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Belfast board ordered to reconsider challenge to commercial fish farm

Maine's highest court is ordering Belfast's zoning board to reconsider an appeal from a group that's challenging a proposed commercial fish farm.

In December 2020, the group Upstream Watch appealed the Belfast planning board's issuance of several permits to Nordic Aquafarms for an estimated $500 million salmon facility. But on Thursday, Maine's Supreme Judicial Court said that a lower court erred when it upheld the Belfast Board of Zoning Appeals decision that Upstream Watch lacked standing. So the court is directing the board to re-consider that appeal.

The law court also recently ruled that Nordic lacks right, title and interest to a key piece of property needed for the project. And Upstream Watch president Amy Grants says that should be a major factor in the appeal.

"It's hard to imagine that they will say, 'Yeah, we would have issued the permits.' Assuming they do or if they do, we will be right back in court again. So unfortunately we're not done and we're in it until we are done," Grants says.

The Nordic project is one of several proposed fish aquaculture facilities currently stalled in Maine.