American Aquafarms proposes placing salmon pens right off Long Porcupine Island and the Hop, one of the most unique and pristine areas of Frenchman Bay. This will be an industrial scale project with permanently floating cages protruding 4 feet above the water with metal storage buildings on several of them.
I write to ask what is Frenchman Bay worth to you? When no one actually owns the waters of Frenchman Bay, how do we decide what can and can’t be done there? It is a big responsibility to place on the Maine Department of Marine Resources. Is there a way we can weigh the value of aesthetics when most decisions like this are made only on the basis of jobs and economic development? I realize we will be making choices like this every time a new developer comes forward. American Aquafarms claims its “eco-pens” are environmentally safe, but I believe this project is definitely too far out of scale for this part of Frenchman Bay.
All the folks with a stake in preserving our bay need to weigh in on this project. I urge the folks at Frenchman Bay Conservancy, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, Acadia National Park and Frenchman Bay Partners to join in this effort. If this project is permitted to proceed, we will never be able to recover this special part of our world.
For me it is the foundation for all that we love in this part of Maine. As you travel from Gouldsboro to Ellsworth, you are blessed with one of the most memorable views of the entire Maine coast. You see the nearby islands off Sorrento and then farther out Stave Island, the Porcupine Islands, and beyond them, Ironbound Island, protecting the bay from the ocean storms. Framing all this wonder is Cadillac Mountain and the other hills of Mount Desert Island.
On a calm day the water is a glass mirror reflecting these islands; on a windy day in summer it is dotted with the sails of boaters from all the harbors that surround the bay. In the evening golden sunsets give us all a warm glow to end our day.
For the more adventurous folks who like to explore in their sailboat, fishing boat, kayak or even rowboat, this bay gives some of the finest experiences to be found anywhere. Let us give it the best care we can.