CBF Welcomes Aquacon’s Decision to Withdraw Discharge Permit Request for Salmon Factory

Today, the Norwegian company AquaCon announced it is withdrawing its request for a discharge permit for a proposed fish factory in Federalsburg, Maryland.

Throughout the permit review process, Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), other environmental organizations, concerned scientists, and community members warned Maryland Department of the Environment that the proposed salmon aquaculture facility and the draft discharge permit issued by the agency pose significant risks to Marshyhope Creek and its small population of endangered Atlantic sturgeon.  

CBF is pleased AquaCon chose to withdraw its permit request rather than continue to pursue construction in the unsuitable Federalsburg location. The permit withdrawal is significant because MDE in its draft permit failed to adequately address potential impacts to endangered Atlantic sturgeon and fully evaluate the effects of the proposed facility’s massive 2.3 million gallon per day wastewater discharge into tiny Marshyhope Creek. The discharge, by AquaCon’s estimate, would increase the river’s flow by up to 15 percent.

CBF supports aquaculture to reduce stress on wild fish stocks and their habitat. However, CBF will continue to evaluate each aquaculture proposal on a case-by-case basis to ensure it adheres to pollution limits in local waterways and does not threaten the health of the Chesapeake Bay.

In response to AquaCon’s decision, CBF Eastern Shore Director Alan Girard issued the following statement:

“We’re pleased AquaCon withdrew its discharge permit application. However, it shouldn’t have gotten this far. We urge MDE to more closely vet such significant—and in this case, deficient—proposals before bringing up a permit for public review.

“It took a united effort by environmental organizations, concerned scientists, and community residents to ensure Marshyhope Creek and its small population of endangered Atlantic sturgeon were protected from AquaCon's half-baked Federalsburg fish factory proposal.  

“Throughout the public discharge permit review process, details about the company’s proposed salmon factory changed, including the size of the facility, what types of operations would take place inside it, and from where it would withdraw the massive amounts of water it needed to operate. Those changing details led CBF and others to question how MDE could have adequately drafted the proposed discharge permit in the first place.

“As AquaCon assesses other potential Maryland locations for a future facility, we ask MDE to rigorously evaluate potential wildlife, environmental, and community concerns before the public review process.”

aj metcalf 90x110

A.J. Metcalf

Former Maryland Media & Communications Coordinator, CBF

Support the Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Your donation helps the Chesapeake Bay Foundation maintain our momentum toward a restored Bay, rivers, and streams for today and generations to come.

Donate Today

Save the Bay

Founded in 1967, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) is the largest independent conservation organization dedicated solely to saving the Bay.

Save the Bay
This website uses cookies to tailor and enhance your online experience. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more information, including details on how to disable cookies, please visit our Privacy Policy. Close