I am writing to express opposition to the massive “closed” salmon pen operation proposed for Frenchman Bay.

American Aquafarms, based in Portland and organized recently by the Norwegian company Global AS, is proposing a gigantic salmon farm. Plans are to place 30 sea pens, each 150 feet wide, on two leases, totaling 100 acres in the center of the bay.

The American Aquafarms pens would support a projected annual production of 30,000 metric tons, or about 66 million pounds of fish.

I have been a summer resident of Mount Desert Island for 40 years. I spend much of my time there boating and picnicking on the surrounding waters and islands. Hop Island in Frenchman Bay is a favorite destination. One of the two American Aquafarms lease sites will be yards to the north of the Hop Island anchorage. This is an area daily plied by lobstermen, sailors and pleasure boaters.

The salmon pens on both lease sites will present an obstacle to such use. Their “closed” status will not prevent the release of dissolved fish and food waste into the surrounding waters, and farmed fish are likely to escape the pens.

Closed pens require significant electricity for the pumping of seawater. Power will be supplied by diesel generators for this operation, with attendant hazard.

There are no commercial-scale closed-pen systems operating in North America above pilot scale. In Norway the technology is still regarded as emergent. To pursue development of a massive system utilizing untried technology in the shadow of Acadia National Park is to invite disaster.

Francis M. Weld
Northeast Harbor


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