Two year ago the Norwegian group Nordic Aquafarms (NAF) announced plans to construct a 33,000-metric ton land-based salmon farm in Belfast, Maine, which would make it one of the largest land-based salmon farms in the world.

Now, after years of lengthy permitting processes and legal headwinds from concerned environmental groups and residents, the company is says it in is nearing the home stretch.

The company announced Monday it is "approaching the final stages of permitting" for its massive facility with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which is overseeing the process.

“We are very appreciative for the DEP's careful and deliberate review and the progress they have been able to make despite the COVID-19 situation," said Erik Heim, president of Nordic Aquafarms.

Lawsuits opposing the project have been closely intertwined with several permits the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. But the company said Monday Maine's Waldo Cunty Superior Court dismissed a recent legal matter that claimed the DEP lacked the subject matter jurisdiction to review Nordic´s permit application.

The company told IntraFish in June it expects to receive the final permits later this summer. Construction is set to start next year.

Nordic Aquafarms is focusing on its American projects, given the increasing investor interest in land-based salmon in recent months, according to its CEO Bernt-Olav Rottingsnes.

"It's way too early to make conclusions, but we see a lot of Norwegian investor interest for land-based salmon projects partly because of coronavirus but also for the general interest in salmon," he recently told IntraFish.