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Who Got to Dunkle?

From September 2014 to November 9, 2018, I was a columnist for The Republican Journal. In that time I wrote 75 columns for The Republican Journal.

On November 9, 2018, Dan Dunkle, news director for Courier Publications, owner of The Republican Journal, fired me by email. On November 15 The Republican Journal ran an editorial in which Dunkle attacked my journalism and somehow failed to mention, in 847 words, that he had fired me. On November 19, I submitted an op-ed of comparable length, and Republican Journal Editor Stephanie Grinnell told me I would be allowed only 500 words for my response to Dunkle's editorial. So The Republican Journal attacked my journalism with 847 words, and allowed me only 500 words to defend myself. Below you will find what would have been my response had The Republican Journal allowed me equal time. *** In his November 15 Republican Journal editorial, News Director Dan Dunkle uses 847 words to attack my journalism, yet he somehow fails to mentio…

Fighting Back with Bricks and Mortars

Fighting Back with Bricks and Mortars
On its official Facebook page, the City of Belfast has posted a response to my October 25, 2018 Republican Journal column entitled “Two Hours with Bent Urup.” The column was based on two hours I spent with Urup in in his office in Fredericia, Denmark office September 26, 2018. Urup is perhaps the world's foremost expert in land-based aquaculture, and the column took a critical look at plans by Nordic Aquafarms, a Norwegian company, to build in Belfast a $500 million industrial, land-based salmon farm - one of the biggest industrial salmon farms in the world.
First and foremost, this City of Belfast action raises an obvious question: why is the city using city resources – its official Facebook page – and perhaps City staff time to defend Nordic Aquafarms, a for-profit corporation that will at some point be seeking City Council approval for its vast project? Shouldn't the city be maintaining a neutral position in this matter, especiall…

Separating FACT from FICTION

Separating FACT from FICTION

Bricks and Mortars
Lawrence Reichard

On November 1, the day before I was ordered by Courier Publications, owner of The Republican Journal, to stop writing about Nordic Aquafarms, The Republican Journal published a full-page ad by Nordic Aquafarms entitled "Let's Separate FACTS from FEAR."

The ad came fully 13 months after Nordic first approached the city about its desire to build in Belfast a very big industrial fish farm - or factory - and the fact that it took Nordic that long to figure out the benefits of taking out such big, expensive ads in Belfast's only newspaper is yet more evidence that Nordic suffers from poor management and has little idea what it's doing.

In any event, the ad deserves a response from our community.

The ad says Nordic will "bring important new tax dollars to Belfast," but every indication is that these tax dollars will be far fewer than Nordic and the City of Belfast would have one believe.

First …

Two Hours with Bent Urup

Two Hours with Bent Urup
Brick and Mortars Lawrence Reichard
On September 25, I awoke in Odense, Denmark, home of famed Danish storyteller Hans Christian Andersen.I walked to the train station and took a half-hour train to Fredericia, where I was picked up by a daughter of Bent Urup.
Bent Urup is a gregarious and energetic man, and he loves to talk about his work.He is perhaps the world's foremost expert on Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS), which Nordic Aquafarms plans to use for its proposed Belfast industrial fish farm.Urup was the first to develop salt-water RAS, and he invented RAS 2020, which he says is the world's most efficient and cost-effective RAS System.
Urup designed and built Maximus, a Danish smolt farm he owned for eight years before selling it in October 2017 to a group of investors in which Nordic Aquafarms had a 50% share.Urup designed and developed Sashimi Royal, a Denmark fish farm he then sold to a group of investors in which Nordic Aquafarms had a 62.…

24 Hours in Denmark

24 Hours in Denmark
Bricks and Mortars Lawrence Reichard
I was getting worried.I had been procrastinating about getting lodging in the far northwest corner of Denmark, where I was planning to look at the Denmark operations of Nordic Aquafarms, a Norwegian company that wants to build in Belfast one of the biggest industrial salmon farms in the world.
I didn't think it would be hard to get lodging in that remote area, the summer season being well over.I didn't know the area had become a surfing destination called “Cold Hawai'i.”The first 2-3 places I tried were booked, and I was forced to start looking out of town, in the countryside, though I had no transportation.
I finally got a place, in the small village of Hordum.But I didn't know how I would get around.
Fortunately my Airbnb was only two kilometers from a flag train stop, and Bente, my hostess, picked me up.She was a jovial, wily woman with a wry smile.When we got to her old, charming farmhouse, she discovered I had …

The Most Toxic Food in the World?

The Most Toxic Food in the World?
Bricks and Mortars Lawrence Reichard
Fredrikstad, Norway - Kurt Oddekalv is big, burly, and brusque.Oddekalv founded the Green Warriors, a Norwegian environmental group that has for 25 years been the bane of Norway's fish farm industry."I've been fighting them for 30 years," Oddekalv said as we drove through a rough, windswept North Atlantic landscape to see a sea-based salmon farm in Rong, Norway, about an hour northwest of Bergen, Norway's second-biggest city.
"They fooled me for the first five years, but not since" Oddekalv said with a wry smile.Oddekalv fielded several calls as we rode.It was a busy day.Oddekalv had just learned that the fish- farm industry was again using a chemical it had agreed, in writing, to stop using after a relentless campaign spearheaded by Oddekalv.
At Rong we boarded a small boat and rode in cold, driving rain past a breakwater to the three-pen operation.It's hard to believe the pens ho…

Civility Starts with Truth

There has been much talk of incivility plaguing the Nordic Aquafarms debate, but truth is the essence of civility, and here Nordic is coming up woefully short. In two recent columns I wrote about numerous misrepresentations made by Nordic regarding its proposed Belfast fish factory, such as the suggestion that fish can't escape from land-based fish factories — they can and they do.
But since the publication of those two columns, Nordic has migrated from mere misrepresentations squarely into the realm of outright lies.

At a June 12 public information meeting, a panel of purported experts fielded softball questions tossed out in soothing tones by Des Fitzgerald, founder of Belfast's Ducktrap River, now owned by Marine Harvest, the world's biggest salmon producer and a Norwegian corporation with a list of environmental problems as long as your arm.

After Fitzgerald's questions, the panel took questions from the audience, and in response to a question about Nord…