To the Editor: Not appropriate for our community 



To the Editor:  

The Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce represents nearly 400 businesses in Bar Harbor and its surrounding areas. The majority of our member businesses are in the hospitality industry and rely on visitors to our area to support their livelihoods. For this reason, and more, the Chamber opposes the draft aquaculture lease applications submitted by American Aquafarms Inc. 

It is unusual for a Chamber of Commerce to oppose a project that promises to bring jobs and business activity to its region, but the proposed industrial salmon farms threaten the brand we have cultivated to attract and retain visitors. Those visitors have been coming to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park for more than 100 years to enjoy the pristine views of Frenchman Bay from the rugged coastline of Mount Desert Island. American Aquafarms’ proposed aquaculture leases would detract from the scenic beauty of our area and imperil the existing tourism economy that provides jobs to more than 4,300 people and generates thousands of tax dollars for the state of Maine. 

The industrial scope of the proposed salmon farms is far too large for our harbor. Visually, the oversized salmon farms would blight the views from Acadia National Park’s peaks, motor roads and carriage roads, as well as from the decks of boats carrying sightseers.  

The Chamber also stands with our local fishermen and women who are a vital component of our business community. They have expressed concerns about the salmon farms cluttering the bay and impacting its resources. The potential for water pollution from discharge systems, feed, and waste could jeopardize Frenchman Bay and its wildlife. The ship traffic servicing the salmon farms may also result in additional loss of fishing gear.  

Our communities, both here in Bar Harbor and in our fellow towns around Frenchman Bay, have voiced their concerns about this project as well. Industrial-sized salmon farms are not appropriate for our region. 

Maine’s nickname “Vacationland” makes clear that tourism is of the utmost importance to our way of life. And while I can appreciate leaders in Augusta looking for ways to diversify our economy with aquaculture projects, this proposal from American Aquafarms simply does not fit in one of Vacationland’s most visited places.  

 

Alf Anderson 

Executive Director 

Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce 

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