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Fish farm opponents mark anniversary; Nordic exec fired over photo

By Kendra Caruso | Jan 13, 2020
Photo by: Fran Gonzalez Protestors rally on the corner of Main and High streets Jan. 9 to celebrate one year of weekly protests of Nordic Aquafarms' proposal for a land-based fish farm.

Belfast — Nordic Aquafarms opponents celebrated one year of weekly protests on what they refer to as Resistance Corner, the intersection of Main and High streets. It was the day after one of the last Planning Board public hearings on the company’s applications for a land-based fish farm.

Roughly 25 people held signs at the Jan. 9 event that ended with attendees dancing down High Street roughly a half-hour after it started.

Resident Joanne Moesswilde said she attended the event because she is concerned about the environmental impact of the project. She thinks it could increase the severity of human-induced climate change and pollution.

“There is no way Nordic Aquafarms can do any kind of conservation act that would undo the harm they will do to Belfast,” she said. “…. There was talk of donating money to a conservation project to purchase the 84 acres of the upper reservoir.. It will never make up for the terrible mess.”

The Fish Are Okay, a group of Nordic supporters, released a statement on Facebook that it respects the opposition’s right to protest, but wanted its supporters’ voices to be heard at the corner. The group placed its logo on several landmarks around the corner that night, but all had been taken down by the next morning.

“We went down there and posted up some of our postcards on that corner,” the group wrote. “Every single one of them was taken down by 10 AM this morning. They weren't up a full 12 hrs. So, I get it. Resistance Corner is only for certain messages. Those who have laid claim to it are the policing body who decide which messages are appropriate for it.”

As the rally was taking place, Maine Board of Environmental Protection was voting on testimony appeals and deciding the procedural order for public hearings on Nordic’s applications.

It upheld Presiding Officer Robert Duschesne’s decision to strike testimony given by Upstream Watch consultant Mike Lannan about noise issues. BEP does not consider construction noise that takes place during the day when evaluating permit applications.

Attorney Kim Ervin Tucker, who represents the Maine Lobstering Union and two project intervenors, asked BEP to reconsider right, title and interest and to request a property survey Nordic conducted on Janet and Richard Eckrote's property. BEP said it would consider the request.

Public testimony of preapproved topics will occur from Feb. 11 to Feb. 13 in the evening after Nordic and intervenors have a chance to present their information during the day starting at 9 a.m.

Earlier in the week Nordic let go Shawn Harriman, who was senior vice president of the company's Humboldt County site in northern California, after a photo of him posing with a dead lion was sent to Humboldt County news outlet Lost Coast Outpost.

The photo shows a lion lying on the ground with a bullet hole in its head while Harriman, holding a shotgun, and another man pose over the animal.

Harriman told Lost Coast Outpost that the lion had charged him and he was forced to kill it while he was in Africa visiting family 15 years ago.

“What I did 15 years ago is not necessarily what I do today,” he said in an article on the news outlet. “It’s a different life in Africa.”

He told the publication that the photo was never supposed to be released. Nordic spokesperson Marianne Naess shared Harriman’s sentiments, saying that it was unfortunate the company had to let him go.

Naess said the difficult decision was based on the company’s core values and that trophy hunting is not something it supports. She said the photo precludes any possibility for Harriman to work with the company.

“We are not against hunting,” she said. “This situation created a lot of turmoil and made it impossible for him to be the company face in Humboldt County.”

But she said she still regards Harriman as being a competent and experienced project director.

Ed. note: This story has been updated to correct a misquote that resulted from a reporting error..

(Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
(Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
(Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
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Comments (1)
Posted by: Ralph Stanley | Jan 17, 2020 17:42

No doubt Nordic's now dismissed CEO felt threatened by a lion moving in his direction. No indication of the lions rate of speed. Would seem that these characters who participate in these animal executions have to portray themselves as a potential victim of a wild animal although they hold a weapon and therefore the advantage. Animal was most likely provoked to heighten his adrenaline and subsequent satisfaction. Interesting that the article mentions Ms. Naess as regretting his departure due to the release of this photo. In this day and age. are we to believe that an individual would suggest that a damaging photo of himself should not have been available. Nordic at its best. Good luck to us all with these people.

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