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Nordic Aquafarms sues city for blocking development

Nordic Aquafarms has launched legal action against a local government in Maine, US, in an attempt to keep alive its plans for a large land-based salmon farm on the US east coast.

The company is asking the Maine Superior Court to reverse a decision by the city of Belfast, Maine, which resulted in Nordic Aquafarms being denied access to a vital area of ​​tidal flats on Penobscot Bay necessary for the outflow pipes from the farm.

After a long dispute over ownership of the area, the city initially filed an “eminent domain” action, allowing it to seize the land in question and continue the fish farm.

After a vocal campaign from environmental groups, the city reversed that decision, and Nordic Aquafarms is now challenging the policy change.

The proposed RAS (recirculating aquaculture system) salmon farm is estimated to represent a capital investment of at least $500 million (£383 million). Nordic Aquafarms has faced numerous legal challenges over its proposals, but this is the first lawsuit the company has filed.

“Having the Supreme Court determine Nordic’s rights following the board’s vote is an important part of the development process, and Nordic is committed to seeing it through to a successful conclusion,” company spokesperson Jacki Cassida said on Wednesday. “We are committed to Belfast and want to continue to deliver other economic benefits to Belfast and the surrounding region by completing the development of its fully permitted land-based aquaculture facility.”

Initial plans for the Belfast plant suggested it could produce up to 33,000 tonnes of salmon annually.

Nordic Aquafarms also operates yellowtail fish farms in Norway and Denmark with a capacity of 3,000 tons, and is developing a yellowtail fish farm in Humboldt, California.

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