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FROM SARDINES TO YACHTS, BELFAST TRANSFORMS ITS WATERFRONT

Discussion in 'Cruising Sailors' started by nat55, Dec 3, 2018. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. nat55

    nat55

    Joined Feb 11, 2017
    150 posts, 137 likes
    Gulfstar 1979 Gulfstar 37
    Un BELFAST
    This article appeared in the most recent edition of the Island Journal. I first moored my boat here in Belfast in 2003, what a change since then. Now I live here, Belfast is a great place to be a part of!

    http://www.islandjournal.com/articl...-fwWSBxboMS77MHVMb2GS0M2sy8v52VU-7HQR-FR_3nUM

    I have an old copy of a cruising guide from the late 70's that says something to the effect of "Belfast is best avoided, it is nasty". That was due to the chicken processing and sardine factory that dumped 1000's of gallons of waste into the harbor daily..........

    Groening_Belfast-1.jpg
     


    Last edited: Dec 3, 2018
    jviss, Misfits, Rick D and 2 others like this.
  2. Ken Cross

    Ken Cross

    Joined Oct 24, 2010
    1,855 posts, 280 likes
    Hunter 30
    US Everett, WA
    It sure looks nice in the picture.

    Ken
     


  3. Rich Stidger

    Rich Stidger

    Joined Feb 10, 2004
    2,826 posts, 274 likes
    Hunter 40.5
    US 1997 h40.5 Bristol, RI
    Belfast is always a "must stop" for us whenever we are cruising Maine. It is a very nice small town and is typically Maine-friendly. Linda, the harbormaster, is just outstanding. We anchor outside of the moorings and have a 5-10 minute dinghy ride in to the town dock.
     


  4. dlochner

    dlochner

    Joined Jan 11, 2014
    2,796 posts, 1,189 likes
    Sabre 362
    113 US Fair Haven, NY
    About 10 years ago we visited Belfast by car and were unimpressed. This summer we stopped there on the way home from MDI and it was nothing like I remembered. The town was busy and looked like it had interesting shops and restaurants. And, Hamilton Marine's main store is just down the road.
     


  5. JimFacey

    JimFacey

    Joined Jan 27, 2016
    34 posts, 60 likes
    Ranger 29
    US Bayside, Maine
    I started getting up to Northport and Belfast in the late 70's, Belfast has undergone been an amazing transformation, really started by MBNA 10 or 15 years ahead of Front street. MBNA revitalized much of the waterfront south of the city dock, establishing Harbor park and building the "boathouse" and providing thousands of jobs. The city government has proved to be nimble and imaginative through all of it on both small and large matters allowing Belfast to establish a somewhat funky "moonbat city" reputation. Today it has a good combination of part blue collar, part art scene, some hippy/granola/back to the land vibe", and now with the added high end boat tourism there is momentum for an upgraded food culture. Plus it has Rollies!

    This is all threatened at the moment to my mind but the proposed Salmon farm. I am not against the salmon farm but I am against allowing them to put 1500 lbs of nitrogen plus some phosphorus and solid wast into the water 365 days a year. I believe lobstering in the bay is severely threatened by this especially considering there may be another large scale fish farm just 12 miles up river in Bucksport. I don't believe that just because they are under EPA limits the cumulative effect of the constant additional nitrogen will not harm the ecosystem in the bay. If the Bay slowly dies, what happens to tourism? Belfast will die with it.
     


  6. nat55

    nat55

    Joined Feb 11, 2017
    150 posts, 137 likes
    Gulfstar 1979 Gulfstar 37
    Un BELFAST
    Hi Jim, this is worth a read...it is from Don Perkins of the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. I have made every attempt to be fully informed about this project.
    https://www.cityofbelfast.org/DocumentCenter/View/2287

    Nat
     


  7. TomY

    TomY Alden Forum Moderator

    Joined Jun 22, 2004
    1,360 posts, 990 likes
    Alden 38' Challenger yawl
    US Rockport Harbor
    Interesting info in this thread. We are pretty isolated up here on this coast. But not by the sea.

    We've always been on the main street of the North Atlantic, doing business. Front Street competes for the super yachts and related stuff on an equal playing field with the rest of the world. Maine has always been one of the best deals in shipbuilding.
     


  8. JimFacey

    JimFacey

    Joined Jan 27, 2016
    34 posts, 60 likes
    Ranger 29
    US Bayside, Maine
    Nat,
    I take any opinions from paid experts with a grain of salt.
    I had seen that document before.
    The salient points are below, along with my non expert rebuttal of each. Again, I am not really against the salmon farm, but I am totally against their current plan for putting 7 million gallons of waste water into the bay. One percent of 7 million is a lot of dirty water. think about the reversing tides and how long it will take for each days water to get out to open waters 3o miles away, meanwhile the next 7 million gallons is still coming day in and day out.

