Noticias del día26 de abril de 2012
Community group says government ignoring science on fish farming in Shelburne area
Canada: The province and Cooke Aquaculture are ignoring science to further their fish-farming agenda, say members of Mayday-Shelburne County.
The community group recently obtained meeting minutes and correspondence between the provincial Fisheries and Aquaculture Department and Cooke Aquaculture.
The group said the documents show that the department has skirted scientific research and excluded fishermen and residents in favour of the proposed establishment of two industrial-sized salmon farms in Jordan Bay, near Shelburne.
“Our understanding when we went into the process was that it was a three-sided story between the company, the regulator and the community,” lobster fisherman Ricky Hallett said Wednesday.
“So far, the story has been between the regulators and the company, and the community has been excluded completely.”
Critics of the plan, undergoing a federal environmental assessment, allege the farms and the potential use of pesticides to control sea lice threaten lucrative lobster fisheries.
Hallett, a fisherman for the last 35 years who now solely harvests lobster, participated in surveys with Fisheries and Oceans Canada related to the female lobster population in the Jordan Bay-area in the mid-1990s. The findings identified the area as a high-production harbour for the species.
“It was our understanding, as a community then, that those findings should protect the area,” Hallett said. “We want sound science to be employed to protect this area and our livelihoods.”
The two proposed 40-hectare farms would produce 750,000 fish in its first production cycle and one million in its second cycle.
For lobster fishermen, that means tonnes of excess waste and excess food particles that Hallett said would only be a detriment to the ecology of the harbour. Any proposed mitigation techniques, he said, are just a slow way of avoiding the inevitable.
The provincial documents also reveal that although limited baseline data was submitted by Cooke Aquaculture, the provincial fisheries department discussed this but did not press for more information, said group spokeswoman Sindy Horncastle.
“It seems that quality scientific information is not a requirement,” Horncastle said.
“Our own deputy minister of fisheries, Paul LeFleche, has stated that the (Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture) has no scientific capacity. It defies logic that a coastal development strategy would be based upon a total lack of science.”
Horncastle lives on Jordan Bay and has spent countless hours investigating the precedent-setting implications of an industrial salmon farm in the bay.
“These documents are proof that the (fisheries department) has never had any intention of consulting with fishermen,” Hallett said
“This shows that our own government is interested only in aquaculture promotion at any cost — no science necessary.”