Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Nova Scotia Public Strongly Against Fish Farms in the Ocean

I have mentioned that any place that fish farms like Marine Harvest, Cermaq Mitsubishi and Grieg Seafood set up shop that the public soon comes to hate having them in their pristine ocean.

In Norway it is ISA, escaping fish, diseased steelhead, and parties in the federal government itself calling for fish farms to be on land. In BC 110,000 people have signed a petition to stop expansion and get fish farms out of the water: And Norway will forego the ocean licence fees of $1.68 Million. This is a freebie in BC because the licence is only $5000. The Harper Conservatives are going to lose plenty of ridings in the federal election over supporting fish farms, with DFO minister Gail Shea ignoring what the public wants and issuing new licences and expansions, the Sir Edmond Bay site for example.

Now it is the citizens of Nova Scotia who are angry with fish farms and want them on land. Read this editorial: Scathing is the only word that comes to mind. And that is after a scientific study heavily criticized fish farms:

Here are a few quotes from a Chronicle Herald, by Ralph Surette.

"After painstaking study, the Doelle-Lahey panel acknowledged that the critics — which include the fishing and tourism industries as well as environmentalists and a broad swath of community groups — have plenty of reasons to be concerned about these operations."
"Although it disappointed some critics in not calling for an outright ban on open-pen feedlots — instead, giving the industry the chance to redeem itself with better practices in future — it outlined a regulatory process to gain public trust and move the industry forward." 

Note that is the opposite from what DFO is doing in BC. Gail Shea is ignoring, at her own peril, strong public sentiment. Shea et al have weakened the Fisheries Act, Canadian Environment Act, among others to give fish farms carte blanche about chemicals, sewage and other issues.

Minister Keith Colwell, brought in new legislation, Bill 95, that ignoed the Douelle-Lahey recommendations, and:

"Notably, veterinary records would be off-limits to freedom of information requests — a rank move to prevent the public and fishermen from being upset by the chemicals and medications used in feed, against lice and as defouling agents in these operations."
"Meanwhile, the Harper government is being helpful by trashing the Fisheries Act. Two years ago, Glenn Cooke, CEO of the dominant player, Cooke Aquaculture, and other company officials pleaded guilty in a New Brunswick court to using an illegal pesticide that killed untold amounts of lobster larvae and were fined $500,000. It’s a sleazy business, but not to worry in future. Under the Harper changes, chemicals toxic to lobster will be legal."

Like fish farms in other jurisdictions, Cooke, when it was becoming a public flash point, withdrew from being prosecuted to 'study' the findings more closely. Scarcely six months later, Cooke was given $25 Million by the provincial government. And then it was fined $500,000 for using cypermethrin (that kills lobster, the biggest crop in the Atlantic Ocean) for two years.

And: "Last December, Premier Stephen McNeil angrily and rightly called on Cooke to return a chunk of the $25 million gifted to it by the former NDP government, since none of the promised jobs had materialized."

The Chonicle Herald is pretty steamed, just like NS citizens: 

"Indeed, even if you consider objections to shoreline fouling, pesticides in the ocean, threats to wild salmon and other marine life, sludge in the sea currents, dead zones under cages and diseased fish on the market as so much whining, consider the economics. For our $25 million we were supposed to get a processing plant in Shelburne, a hatchery in Digby and an expanded fish-feed mill in Truro. A processing plant — while established South Shore fish processors can’t get enough workers and are shipping product elsewhere! Indeed, if there was a running plant, it would be closed now because all the South Shore fish were killed off by “superchill” last winter and infectious salmon anemia is cyclically rampant (in New Brunswick, production is down 40 per cent because of sea lice). Besides, salmon farming is notoriously easy to mechanize. Jobs are declining, not increasing, wherever processing takes place. In other words, the promise of jobs is a lie for gullible politicians."

There are several posts on that detail that the promises of jobs and revenue are simply not true. In BC fish farms say 6000 jobs and $800 Million in revenue. But there are only 795 actual jobs and GDP contribution is a measly $61.9 M - for all of aquaculture. And, fish farms are a boom bust industry. Take Aqua Grey in Newfoundland that was in receivership in the summer of 2014.

The tone of the CH article make mine sound tame. Obviously there are lots of citizens very angry about fish farms fouling their Atlantic Canada ocean.

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