    • Nordic Aquafarms (Nordic) has developed a thoughtfully engineered RAS production facility. They've drawn on Norwegian know-how and technology, Maine-based environmental engineering expertise, and Maine-based construction expertise to do so.
    Nobody has ever done a land based salmon farm installation that is remotely this large, I realize that this does not mean it can’t work, but I don’t want to risk the health of Penobscot Bay to find out. They should be looking at ways to reuse the waste water.
    Water based salmon farming is proving to be extremely dirty and an ecological disaster in Scotland, Just as in concentrated pig farming, you cannot have an unnatural density of animals without also concentrating their waste products at extremely unhealthy levels.


    • Nordic has assembled an outstanding site and related easements with neighbors to build a safe, contained facility, provide it with adequate groundwater and seawater inputs, and convey process waters underground to avoid shoreline impact and discharged offshore at suitable depth and with appropriate distribution.
    Not sure about their water requirements and the ability of the Waldo county aquifers to sustain those requirements long term. .

    • The nutrient and temperature impact of facility discharge, as modeled, will have negligible impact when considered in the context of the tidal current and water volume characteristics of West Penobscot Bay and Belfast Bay. Nordic has sought second opinions to insure development of a best-practice design to minimize discharge impacts.
    It is very difficult to believe that 1500 extra lbs of nitrogen a day flowing into a merely partial dispersal environment is not going to have a serious effect. Many informed people are questioning their water flow modeling. More importantly the current outflow pipe ends in line with the Bayside mooring field, this is not even close to what I would consider a deep water discharge. This pipe has shrunk very quietly from the originally announced 1.5 miles to just .5 miles. Which puts it right in line with the Bayside (Northport) shore line, as the Little river outlet is well inside at the moufh of a cove.

    • Nordic has developed a competent strategy to collect baseline ecosystem information against which to monitor impact from operations as they grow and evolve.
    This only tells me that they will know when they are failing, but what will be the actions taken when it does begin to have a negative effect on the Bay waters and ecology. This is not stated.

    • Nordic has gone beyond addressing normal discharge permit environmental engineering requirements to observe that the ultimate risk and determinant of ecosystem impact will be operating practices. They're coupling Norwegian operational expertise and experience with hiring capable, local facility managers with a long-term commitment to Maine. This combination is the best insurance we could ask for against operational risk.
    Again “Norwegian expertise” has no bearing when this has not ever been tried. I’d like to see them use their “Norwegian expertise”, to find a way to remove 99.99% of the solids, phosphorus, nitrogen, viruses, and cleaning agents that will be in the water coming out of the 24/7 7 million gallons a day discharge. Also meeting discharge requirements and having no impact are not the same thing.




    .
     


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  9. Misfits

    Misfits

    Joined Apr 14, 2009
    574 posts, 46 likes
    Sabre 28
    US NH
    Back in the mid 70's I spent two years working on school projects in Waldo county. Yea, Belfast & the surrounding area was pretty nasty, chicken capital of Maine.

    There used to be a bar @ the intersection of Routes 3&1 appromiatly named the 3&1. When second shift at the chicken processing factory got out the place would fill up. We would leave cause the stench was overwhelming.

    Belfast Harbor moves alot of water but I feel the majority of it gets recycled from the western bay on a flood tide. I'm not sure if a salmon farm(s) discharging waste water into the bay is a good thing.
     


  10. TomY

    TomY Alden Forum Moderator

    Joined Jun 22, 2004
    1,360 posts, 990 likes
    Alden 38' Challenger yawl
    US Rockport Harbor
    I haven't been following this controversial shoreside salmon farm as closely as you guys living close by.

    From what I read, I believe the operation will be so closely monitored by public and gov. agency's that problems will have to dealt with asap.

    I'm of the opinion that we need alternative fishing industries, now.

    I don't see any way to stop the migration of the American Lobster to cooler water down, east, and into Canadian waters. They have been moving Eastward at about 4 miles per season, for the last 50 years.

    We're on the back side of this migration now in Penobscot Bay that is moving . It's only a question of how long it will take for lobster landings in Penbay to begin to eliminate the lobster fishing industry. I'm sad to think that.

    With established zones along the coast, there is no place for these guys and girls to go to keep filling their traps.

    Innovation in shellfish farming, sustainable fishing practices and maybe on shore fish farming (we'll see), may be the only future for Maine's billion dollar lobster industry.
     


  11. Misfits

    Misfits

    Joined Apr 14, 2009
    574 posts, 46 likes
    Sabre 28
    US NH
    We could always ask Trump to build another wall.

    Last summer I watched the same garbage strewn patch of seaweed float past my boat over the course of 3 days. That's 6 full tide cycles.
    That's why I'd be concerned about discharge from a farm. Which is why I said stuff gets recycled.
    The western part of the bay is pretty shallow far as I'm concerned. I also noticed water temps were around 68-69 degrees in the bay. Pretty warm by Maine standards.

    Although lobsters & cod may head to cooler water other life will move in. In a recent issue of an AMC magazine it mentioned blue claw crab & black sea bass. Maybe it's not all gloom & doom.

    Regarding the fish farms, in my opinon the last thing the coast of Maine needs is another industry with low paying jobs. There are enough of those around already.
     


