Recent happenings in the aquaculture industry
Updated November 2012

FOBHB continues to advocate for the bay by reviewing and commenting on aquaculture permits, wastewater discharge permits, and agency rule making. Check this page often for information about what is happening both locally and globally in finfish aquaculture.

NEW! Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Aquaculture
In June 2010 the ECSGA published its BMP manual, Best Management Practices for the East Coast Shellfish Aquaculture Industry. The BMP project was an industry priority for several years, and was led by the team of Gef Flimlin of Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Sandy Macfarlane of Coastal Resource Specialists, and Edwin Rhodes and Kathleen Rhodes of Aquatecnics LLC. The manual is the final product of 22 workshops with input from hundreds of stakeholders. The work was funded by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the Northeast Regional Aquaculture Center, and NOAA’s Office of Aquaculture.

NEW! New NB Rules on Sea Lice Proposed
New Brunswick is now talking about better sea lice reporting rules. Sea lice are a major issue in many parts of the North Atlantic, since as few as eight can kill an Atlantic salmon smolt.

Suspected outbreak of salmon virus at Nova Scotia fish farming operation
The Canadian Press February 19, 2012
HALIFAX – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is investigating after seafood company Cooke Aquaculture reported a possible virus outbreak at one of its fish farms in Nova Scotia……. read more

Nova Scotia Eastern Shore salmon farm proposal morally indefensible
CHRONICLE HERALD February 2nd, 2012
That fresh water systems in much of Nova Scotia have suffered devastating damage from acid rain is well known: We just don’t talk about it much anymore. Innumerable lakes have been ruined and 14 Atlantic Coast rivers have completely lost their Atlantic salmon, while 20 more have seen salmon runs reduced by up to 90 per cent……… read more

Royal Society of Canada Report on Biodiversity Cautions on Aquaculture
February 8th, 2012
The recently released conclusions of the Royal Society of Canada’s Expert Panel on the matter of “Sustaining Canada’s Marine Biodiversity: Responding to the Challenges Posed by Climate Change, Fisheries, and Aquaculture” have been released…. read more

NEW! Will Oyster Farms Spoil Maine’s Coast Line?
Time Video January 2012 

A lobsterman in Maine wants to create a sizeable Oyster farm on the coast. But his plan is meeting fierce opposition from neighbors…. …Watch video

Tests Reveal Mislabeling of Fish
New York Times May 26, 2011

According to a recent New York Times article, studies by researchers in North America and Europe have consistently found that 20 to 25 percent of the seafood products they check are fraudulently identified… read more

Approval of Salmon Lease in Nova Scotia Spurs Outrage
CBC Article June 2011
Despite much opposition, the Nova Scotia government has approved an industrial-sized salmon aquaculture project for Cooke Aquaculture in St. Mary’s Bay. The two farms will stock about 700,000 fish in 84 hectares. A petition signed by approximately 83% of the total population of the islands impacted and all of the lobster fishermen on the islands was submitted…. read more

Study Shows Impact of  Escaped Farmed Salmon.
Heredity (2011) 106, 500–510; published online 12 January 2011

In some wild Atlantic salmon populations, rapid declines in numbers of wild returning adults has been associated with an increase in the prevalence of farmed salmon. Studies of phenotypic variation have shown that interbreeding between farmed and wild salmon may lead to loss of local adaptation. Read more

Blue Frontiers : Managing the environmental costs of aquaculture
Stephen J. Hall, Anne Delaporte, Michael Phillips, Malcolm Beveridge and Mark O’Keefe June 2011

A new and comprehensive analysis released by WorldFish Center and Conservation International (CI) has investigated the environmental impact of the world’s major aquaculture production systems and species, and offers a first-ever global assessment of trends and impacts of cultivated seafood. Read more.

Are pesticides used in aquaculture pens threatening the long-term health of lobster?
Bangor Daily News Jan. 10, 2011
Can salmon be raised in pens off Maine’s coast without harming the $228 million lobster industry? Should the U.S. and Canada adopt similar restrictions on such pesticides? If the lobster …read more

Pesticide use, lobster deaths probed in Down East waters
By Bill Trotter
Bangor Daily News Jan. 07, 2011
Parasites, pesticides, sick salmon and dead lobsters. These four things have become an issue in Passamaquoddy Bay, and no one seems to be happy about it. Not the salmon aquaculture operators……. read more

Fundy Feedlots 
by Ted Williams
Atlantic Salmon Journal March 10th, 2011
Bay of Fundy salmon farms provide one valuable service for the aquaculture industry—a case study on how not to proceed. In cattle and hog feedlots, uneaten feed and feces are treated or at least contained; in salmon farms they just fall from the net pens, polluting water, destroying benthic ecosystems, spreading pathogens and parasites…….. read More

Can the U.S. Farm Fish Offshore Safely?
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) hopes to reduce that deficit by fostering the growth of aquaculture in U.S. waters. But in a draft policy released today, NOAA says it wants to balance the economic vitality of the industry with protecting the environment. To do so, it’s putting science at the top of its new priority list. Read More

Gulf of Maine Council Aquaculture Indicators Fact Sheet
It’s with great pleasure and excitement that the Gulf of Maine Council’s EcoSystem Indicator Partnership (ESIP) is releasing the first of seven indicator-specific  fact sheets.  Through the combined efforts of the aquaculture subcommittee, data providers, design team and ESIP Steering Committee theAquaculture Indicators Fact Sheet is now available through the ESIP homepage.

