The Christian Science Monitor

Aquaculture wars: The perils and promise of Big Fish

Elinor Daniels loves the view from her backyard. Patches of stubborn snow dot a field ringed by pine trees. But in the next few years, this quintessential Maine landscape could be replaced by a 54-acre salmon farm.

Ms. Daniels and her wife have spent the past year fighting Nordic Aquafarms, a Norwegian company that aims to site one of the world’s largest land-based salmon farms in Belfast, Maine. The couple has led dozens of neighbors in a small-town battle that could have international consequences.

In the eyes of proponents, aquaculture, as the farming of fish and other water-based species is known, has a real promise to feed the world’s growing population amid depleting fisheries. To supporters of the Nordic project, the proposed Belfast farm is a model for what high-tech, environmentally savvy aquafarming can offer. But to Ms. Daniels and many of her neighbors, the kind of scale being proposed – 66 million pounds of salmon annually – reeks of big agriculture

A ‘living laboratory’Trade-offsLocal concerns

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