Aquaculture Company ordered to pay $500,000

Aquaculture company ordered to pay $500K for pesticide use
CBC News - NB

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Kelly Cove Salmon pleaded guilty to 2 charges related to deaths of lobsters in Bay of Fundy

Posted: Apr 26, 2013 11:23 AM AT

Environment Canada found the dead lobsters had been exposed to cypermethrin, an agricultural pesticide that's illegal for marine use in Canada.Environment Canada found the dead lobsters had been exposed to cypermethrin, an agricultural pesticide that's illegal for marine use in Canada. (CBC)

A New Brunswick aquaculture company has been ordered to pay $500,000 after pleading guilty to two charges in connection with the deaths of hundreds of lobsters in the Bay of Fundy from an illegal pesticide about three years ago.

Environment Canada had charged Kelly Cove Salmon and three company executives in November 2011 with 11 counts each of depositing a substance that's harmful to fish into fish-bearing water, under the Fisheries Act.

Kelly Cove Salmon, a division of Cooke Aquaculture, which is based in Blacks Harbour, pleaded guilty to two of the counts in St. Stephen provincial court on Friday morning.

The company was fined $100,000. It was also ordered to pay $350,000 to the University of New Brunswick's environmental studies program and an additional $50,000 in trust to the environmental damages fund.

The charges against Cooke's C.E.O. Glenn Cooke, vice-president Mike Szemerda, and Randall Griffin, the regional production manager for Kelly, were withdrawn.

Sends strong message

Robert Robichaud, regional operations manager for the environmental enforcement division of Environment Canada in New Brunswick, told CBC News he was pleased with the penalty.

He said it sends a strong message to the industry that violating Canada's environmental laws will not be tolerated.

According to the agreed statement of facts presented to the court, Kelly Cove Salmon used cypermethrin at 15 of its sites in six different communities between October 2009 and November 2010.

Cypermethrin is an agricultural pesticide that's illegal for marine use in Canada and toxic to lobsters. It's a fast-acting insecticide and has been used to kill sea lice in European fish farms.

The six communities involved included: Grand Manan, Deer Island, Seeley's Cove, Red Head, Maces Bay and Campobello, the courtroom heard.

Hundreds of dead and dying lobsters were hauled up in traps in 2009 and 2010, an investigation by Environment Canada revealed.

In November 2009, four lobster fishermen discovered a large number of dead lobsters, officials said. Tests showed the lobsters had been exposed to cypermethrin, they said.

In December 2009, two commercial lobster fishermen had about 15 crates of lobster in Clam Cove, near Deer Island. Several hundred pounds of those lobsters were also dead and tests showed they too had been exposed to cypermethrin.

The following day, Environment Canada officials took samples from a site operated by Kelly Cove Salmon in Seal Cove, Grand Manan and found the presence of cypermethrin.

The maximum penalty for the charges is up to $1 million per charge and up to three years in prison.