Proposed NFLD Salmon Aquaculture Project Should Undergo Full Environmental Assessment, says ASF
For immediate release
November 9, 2015
St Andrews, N.B — The Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) is questioning why a newly proposed salmon aquaculture project on the south coast of Newfoundland and Labrador is not receiving a full Environmental Assessment by the provincial government. According to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the proposed project for Marystown and Placentia Bay will include a new hatchery, 11 open-net sea pens and the importation of salmon eggs from European strains not native to Newfoundland waters and yet only the hatchery component has been registered for an environmental assessment.
Earlier today, ASF sent a letter to Bas Cleary, Director of Environmental Assessment with Newfoundland and Labrador’s Department of Environment and Conservation. The letter states that ASF has significant concerns about the potential impacts of the proposed sea cage operations on wild Atlantic salmon populations, such as sea lice infestation, disease, and escapes that lead to interbreeding and dilution of the wild gene pool.
Don Ivany, ASF’s Director of Programs for Newfoundland and Labrador, says ASF wants to see the entire project go through the assessment process, including public consultation.
“Eleven sea cages are going to be placed in Placentia Bay where no other sea cages exist,” says Ivany. “Located on the south coast, Placentia Bay is an area that has 19 scheduled salmon rivers where populations are already in a fragile state and designated as threatened by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). COSEWIC has identified salmon aquaculture as a significant threat to the salmon populations of southern Newfoundland. Introducing a large open-net pen salmon operation in the vicinity of already threatened populations could prove to be devastating to wild Atlantic salmon and the socio economic benefits they provide.”
Ivany says ASF is recommending that Mr. Cleary and his department register the entire project, including the 11 open-net sea cages and importation of salmon eggs from European strains, for an Environment Assessment. He says ASF isn’t asking anything that isn’t already included in the province’s own legislation.
“We are concerned,” concludes Ivany, “that the government is contravening its own legislation by splitting the undertaking into separate components in order to avoid subjecting the most environmentally damaging components to environmental assessment. If the government continues on this course, the potentially significant impacts on threatened wild Atlantic salmon and the fisheries that they support will not be addressed.”
The Atlantic Salmon Federation is dedicated to the conservation, protection and restoration of wild Atlantic salmon and the ecosystems on which their well-being and survival depend. ASF has a network of seven regional councils (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Maine and Western New England). The regional councils cover the freshwater range of the Atlantic salmon in Canada and the United States.
Holly Johnson, Manager of Public Information: (506)529-1033(o)
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