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Atlantic Salmon Federation launches appeal of Placentia Bay project

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 1, 2016

 

Atlantic Salmon Federation launches appeal of Placentia Bay project


Submission to Newfoundland environment minister argues decision to waive impact statement is unreasonable

 

St. Andrews – The Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) is calling on the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to revise its original decision to release Grieg Seafarms NL Ltd. from the environmental assessment process, and instead order the company to prepare an environmental impact statement for its proposed Placentia Bay project.


ASF is using the province’s Environmental Protection Act to make an official appeal. A letter outlining ASF’s argument was submitted to Minister Perry Trimper’s office yesterday.


“Our argument is that Minister Trimper’s decision is unreasonable and open to successful judicial review,” said ASF President Bill Taylor. “The wild Atlantic salmon in Placentia Bay have adapted to their home rivers over 10,000-years. They’re part of a threatened population and to risk their future without even an environmental impact statement is not right.”


Newfoundland’s Environmental Protection Act contains two conditions for releasing a project from environmental assessment: there are no environmental or public concerns, or the effects will be mitigated by another provincial or federal law.


“Science tells us that open net-pen salmon aquaculture is a threat to the environment. We know for a fact that there is public concern, and the laws that exist were not good enough for the minister in the past.” said ASF’s Coordinator of Engagement and Community Outreach Steve Sutton.


Recently, three companies applying to farm softshell clams in the province were ordered to complete an environmental impact statement. These projects are much smaller than Grieg’s proposal, would not introduce foreign strains of animals, and pose no risk of individuals escaping.


ASF believes that Grieg’s Placentia Bay project has the potential to devastate the already threatened wild Atlantic salmon population on Newfoundland’s south coast.


It would also mark the first time that foreign strains of Atlantic salmon, from Iceland, would be grown alongside wild fish in the Canadian marine environment. An imperfect sterilization process means fertile fish could escape and change the genetics of wild salmon.


“We did not come to this decision lightly,” said Sutton, “We recognize the need for investment and jobs in Atlantic Canada, but at what cost?


“If the government of Newfoundland and Labrador wants to approve this project despite the risks, let there be an open and public environmental assessment first,” said Sutton.


According to the Environmental Protection Act, the minister must respond to this appeal within 30 days. The appeal has been prepared in consultation with McInnes Cooper, a respected Newfoundland law firm, which has been retained to advise and assist ASF in this matter.


The Atlantic Salmon Federation is an international conservation group founded in 1948. We are dedicated to ensuring the survival of wild Atlantic salmon throughout the North Atlantic.


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A copy of ASF’s appeal can be found below

Contact: Neville Crabbe, Director of Communication

ncrabbe@asf.ca   or  (506) 608-8800


ASF Grieg Appeal Submission 858.4KB