A worrisome future

Dear Editor:

On March 16, I watched American Aquafarms present to the Bar Harbor Town Council its proposal for salmon farming in Frenchman Bay. Rather than convincing me to support the project, the company’s explanations conjured up a worrisome future.

It’s a lovely day for sailing, and I’m tacking south from Sorrento Harbor toward Bald Rock. The ledge usually stands out against Mount Desert Island, but today all I see are bright-colored buoys, a large boat, what looks like buildings floating on water and a field of structures sitting low on the bay. I brace the tiller and peer through binoculars. There’s a man, looks like he’s walking on water between the structures.

I’d really like to reach Green Can No. 9, which marks the turning point for this annual summer pilgrimage. I’m close enough to catch the man’s attention but he’s ignoring me, so I sail alongside the farm, passing a half-dozen round structures without getting to the end. The wind carries the low hum of machinery. Buoys continue on and who knows how far I’d sail before reaching clear water.

The afternoon is late and soon the sea breeze will die. I have an outboard but hate to use it, so reluctantly I point my bow homeward toward Dram Island. I know what this is; I just didn’t realize the extent of its impact or thought it would be a visual eyesore and not an actual obstruction. This is the closed-pen fish farm where the aquaculture company with an American name but Norwegian owner proposed to grow salmon. I like to eat salmon. But as far as I know Frenchman Bay has no native salmon population. It has plenty of other local fisheries and hopefully always will have. It’s also one of the most beautiful places on earth. Iconic Acadia National Park overlooking the bay is called “One of the nation’s most beloved parks” by National Geographic and is among the top 10 most visited national parks with over 3.5 million visits per year.

And it has people like me, who love to sail. We are all stakeholders.

Ann Hoffner


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