In Down East Maine, Frenchman Bay lies between the northeastern shoreline of Mount Desert Island and extends along the western shoreline of the Schoodic Peninsula. Bordered on both sides by Acadia National Park, dotted with islands, Frenchman Bay is the center of life in this region. It is home to eagles, seals, and seabirds and supports lobster fishing, scallop harvesting, tourism, recreation, and other small-scale aquaculture. Like many special places in Maine, Frenchman Bay is both a source of beauty and provides many ways to make a living for its local residents.

“Voices of Frenchman Bay, Part One” features Graham Platner, owner-operator of Frenchman Bay Oyster Company, and Aaron Dority, Executive Director of Frenchman Bay Conservancy. This video was directed by Chek Wingo, and written and produced by Kelsey Buckley and Chek Wingo.

As of April 2022, American Aquafarms’ permit application has been terminated, but that doesn’t mean the fight is over. Even if this is the end of the American Aquafarms project, it is reasonable to expect other large-scale and ill-advised development projects will be proposed for Frenchman Bay and the surrounding region in the coming years. You can still take action on this issue by contacting Governor Janet Mills.

Governor Janet Mills
1 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333

Suggested script:
“Hello, my name is [Name]. I am a resident of [Town of Residency]. I am calling/writing to ask Governor Janet Mills to oppose future projects such as the one proposed by American Aquafarms in Frenchman Bay. Large-scale aquaculture development applications should be denied due to environmental concerns, the potential impact on local fisheries and aquaculture, and impact to conserved lands. Thank you for your time and consideration of my request.”

Letter of Opposition

In a letter to Governor Janet Mills, dated November 18, 2021, Frenchman Bay Conservancy (FBC) and 22 undersigned organizations and area businesses opposed the industrial scale salmon farm proposed by American Aquafarms (AA) and requested the applications for the project be denied.

“On May 17, 2021, FBC requested that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) conduct an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act on the AA project before any final decision is rendered on that application. Regulatory review of the AA application has not progressed yet to the federal level and the USACE EIS decision is pending. Subsequently, based on careful review of available information we conclude the project poses an unacceptable risk of deterioration to unimpaired ecosystems, water resources, wildlife habitat and landscapes in and around Frenchman Bay. For these reasons, the AA application should be denied. We hope you will join us in protecting Frenchman Bay by opposing the application.”

Read the Full Letter

The following 22 organizations and individuals signed this letter. 

Land Trusts & Conservation Organizations Representatives of Other Regional Institutions
Crabtree Neck Land Trust Darron Collins, Ph.D., President, College of the Atlantic
Downeast Salmon Federation Jane Disney, Ph.D. Senior Staff Scientist & Director, MDI Biological Laboratory
Friends of Acadia
Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries
Doug Welch, Executive Director, Maine Island Trail Association Frenchman Bay Regional Citizens Groups
National Parks Conservation Association Henry Sharpe, President, Frenchman Bay United
Natural Resources Council of Maine Jeri Bowers, Friends of Eastern Bay
OCEANA Friends of Frenchman Bay
Sierra Club (Maine Chapter) Jackie Weaver, Friends of Schoodic Peninsula
William O’Meara, President, Hancock Pt. Village Improvement Society
Place-based Frenchman Bay Businesses
Zach Piper, Owner & Operator, F/V Overtime
Tyler Piper, Owner & Operator, F/V Overkill
Graham Platner, Owner & Operator, Frenchman Bay Oyster Company
Sarah Redmond, Founder, Springtide Seaweed, LLC
Shep & Seraphina Erhart, Maine Coast Sea Vegetables

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