Last week the activist group Protect Downeast announced that it would appeal the permit granted to Kingfish Maine by the Jonesport Planning Board to build The Kingfish Company's U.S. subsidiary. In response, the land-based yellowtail farmer said it is not concerned by this opposition group's appeal and stressed that it is Roque Island Gardner Homestead Corporation (RIGHC) – the family-owned company that owns the Roque Archipelago, separate from the site chosen by Kingfish Maine by Chandler Bay – that is behind the protest.
"We respect the permitting process. We are confident the appeals from Roque Island will be denied just as they have been to date, and we will begin the construction process next year", said Megan Sorby, Kingfish Maine Operations Manager.
Protect Downeast claims to oppose the Kingfish Maine project for a variety of reasons, but the attorney representing the group, Elizabeth Boepple, stressed in a press release that Kingfish has not raised the financial resources it needs to begin construction. She added that until all appeals are resolved, the local permits are not final and construction cannot begin.
In response, Kingfish Maine said that the company already submitted all required documents to demonstrate its financial capacity for the Jonesport project in 2021, early in the process, as part of the state and federal permitting process. They also recalled that the project has all permits in place, both state and federal. Finally, they said that, as required, they will update their financial capacity before construction begins.
"Kingfish provided significant information supporting its financial capacity to proceed with its fully permitted development in the U.S. It is standard practice for any development to update financial capacity with the DEP prior to the start of construction, which is why it is included in standard conditions", said Megan Sorby. "We know this and fully intend to do so just as we have adhered to all other permit conditions to date", she added.
Statements from the land-based yellowtail farmer recall that the Protect Downeast group is funded by the owners of RIGHC and members of the family that owns the island, but the Kingfish Maine Operations Manager goes further. "These are the latest desperate measures the members of Roque Island and their paid consultants are taking to distract from the fact that the town is overwhelmingly supportive of this project and that it adheres to the highest standard within the rigorous permitting process", she said. "They alone are in opposition and don't care how much they cost the people of Jonesport in that stance".
This is not the first time the company speaks of the support received from the community. Ohad Maiman, founder and ex-CEO of The Kingfish Company, also remarked it when the permit conditions were formally approved and adopted at a final meeting. "From the introduction of our project to the town three years ago to the final building permit approval this week, we have received overwhelming support from Jonesport residents", he then said. "This group continues to ignore the will of the people of Jonesport and is only pushing its own agenda with these continued appeals and unfounded accusations. With permits in hand and the community in full support of the project, we look forward to the promising next chapter of Kingfish in Maine", he stated now.
"Roque Island is sparing no expense to go after the town of Jonesport and continue its campaign to stop this project. And the town of Jonesport will unfortunately have to pay for their continued appeals of a project that's received the blessing of not only the town but state and federal agencies", added Megan Sorby, Director of Operations for Kingfish Maine.