Open Pen Aquaculture is Newfoundland’s Shell game


Feb. 20, 2018

Open Pen Aquaculture is Newfoundland’s Shell Game

Open pen aquaculture has been practiced for many years worldwide and much has been learned about it in that time. On the positive side it can bring economic and social benefits to areas that would not otherwise see them BUT over those years it has revealed a much darker side. If you read or watch the news you know of the many problems associated with open pen aquaculture; disease, escapement, product quality, chemical use etc…unfortunately it appears that many of our politicians appear uninformed about these facts or the political decision appeals to them more.

We do not argue the social or economic benefits of the Grieg proposal in the Placentia Bay area BUT we need to ask ourselves why a Norwegian company would come to Placentia Bay, Newfoundland to invest in Aquaculture? Could it be that Placentia Bay has been a hidden gem for Aquaculture for fifty years? Spawn believes that these international companies do their homework; they know that any area of Newfoundland and Labrador would welcome any economic investment and that our provincial government appears on its way to economic insolvency. Local stakeholders and government officials are more motivated to create doubt and suspicion in any scientific arguments against the proposal than to actually create meaningful regulations and laws that would reduce the environmental risk that this industry will bring.

Gardner-Pinfold Consulting is a Canadian based company that has been providing service to International clients since 1980. They have released a study that compares the protection given by various countries’ Aquaculture regulations to the Atlantic provinces of Canada. They rated the regulations from 1-100 with 100 being the target regulatory strength. The results were: Norway- 82, British Columbia - 68, Nova Scotia- 64, Maine USA-59, Newfoundland and Labrador-50, New Brunswick-45. Yet our government calls our Aquaculture regulations; robust, solid and strong? What do you think?

Grieg is cognitive of these findings! In Newfoundland and Labrador they will be required to pay a fraction of the fees they would in their native country and the regulations they will be required to follow here are an industry joke compared to those they would be required to follow in their native country…..This relates to bigger profits for Grieg and an environmental mess that will be the legacy we as Newfoundlanders will inherit. IF the provincial government does decide to go with Open Pen Aquaculture in Placentia Bay, we as Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans should demand that World Class aquaculture  regulations be implemented and enforced.

We have a history with Open Pen Aquaculture on the south coast of Newfoundland.  Several years ago our province carried out a netting operation in the Bay d’Espoir area to establish the ratio of farmed fish to native fish; The results have never been released.

The unofficial report was ALL farmed fish were found. Ian Bradbury did a study for DFO to determine the level of interbreeding of farmed fish with native fish in adjacent river systems. Results are that they are present in 17 out of 18 rivers tested. This weakens the genetics of native stock.  Te 80/20 principle certainly applied there.  80% of the problems with Open Pen Aquaculture in Bay d’Espoir came from 20% of the operations. Good Aquaculture regulations would eliminate many of these problems and attract only ethical and well run operators, holding them accountable for their actions.

If the Ball government decides to go with Open Pen Aquaculture in Placentia Bay, we need to demand World Class regulations - Rregulations that will protect our bays and coves; our present Aquaculture regulations hold NOBODY accountable. We need to do this NOW and not in 2025, or like an Inquiry into Muskrat Falls, it will not change anything for Newfoundlanders. In 2025 our electricity rates will be close to double, we will be further in debt and in our opinion we will have had our fill of Grieg Aquaculture in Placentia Bay.

A good start……. Adopt and enforce Norway’s Aquaculture regulations.  You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

Spawn Board of Directors,

John McCarthy – President


50 Main Street, Suite 203

Corner Brook NL

A2H 1C4

PH:  709-634-3012

Cell:  709-640-2773

FAX:  79-388-3012