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  12. Rick486

    Rick486

    Joined Oct 1, 2007
    1,113 posts, 228 likes
    Hunter 44DS
    US Pt. Judith
    In the early and mid 90's I was a participant in building a funding stream for the first wave of salmon aquaculture in Maine coastal waters. The story sounded good and the product was excellent. One could buy fresh salmon in Maine at a very good price. This was good. As time marched on, however, things changed. There was a vocal opposition to salmon farming based on environmental impact of the cages populations discharging large amounts of so called pollutants in coastal waters, and a shadow argument that escapees from the pens would compromise the wild stock, which was non-existent. Eventually the industry collapsed, not due to political or environmental arguments, but instead due to the emergence of imported farmed salmon at much lower prices. Based on history, it is hard for me to imagine that land based farming could be price competitive with imported product from areas where the costs are much lower than in Maine. In Maine there is a constant argument made by the political apparatus that this or that new industry will bring jobs in if only government money can be brought in to jump start whatever industry it happens to be. So, too often the result is a few people make a lot of money and the jobs evaporate. Follow the money. I can't help but wonder if this is just another instance.
     


  13. Al Schober

    Al Schober

    Joined Feb 11, 2017
    67 posts, 50 likes
    former Tartan 30
    41971 US now in Rockland, ME
    Interesting that blue claw crabs are moving into PB - perhaps oysters are next? PB may become the new CB? Belfast the new Annapolis? Salmon farming is an interesting industry. I like the low price on salmon, but hate what the fishery does to the water.
     


  14. Ron20324

    Ron20324

    Joined Jan 22, 2008
    6,495 posts, 701 likes
    Beneteau 323
    US Annapolis MD
    I recently saw an article about GREEN crabs (or was it green clawed) in the NE states. Know anything about that?
     


  15. TomY

    TomY Alden Forum Moderator

    Joined Jun 22, 2004
    1,360 posts, 990 likes
    Alden 38' Challenger yawl
    US Rockport Harbor
    I find this constant "good jobs for Maine" argument such a joke.

    "If we could lower electric rates, Apple would hang their shingle in Maine", has been the latest(or lower taxes, high speed internet - take your pick).

    For a time there was a campaign to put signs on South I95 that read, "Your Business Could Be Here!" That worked great!

    All we have to do to lure industry to Maine is move it south, at least as far South as Boston. That will remove our other problem: Maine is a rural state and rural populations are poorer than urban.

    Maine is a great place to live if only due to it's quality of life. It will never have the typical job pool of the metro areas. It's more suited to luring people with learned skills and experience with an entrepreneurial desire to live a high quality of life.
     


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  16. TomY

    TomY Alden Forum Moderator

    Joined Jun 22, 2004
    1,360 posts, 990 likes
    Alden 38' Challenger yawl
    US Rockport Harbor
    The Blue Claws are not here yet, Al. But we've Oysters galore! That is one shining spot to the fishing industry. Shellfish farming is luring young people into trying different methods and areas. I can buy a large variety of Maine oysters at my local fish market. My favorite are North Haven Island which as you know is less than 10 sea miles away.

    Like than land based salmon farm, I know a kid involved in a grant to explore raising mussels on land. I suspect the lobster industry around here will be a much different fishery with less boats, less traps fitting the lower supply to come. Coupled with other fishery's now on the rise, this could be the future of fishing in Maine.

    With the lobster industry geared up with the biggest boats to date, an 800 trap limit and boat prices that are always too low (due to the former), it won't take much time if (when) the supply wanes, for the fishery to crash.
     


  17. TomY

    TomY Alden Forum Moderator

    Joined Jun 22, 2004
    1,360 posts, 990 likes
    Alden 38' Challenger yawl
    US Rockport Harbor
    The Green crabs, an invasive species from Europe (I think) are well established in Maine coastal waters. They are aggressive and displace native fishes.

    They have little fishery value, yet, but different research is trying to find a use and value.
     


  18. nat55

    nat55

    Joined Feb 11, 2017
    150 posts, 137 likes
    Gulfstar 1979 Gulfstar 37
    Un BELFAST


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  19. Ron20324

    Ron20324

    Joined Jan 22, 2008
    6,495 posts, 701 likes
    Beneteau 323
    US Annapolis MD
    How about exchanging pigeons for crabs down at the skeet range?
     


  20. Misfits

    Misfits

    Joined Apr 14, 2009
    574 posts, 46 likes
    Sabre 28
    US NH
    The article did not indicate the influx of blue claw crab tomorrow. This migration in all likelihood will not happened within our lifetime, at least not mine but if the Gulf of Maine continues to increase in temperature more warm water species will move in. Which when looked at in that light makes me wonder why a company would want to invest all that money into salmon farming if the water temperatures are going to increase. Salmon is not a "warm water" fish.

    Belfast the new Annapolis, God I hope not. I met three older couples that keep their boats in the harbor but had to sell their homes in Belfast due to property taxes becoming unsustainable. That makes it tough on the locals.
    I've recently retired, my wife's a couple of years behind me. Her side of the family going back two generations has owned property in the Waldo/Belfast area so we've looked at real estate up that way. Much as we like the area, I can't afford the property taxes in that area. They're more than we pay here in NH which is the 3rd highest state in the country.
     



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