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Nordic Aquafarms gives a peek at proposed salmon farm

Newsletter includes artist's rendering ahead of May 9 information meeting
By Ethan Andrews | Apr 30, 2018
Source: Nordic Aquafarms An artist's rendering of the proposed Nordic Aquafarms facility in Belfast distributed in the company's most recent newsletter.

Nordic Aquafarms this week teased a single image of the $150 million land-based Atlantic salmon farm it hopes to build in Belfast. The company also gave an update on its due diligence on the proposed site.

The fish farm would be built on 40 acres beside Little River. A pending sale of the property, currently owned by Belfast Water District and private landowner Sam Cassida, is on hold while Nordic Aquafarms tests the land for freshwater and environmental conditions.

Nordic Aquafarms announced its plans to great fanfare in January, but has since faced criticism from residents worried about the impact of the facility on local freshwater supplies, increased traffic, pollution, the clearing of an undeveloped 40-acre parcel, and the potential loss of the picturesque Route 1 view of Little River Dam and the old Belfast Water District pump house.

Erik Heim, CEO of the Norwegian aquaculture company, said in the April newsletter that the pump house and dam will probably stay, for practical reasons — the dam supports a reservoir that feeds the fresh groundwater supply at the site, and the pump house is being considered as the site of a visitor center — and because of the waterworks' historical value in the community.

"We have also concluded that our branding of a Belfast Atlantic salmon product may benefit greatly from building upon this heritage," the newsletter states. "When branding and labeling a product, it is important to be able tell a story, and we propose to the community that our salmon story and labeling should build upon these local landmarks."

The newsletter also included an artist's rendering of one section of the fish farm.

The image shows a sparse grove of trees dotted with large stones in front of a white building with a slanted roof and vertical mirrored windows. A person stands next to the building and one of the trees in the foreground has a birdhouse. Heim describes the style in the newsletter as a "low-impact facade," the design of which is undergoing a final assessment.

Complete renderings of the site and the facility will be presented at a public information meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 9, at the University of Maine Hutchinson Center.

Heim also included an update on the company's due diligence work on the property. Based on test wells, the company believes it can draw up to 1,200 gallons of freshwater per minute from future production wells on the site.

The preliminary research has also been to gather data that will be used to determine the environmental impact of the aquaculture facility for federal, state and local permits, Heim said.

The company has taken some heat from critics who want more details, but Heim said the company needed to "obtain facts before we could go public with details."

Heim pointed to Nordic Aquafarms' smaller projects as stepping stones. The company has been in "phase 1 salmon production" for more than two years and yellowtail kingfish production for five years.

"While land-based production is still a maturing industry, Nordic Aquafarms has come a long way in understanding these projects, having acquired significant experience and know-how through staff and projects, and is now able to substantially reduce the level of risk in them," he said. "The project in Belfast (and its scale) represents the next logical and natural step in Nordic Aquafarms’ development."

The full image from the Nordic Aquafarms newsletter showing how the facade of the Belfast salmon farm might look. (Source: Nordic Aquafarms)
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Comments (1)
Posted by: Kenneth W Hall | Apr 30, 2018 16:39

Can someone clarify the water usage and supplies for me.  The Belfast water district gets increased revenue from the water Nordic Aqua Farms is "buying" from them to increase capital spending projects.  Is this right?

Nordic Aqua Farms own land wells will produce 630,720,000 gallons from it's own site without purchasing anything from Belfast Water District.  "OR" Does Belfast Water District have the right or the ability to charge Nordic Aqua Farms for the water Nordic extracts from the ground?


Does this mean Aqua Farms is purchasing water AND using 630,720,000 gallons per year?   Or does this mean Nordic Aqua Farms isn't going to need to buy any water.    The City of Belfast agreed to pay to clarify the water for a limited amount of years according to the agreement?  Clarify "private" wells?

I can't believe this so please help me understand.  My math HAS to be wrong somewhere.

1200 gallons per minute X 60 minutes per hour= 72,000 gallons per hour

72,000 gallons per hour X 24 hour in a day= 1,728,000 gallons per day

1,728,000 gallons per day X 365 days in a year = 630,720,000 gallons per year


The water district and the City of Belfast approve of 630,720,000 gallons per year drained from a private water source.  I was under the impression the City Council was into saving saving natural resources ie; plastic bag bans etc.   That seems like an incredible amount of water to drain from the area's aqua-duct from a private property where the City of Belfast would have no control of how much water a private land owner uses.

Again help my math please????

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