A Nordic Aquafarms Permitting Primer

October 23, 2018

The Nordic Aquafarms salmon farm in the City of Belfast will go through a comprehensive permitting process prior to commencing operations. Permits and approvals will be obtained from all levels of government – from the local planning board to state and federal agencies.  The purpose of the permits is to ensure that the project complies with zoning and land use requirements and regulations designed to protect the environment as well as public health and safety. The permitting process will be comprehensive, requiring our adherence to strict rules and regulations.



Municipal Permits

Municipal Approvals, City of Belfast

We will be submitting a site plan application to the planning board seeking comprehensive review and a building permit for the project.  In connection with the site permit, we shall be seeking certificates and/or permits related to other specific municipal concerns. For details regarding the City’s permitting process, you can refer to the zoning and land use regulations in the City’s charter.



State Permits

Maine Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit (MEPDES), Maine Department of Environmental Protection (MDEP)

This permit is related to the water discharge. For more information regarding the wastewater permitting process please visit the MDEP webpage.


Site Location of Development (Site Law) Permit, Maine Department of Environmental Protection

The Site Law permit is required for any development that impacts a specific amount of land area. For more information regarding the Site Law requirements and permit please visit the MDEP Site Law webpage.


Natural Resources Protection Act Permits (NRPA), Maine Department of Environmental Protection

A NRPA permit is required when a building project takes place in or near a protected natural resource, such as a wetland or significant wildlife habitat.  For more information regarding NRPA permitting please visit the MDEP NRPA webpage.


Water Quality Certification, Maine Department of Environmental Protection

This certification must be provided before the project can be considered for certain federal permits. The Water Quality certification will be reviewed in connection with the MEPDES and NRPA permit.  For more information regarding Water Quality Certification please visit the MDEP webpage.


Land-Based Aquaculture License, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF)

The state of Maine requires a license for land-based aquaculture operation. It requires information about what is being grown, what quantities and what it will be used for. For more information regarding the Land-Based Aquaculture License please visit the DACF webpage.



Federal Permits

General Permit, US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)

Prior to construction, the project shall be approved by the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), which coordinates with state and federal agencies to make sure that the project will not harm historic properties, wetlands, endangered species or ecosystems.  More information is available at the Corps webpage.

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