Your Dec. 16 lead editorial, “Our View: Aquaculture wrong target for protests,” misses the mark.

We who oppose the construction of a massive industrial fish farm in Belfast didn’t file suit to kill the project by delay — we filed suit because the Belfast City Council illegally changed our long-standing zoning laws to accommodate the highly destructive Nordic Aquafarms industrial fish farm project.

The editorial poses a false choice between one polluting industry, land-based industrial aquaculture, and other polluting industries such as poultry. But there are alternatives. The Green Wave kelp-based aquaculture model actually renews our beleaguered oceans and provides far more jobs per dollar invested.

Industrial fish production is not the most efficient or sustainable way to feed a hungry and growing human population, not even close. Kelp, shellfish, actively supported wild-fish harvesting and organic plant-based protein such as soy are all much more efficient and sustainable.

Industrial fish production has an extensive carbon footprint. Its effluent discharge creates algae blooms and large dead zones in our seas.

It requires the importation from Asia and South America of large quantities of forage fish, which decimates fish populations in those areas, and it requires the importation of pesticide-laced soy from industrial soy farms that are destroying the Amazon.

The editorial touts jobs and financial benefit, but here in Belfast, Nordic Aquafarms has made at least 30 hires, none of whom was living in Belfast when hired. Any tax benefits will be minimized by a veritable smorgasbord of tax-incentive programs and giveaways and a reduction in state education aid.

And profits from the project will flow out of our community and into the coffers of a foreign corporation.

All told, this big industrial model is the wrong way forward for our community.

Lawrence Reichard is a resident of Belfast.


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