Nordic Aquafarms will host an expert panel discussion at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 12, at the University of Maine Hutchinson Center. The event, entitled Land-based Aquaculture and the Future of Maine’s Sustainable Seafood Industry, will be moderated by Des FitzGerald, the founder of Ducktrap River of Maine and former board chairman of the Natural Resources Council of Maine. The panelists will be:

Matt Jacobson, executive director of the Maine Lobster Marketing Cooperative, which promotes demand for Maine lobster in U.S. markets and internationally and is funded by Maine lobster harvesters, dealers and processors.

Anne Hayden, a program manager in the Sustainable Economies Program at Manomet, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to apply science and engage people to sustain our world.

Paul Anderson, executive director of the Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries, a nonprofit organization that works to secure a diversified fishing future for the communities of Eastern Maine and beyond.

Jason Collins, technical manager for FishVet Group, which supports aquaculture producers around the world through veterinary consultancy and diagnostic technologies.

Sarah Cook, sales manager for Skretting, the world leader in the manufacture and supply of aquaculture feeds.

Nordic Aquafarms CEO Erik Heim will give a brief introduction. Panel members will give their perspective on the Maine seafood sector, land-based farming, sustainability and economic development opportunity for Maine. They also will take questions from the audience.

In January, Nordic Aquafarms announced plans for land-based salmon farm in Belfast, Maine, to be built in several phases. Phase 1, with a capacity of some 13,000 tons, is currently being designed in Norway. Construction is expected to start in 2019, with operations commencing in 2020. The facility will provide Atlantic salmon to regional markets in the Northeast United States.

Land-based production is a rapidly emerging method for producing salmon. It is based on indoor production in large tanks and water treatment systems. Proponents say land-based aquaculture gives the ability to recycle and treat water on site to reduce overall water consumption, allows waste products to be recycled, prevents sea lice and parasites, and prevents farmed fish from escaping into the sea and co-mingling with wild species.

Nordic Aquafarms says new facility will have the added benefit of being closer to markets, which will reduce the carbon footprint of air and land transportation.

Opponents of the project have criticized the plan to use undeveloped forest land for the new facility and have raised concerns about the amount of fresh water the facility plans to use and potential adverse effects of discharging treated wastewater into Penobscot Bay.