Maine court denies appeal of Kingfish Maine’s RAS farm site permits

Published on
August 30, 2023

The Kingfish Company’s effort to build a recirculating aquaculture system farm to grow yellowtail kingfish in the U.S. state of Maine got a boost 29 August with the dismissal of an appeal of the approval of one its permits.

The appeal from the Roque Island Gardner Homestead Corporation and Eastern Maine Conservation Initiative sought to overturn the Maine Board of Environmental Protection’s granting of a Site Location of Development Act (SLODA) and Natural Resources Protection Act (NRPA) joint permit, which was issued in 2021 and finalized after an appeal in 2022.

In their appeal, the groups raised issues with what it claimed was the BEP’s “failure to independently assess the project’s impact on wildlife under NRPA” by not independently assessing the project’s effluent discharges.

The court found the Maine Board of Environmental Protection did not violate any law in its permitting process.

“The opposition from Roque Island continues to be unsuccessful in its appeals of the Kingfish Maine project. This latest appeal denial is a clear victory for Kingfish Maine and more importantly the residents of Jonesport,” Kingfish Maine Operations Manager Megan Sorby said. “Kingfish Maine will bring economic development to the Downeast region and that cannot be controlled by Roque Island. We are excited to celebrate this Superior Court victory with the community of Jonesport.”

Despite numerous previous efforts to derail its project, Kingfish Maine’s planned facility remains fully permitted project, according to Kingfish Company CEO Vincent Erenst.

The Kingfish Company first proposed its plan to build a land-based farm in Jonesport, Maine, in 2019. Once it is fully operational, Kingfish Maine expects the farm to produce 8,500 metric tons of yellowtail annually.

“We remain focused on the advancement of Kingfish Maine facility,” Erenst said. “This ruling by the Superior Court underscores the continued work of our Maine-based team to the success of this project and Kingfish’s commitment to the Jonesport community which has supported our project from its introduction.”

In May 2023, Kingfish Maine celebrated its first harvest of U.S.-grown yellowtail kingfish, raised at the Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research. The company has the backing of several prominent Maine politicians, including U.S. Senator Angus King, who visited the company’s research facility in July 2023.

However, The Kingfish Company still faces the hurdle of raising the funds necessary to build the farm, with inflation and rising borrowing costs leading to a price tag far above what the company initially budgeted.

Photo courtesy of Kingfish Maine

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