HANCOCK — Several groups in Hancock County are concerned over proposals to build salmon farms in Frenchman Bay.
Frenchman Bay, which connects the northeastern shoreline of Mount Desert Island and the southern coast of Maine, is an economic driver for local fishermen.
However, some fear that may change.
Zach Piper, a local lobster fisherman, said the proposal could cause a lot of problems.
“There are six towns roughly that all have fisherman that fish in those two areas they are proposing to put that two fish pens in,” Piper said.
According to Jeri Bowers, a spokesperson for Friends of Eastern Bay, the Maine Department of Marine Resources is considering allowing a Norwegian-based company, American Aqua Farms, to build in Frenchman Bay.
“They are proposing to establish salmon aquaculture operations in the bay,” said Bowers.
Bowers said their plan is to put two 50-acre lease sites into the bay.
“Our major concern is really the scale of these operations,” said Bowers. “I think after having had the opportunity to review the applications we are more concerned than ever.”
She said the waste will have a negative impact on the environment.
“According to the application, the company anticipates producing four billion gallons of sewage a day,” said Bowers.
Piper said this will require an additional, 150-foot boat needed to tend to the pens.
“With a lot of boat traffic like that, they will either drag traps into balls so we will have to get them all out or the propellers will cut our ropes and we will lose the traps altogether,” Piper said.
In a statement, the Department of Marine Resources communications director said the department’s decisions are based on criteria established in law.