A project of Maine salmon farm’s scale calls for great scrutiny
Re “Company responds over its planned Maine salmon farm” (Letters, Dec. 13): We appreciate Nordic Aquafarms’ response to The Boston Globe article on the benefits, costs, and open issues surrounding the possible construction of an industrial-scale commercial salmon farm in Belfast, Maine (“In Maine, progress has a catch,” Page A1, Dec. 7).
However, we take issue with the company’s statement that the “volume of waste water discharge is irrelevant.” Both the volume and the content are important. The estimated 7.7 million gallons of daily discharge would make the Nordic Aquafarms project the largest discharge in our portion of the Penobscot Bay.
The impact of the effluent on marine life cannot be evaluated or properly regulated by merely setting limits on the total suspended solids and the biological oxygen demand of the discharge. Maine’s regulators know that nitrogen and phosphorous can also degrade the bay’s water quality. That is why these two elements are also included in the proposed limits. More due diligence is still needed.
Nordic needs to focus on the impacts of the many known and unknown substances that are likely to be discharged from such a complex operation. A project of this magnitude must be regulated and monitored with great care. That is what we are asking from Nordic Aquafarms and Maine’s environmental protection agencies.
Nordic’s plans for Belfast and competitor Whole Oceans’ plans for Bucksport are unprecedented and require great scrutiny.