne on-land salmon farm in the US town of Belfast, Maine will hold a public meeting next week to talk about its permit applications for the recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) facility.

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The Norwegian company said it will present key information from its Site Location of Development Act (SLODA) and Natural Resources Protection Act (NRPA) permit applications, as well as its previously submitted discharge application, and to take public comment.

Nordic plans to submit the SLODA and NRPA applications to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection next month, having already submitted its discharge application, known as the Maine Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (MEPDES) application, last October.

Marianne Naess: "Comprehensive permit applications".

Commitment to sustainability

The discharge application has won backing from both the Conservation Law Foundation and the Atlantic Salmon Federation, although Nordic’s plans have run into opposition from some residents of Belfast who claim the discharges would increase nitrogen levels in Penobscot Bay.

“We have been working diligently over many months to prepare these very comprehensive permit applications,” said Nordic commercial director Marianne Naess.

“They demonstrate our commitment to sustainability and protecting the natural environment while building a facility that will create new jobs and add significantly to the local tax base. We look forward to sharing information with area residents and getting their feedback.”

Citizen board

Earlier this year Nordic said that in an effort to keep its project on track and maintain transparency in the permitting process, it has successfully requested that the Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) take jurisdiction over the project.

The BEP is a citizen board whose members are appointed by the state governor. While the Board is part of the DEP, it has independent decision-making authority in its areas of its responsibility, which include projects of state-wide significance.

Nordic said the move means all three permit applications will be consolidated into one comprehensive review, which should result in a more efficient and timely evaluation of the project.

California plan

The company will hold its public information meeting on March 26 at 6pm local time at the Hutchinson Center, 80 Belmont Avenue in Belfast.

As well as the Belfast project, Nordic also plans a RAS facility on a 30-acre site in the Humboldt Bay Harbour, Recreation and Conservation District in Northern California.

It grows yellowtail kingfish at the Sashimi Royal RES plant in Denmark and is constructing Europe’s biggest on-land salmon farm in Fredrikstadt, eastern Norway.