Nordic Aquafarms' land-based salmon farming project got crucial approval by the state's Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) this month for its 33,000-metric-ton land-based salmon

farm in Belfast, Maine.

The company said Thursday the board approved four necessary environmental permits, an effort that has taken over a year and a half.

"Permitting RAS Aquaculture facilities of this scale is uncharted territory in Maine, and Nordic Aquafarms strongly believes that strict regulations and conditions will ensure that land-based aquaculture can be safely developed in Maine both now and in the future," said Erik Heim, president of Nordic Aquafarms.

He added the BEP decision has set a precedent in its ruling as Nordic is one of the first major projects to come online in the state.

Marianne Naess, executive vice president of commercial for Nordic, told IntraFish there are remaining City of Belfast and Army Corps of Engineers permits that need to be approved before construction can begin.

While Maine's permitting agencies have ruled Nordic has secured right, title and interest to inter-tidal land to pipe water from its farm site into the Penobscot Bay, the company is closely watching a lawsuit that argues otherwise.

She said those legal issues should also be resolved shortly.

“We are looking forward to conclusions on the outstanding issues and are ready to move forward with construction as soon as we are comfortable with the way forward," she said.

The company added it has also submitted its final permit application for its similar site planned for Humboldt County, California.