Acute and Chronic Toxicity of Two Formulations of the Pyrethroid Pesticide Deltamethrin to an Amphipod, Sand Shrimp and Lobster Larvae 
by W.L. Fairchild, et al. Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 2876
Pyrethroid insecticides are among the most toxic insecticides known, and marine crustaceans are generally more sensitive to pyrethroids than marine fish. Among the pyrethroid insecticides, deltamethrin is often the most toxic to crustaceans. Two formulated deltamethrin products are in use in Atlantic Canada. The agricultural formulation is called Decis which is applied to various crops and has potential to enter aquatic habitats via spray drift or runoff. The aquaculture formulation is called AlphaMax, which is applied directly to skirted salmon sea cages to kill sea lice, and is then subsequently released to the estuarine or coastal marine environment. Read More

New Brunswick Sea Lice Pesticide Treatment Generates Opposition
Working Waterfront, August 2009
A plan to kill sea lice on caged salmon with a powerful pesticide that will subsequently be flushed into several bays in southwest New Brunswick is generating concern among fishermen and environmentalists. Read More

Investigation of Benthic Conditions Under Mussel Raft Farms
By Jon Lewis and Marcy Nelson
DMR Aquaculture Environmental Section, 2008
After examining the sea floor under several operating mussel-raft farms, Maine Department of Marine Resource Staff questioned the potential nature and extent of environmental degradation caused by organic loading. This project was initiated to evaluate the extent of organic loading under mussel raft farms and the resulting response of the benthic infaunal community. Read More

FOBHB Responds to Scrag Island Discharge Permit
IN Febraury 2010, FOBHB submitted a letter to DEP oppoisng the discharge permit for the Scrag Island aquaculture site by Atlantic Salmon of Maine LLC becasue we are not confident they will comply with the terms and conditions of the permit. With 27 violations, Atlantic Salmon of Maine, was one of the top ten violators of the Clean Water Act in Maine between 2004 and 2007. Read the letter here

See related Letter to the Editor from FOBHB here

Pending Leases
This DMR page lists the pending finfish and shellfish aquaculture leases before the Department, and allows copies of complete applications to be downloaded as pdf files.

Recent DMR Aquaculture Rule Changes
Click here for DMR Rule-Making Webpage

Chapter 2.10(6) & 2.64(7)(C) Minimum Finfish Lease Site Separation – Repeal
“The minimum finfish lease site separation of 2,000 feet is proposed to be repealed, based on the Department’s determination that requirements for separation between sites may best be established taking into account the circumstances of the individual sites, existing fish health regulations in Chapter 24, the Bay Management Agreement of 2002 signed by all current finfish leaseholders, the advice of the Fish Health technical Committee and lease decision criteria that require consideration of the number,
density and proximity of other lease sites.”

The next step in the rulemaking process for proposed rules is for the DMR Advisory Council to take it up for their consideration and vote at their next meeting Feb 17.  The agenda materials are also available online at the following link: and again select to open the pdf file under the item labeled
Chapter 2.10.

MDEP Waste Discharge Permit Applications
A permit is required for the direct or indirect discharge of pollutants to waters of the State pursuant to Water Pollution Control38 M.R.S.A. § 413. The Department may issue a general permit authorizing the discharge of certain pollutants pursuant to 06-096 CMR 529. The similarity of discharges from
salmon aquaculture facilities has prompted the Department to issue this General Permit for those facilities located in Class SB or SC waters east of Naskeag Point in Brooklin, except those waters in the area north of a line from Schoodic Point in Winter Harbor to Baker Island in Cranberry Isles, then west to
Naskeag Point in Brooklin, Maine. Read more at the DEP General Permit website….

Recent Articles
CNN Health 
January 8, 2010
Is farm-raised salmon as healthy as wild?
“Nearly all salmon Americans eat are farm-raised — grown in dense-packed pens near ocean shores, fed fish meal that can be polluted with toxic PCB chemicals, awash in excrement flushed out to sea and infused with antibiotics to combat unsanitary conditions.”
Read More here

Baltimore Sun  
January 27, 2010 
Target goes wild for salmon
“Target has announced it’s stopped selling farmed salmon in its stores nationwide, and will carry only wild-caught Alaskan salmon from now on…. Many salmon farms produce pollution, the store’s statement pointed out. They often release chemicals, parasites and non-native farmed fish into the open water, where they can affect natural habitat and the native salmon in surrounding areas. ”
Read more here

National Geographic 
February 2010
Patagonia’s Peril
“Like nearly every form of concentrated animal agriculture, salmon aquaculture creates an excess of waste. Here salmon farms deaden the water, creating anoxic conditions, and have led to the spread of a lethal salmon virus called infectious salmon anemia.”
Read more….