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Norman McCowan, President & CEO of Bell Aquaculture. (Photo Credit: Bell Aquaculture)

New fish feed mill arises concern in Indiana

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Tuesday, April 01, 2014, 03:50 (GMT + 9)

Bell Aquaculture’s plans to add a feed mill as part of a USD 30-million expansion in Delaware, Indiana, wereapproved by the Metropolitan Board of Zoning Appeals last week.

Although supporters of the project consider the plan presented by this fish farm producing nearly 3 million pounds per year of yellow perch, trout and coho salmon, will help turn the area into an aquaculture hub, neighbours have expressed complaints about the stench produced by the farm's fish feces lagoon, Associated Press reported.

Since that mill will produce more fish food a month than the firm needs for its operations, the surplus food will be destined to fuel the Indiana aquaculture industry's growth.

"We are a cutting-edge technology," Bell Aquaculture CEO Norman McCowan told the zoning board. "We want to see Delaware County become a hub for aquaculture."

The CEO added that residents who oppose the project do have legitimate concerns about the smell produced by the Albany-area farm's lagoons, but he said the company is already taking steps to address that.

Earlier this month, McCowan had remarked they continue to strive to advance their processes in order to reduce their environmental impact and produce the healthiest fish possible. And he stressed that their fish are not given antibiotics or hormones and their water is clean enough to drink, providing a healthy, sustainable option to the growing food crisis.

Nevertheless, neighbours who oppose the feed mill said that not only does the lagoon stink, but the farm is also discharging so much water it has flooded surrounding property. Bell withdraws nearly 400 million gallons of water yearly from the ground for its operations.

"They intend to bring in a fish food factory, which is not agriculture. It's a factory. It's industrial, and all the problems that exist now are going to get worse," Bill Hughes, an attorney representing the disgruntled neighbours pointed out.

Terry Murphy, vice president of the Muncie-Delaware County Economic Development Alliance, said the county plans to build a road from Ind. 67 to the fish farm to address concerns about truck traffic.


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