Ongoing failure to prove adequate financing is one in a long line of concerns for proposed salmon factory that threatens Midcoast Maine’s iconic Penobscot Bay ecosystem and fishing economy
BELFAST, ME – 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 50+-acre salmon factory in Belfast, ME. The report is the latest in a long line of concerns regarding the proposed factory, which many experts warn will result in significant harm and damage to the local environment and economy.
Nordic Aquaculture stated at their February 2020 BEP hearing that cash flow from their operations in Europe would be used to meet building costs, and former CEO Eric Heim testified that Nordic has, “cash flow in Denmark already and cash flow starts this spring in Norway.”
In speaking about the financial difficulties facing salmon factories to Salmon Business, Nordic Aquafarms’ CEO Bernt-Olav Røttingsnes recently admitted that, “I think it is fair to say the banks still think it is too early to lend to land-based fish farming.”
Upstream Watch, a non-profit organization that has spent several years researching the proposed factory in Maine, voiced their concern over this latest development. “Nordic’s permits require they show evidence of financial capacity before starting construction. This report confirms Nordic does not have the money they were counting on from their factories in Europe,” said Amy Grant, president and founder of Upstream Watch. “Furthermore, the permit requires Nordic have actual commitments from banks and cash on hand, not simply cash flow. Nordic has yet to provide proof of these commitments.”
Nordic Aquafarms has at least 25 permit conditions to meet. Many of the conditions must be met before construction can begin. “These conditions exist in large part because Nordic was not required by the DEP to meet permit requirements,” explained Grant.
On top of the serious questions raised about Nordic’s finances, operations at their Fredrikstad subsidiary, a salmon factory that Nordic has pointed to as a model for their Maine facility, has suffered significant losses.
“This was their model for their Maine operations, and that model experienced such significant losses that they completely gave up raising salmon in Fredrikstad,” said Grant.
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. Grant reported that Nordic will use as much energy as Belfast, Northport, Lincolnville, Camden, Rockport and Rockland combined. CMP’s Line 80 will have to be rebuilt for a minimum of $63 million and the “urgent need" is exclusively to supply Nordic’s power.
“The rate payers will be picking up the tab,” said Grant.
“The Gulf of Maine is warming faster than 90 percent of all other bodies of water on the globe,” said Grant. “And yet, Nordic has exceeded the anti-degradation limits on nitrogen levels required by the Maine DEP.”
Senator George Mitchell Center for Sustainability at the University of Maine recently created a new model on harmful algal blooms along the coast. The coastline of Belfast Bay is shown in red as a “vulnerable area.”
She added, “This is a risk we simply can’t afford at this point in the climate crisis.”
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. Our 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