Upstream Watch Establishes Legal Standing to Protect Little River and Penobscot Bay
from Harmful Aquaculture Corporation
BELFAST, ME – The Little River and Penobscot Bay are under threat from a foreign corporation with plans to turn 50-acres of woodlands into an industrial salmon factory, but one local organization has stepped up to protect Midcoast Maine from the potentially devastating impacts to the area’s ecosystem and economy.
Upstream Watch, a non-profit organization that has spent several years researching the proposed factory by Nordic Aquafarms, reaffirmed their legal standing on December 14, 2022, when they briefed the Maine Law Court on the unlawful acts of the City of Belfast Appeals Board. The Belfast Board had previously refused to consider Upstream Watch’s appeal of the Planning Board’s approval of permits for the Nordic Aquafarms projects, despite the Planning Board determining that Upstream Watch had standing as an interested party in a 5-0 vote on August 5, 2019.
“Upstream Watch participated in 22 meetings before the Planning Board,” said Upstream attorney Dave Perkins of Curtis Thaxter, who noted the organization’s driving purpose is to protect the Little River and Penobscot Bay. “Upstream members’ own homes are proximate to the Nordic project and would be negatively impacted, and the walking trails at the Belfast Water District/Nordic site used by Upstream Watch’s members will be impaired. There is no question that Upstream Watch has standing to be heard by the Appeals Board.”
Upstream Watch, which is comprised of a diverse group of small business owners, educators, scientists, farmers, artists, historians, civil servants and citizen activists, has produced a large library of research on the proposed Nordic site, with findings that are troubling for Midcoast Maine’s environment and economy.
Research conducted by Upstream Watch noted that Nordic Aquafarms’ enormous carbon footprint is not being properly evaluated; its proposed filtration system is ill-equipped to protect the bay; mercury contaminated sediment threaten the ecosystem, lobstering and crab harvesting; and impacts on marine ecosystems and endangered species may be devastating. Additionally, Nordic Aquaculture’s latest financial report reveals the company’s European operations are losing millions of dollars annually, raising serious questions about their ability to meet permitting requirements before they begin construction on a planned factory in Belfast.
About Upstream Watch: Upstream Watch is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization made up of small business owners, educators, scientists, farmers, artists, historians, civil servants and citizen activists. Their mission is to advocate for the health of Midcoast Maine's rivers and watersheds through science, education, advocacy and public action, and to help create a vibrant, diverse and sustainable local economy. Healthy fresh and saltwater ecosystems are an indispensable part of this goal.