BAR HARBOR — The visual impact of the proposed 120-acre salmon farm in Frenchman Bay would be significant, but that is just one reason the state should deny American Aquafarms’ application to build it, David MacDonald, president and CEO of Friends of Acadia (FOA), said at a virtual forum on the proposal in January.
“The park’s values that would be affected are so much more than the scenic views from Cadillac Mountain,” he said. “I know that’s a convenient example that people hold up…But the air quality, the water quality, the night sky, the wildlife, the soundscapes – all that would be so seriously impacted – and are every bit as important as that view from Cadillac Mountain.”
MacDonald said FOA works closely with park officials to preserve the quality of the visitor experience.
“There is no single Acadia experience; people experience the park in a variety of ways,” he said. “And Frenchman Bay is a big part of that. Folks who are out kayaking, who may be on a windjammer or a nature cruise, or they might be hiking out to Bar Island – thousands and thousands of people have their Acadia moment in Frenchman Bay.”
He said the proposed salmon farm “would significantly impact the way that people see Acadia, experience it, smell it and hear it.”
Acadia Management Assistant John Kelly said the park is “very concerned because of the type, the scale and the location of this [proposed] development.”
He said park officials also are concerned about the precedent it would set.
“And if this is approved, it opens the door for expansion…It could grow.”
Kelly said the National Park Service does not have the authority to control anything outside of Acadia’s boundaries. But he said the park’s management policies stipulate that the park is to use “all available tools to protect park resources and values from unacceptable impacts.”
Kelly said those policies encourage the park “to seek to avoid and mitigate potential adverse effects…by actively participating in the regulatory processes of federal, state and local governments having jurisdiction over the property affecting the park.”
He said park official have expressed their concerns to the Maine departments of marine resources and environmental protection.
Also speaking against the proposed salmon farm was Lauren Cosgrove, senior program manager for the Northeast region of the National Parks Conservation Association.
She noted that the salmon farm would use diesel power, which is highly polluting, and could threaten the area’s excellent air quality rating.
The online forum was organized by Frenchman Bay United, a coalition of groups and individuals who have come together to oppose American Aquafarms’ application to develop a salmon farm in the bay.