PORTLAND – A federal judge declined this week to delay his civil contempt order against the state’s largest aquaculture company.
U.S. District Judge Gene Carter issued the contempt order May 9 after finding that Atlantic Salmon of Maine violated his order barring the company from stocking a new class of young salmon in its pens. Atlantic Salmon had sought a delay while appealing to the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals.
Carter concluded that the company tried to evade his restriction by purchasing and stocking smolt through a subsidiary. His order called for a $100,000 penalty for each day that any future violations occur.
The judge originally barred Atlantic Salmon from stocking any of its pens at its seven farms until a water quality lawsuit filed two years ago by the United States Public Interest Research Group is resolved.
The suit accuses Atlantic Salmon and another Washington County salmon farming company of violating the Clean Water Act because of discharges of excess feed, medications and fish feces into the ocean.
In a prepared statement, Atlantic Salmon said it regrets Carter’s decision and plans to move forward in a “constructive fashion.”
“At this time, ASM is considering multiple options for next steps and therefore can’t comment with more specifics until the review of all those options is completed,” the statement said.