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Final, Fatal Blow to Mersey

CHRONICLE-HERALD

VOICE OF THE PEOPLE | MARCH 14, 2014

Final, fatal blow

Re: "Anatomy of Mersey hatchery's destruction," (March 3 online op ed by Michael Fralic).

What a shame it was to see the Mersey salmon and whitefish hatchery bulldozed and filled in, making it impossible to ever use again. This is a profound loss to biodiversity conservation in Nova Scotia and is quite likely a final, fatal blow for Nova Scotia's two most endangered freshwater fish.

It's also a tacit admission by DFO that it has little interest or capacity to help save our wild salmon and that it is prepared to stand by, with hands folded, while they dwindle to infinity.

Following years of cutbacks and ever-diminishing resources for salmon management in the Maritimes, the Mersey Biodiversity Facility was one of the last pieces of modern infrastructure left specifically dedicated to the survival of the unique salmon stocks of Nova Scotia's Bay of Fundy and Atlantic coast rivers.

In his article, Mr. Fralic describes how the volunteer community group was willing to run the hatchery but was given the run-around by both DFO and Nova Scotia Power - each playing the "it's not us, it's them" blame game. That was certainly our experience when making inquiry to see what might be done to save this important facility. "Go talk to the other guys" was the answer.

What now seems clear is that both DFO and NSP wanted this world-class facility gone, but neither wanted the blame for disposing of it. Now the deed is done and the Mersey hatchery is destroyed. This effectively marks the end of the line for once-great salmon rivers like the Medway, LaHave and St. Mary's which need our help now more than ever but have been given a collective shrug of indifference from DFO and NSP. A pox on both their houses.

Ray Plourde, wilderness co-ordinator, Ecology Action Centre