Belfast Hosts Aquaculture Summit as Debate Rages Over Proposed Salmon Farm

BELFAST, Maine — As local officials deliberate on plans for a controversial land-based salmon farm, about 250 aquaculture farmers, researchers, students and others convened at the University of Maine’s Hutchinson Center on Friday to explore the possibilities of the growing industry.

Currently, more than 90 percent of the seafood consumed in the United States is imported — so there’s a lot of opportunity for domestic growth in the market, said Sebastian Belle, executive director of the Maine Aquaculture Association.

Right now, Mainers are commercially raising species as diverse as eels, sea vegetables, salmon, finfish, oysters, trout, scallops and mussels — and all on less than 1,500 acres of total aquaculture leases.

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