Wild Salmon population faces daunting challenges to their survival rate
throughout their journey from rivers to the ocean and returns. In
many of the historic rivers, like the Medway River, salmon
populations are now down to approximately 20% of the traditional
runs. The Nova Scotia Government is currently supporting the
unprecedented expansion of industrial scale open-pen salmon aquaculture
along our shores and some near the mouth of our salmon rivers. As
President of the Medway River Salmon Association, I feel we need to be
kept informed on all aquaculture projects as it poses potential threats
to the marine environment and wild salmon populations. In so
doing, this will provide our Association with a new site for
02 July, 2014 Earlier this year "A Review of the Feasibility of Land-Based Closed-Containment Atlantic Salmon Operations in Nova Scotia" by Gardner Pinfold was released. Commenting on that study is a thoughtful review by Stewart Lamont, Managing Director,Tangier Lobster Company Limited, June 2014. Click here to read his comments.
18 June, 2014 The roundtable final report of the Nova Scotia Aquaculture Regulatory Review Committee his now been released. Click here to read the report.
04 May, 2014 The Salmon
Preservation Association for the Waters of Newfoundland (SPAWN) would
endorse a land based Atlantic Salmon farm pilot project in Newfoundland
and Labrador. Read their explanatory document here.
21 January, 2014 The Ecology Action Centre has announced it is going to court over genetically modified salmon. Click here to read the details.
28 November, 2013
Wildlife Federation have just issued a comprehensive overview document
about aquaculture. Entitled "Aquaculture", it can be viewed by clicking here.
22 November, 2013
MRSA today released its aquaculture policy by way of a memorandum:
July 17, 2013
To Whom It May Concern:
Medway River Salmon Association fully supports all forms of aquaculture
provided that the salmon industry adheres to the following:
uses technology that eliminates the risks of disease and parasite transfer as well as fish escapes;
guarantees untreated waste is not released into the ocean;
labels fish as ‘farmed’ so consumers can make informed choices;
develops feed for farmed salmon that doesn’t deplete fish stocks around the world;
ensures wildlife is not harmed as a result of fish farming;
prohibits the use of genetically modified fish;
reduces and/or eliminates the use of chemicals, antibiotics and pesticides in fish farming;
ensures contaminants in farmed fish don’t exceed levels deemed safe by international standards; and
stops locating fish farms in areas opposed by Aboriginal groups or other local communities.
conclusion, if we develop commerce scale closed containment salmon
farms, whether sited on water or land, closed –tank systems can
eliminate escapes and greatly reduce the risk of disease and parasite
transfer to wild salmon. In addition it will provide employment
opportunities in the rural areas of Nova Scotia.
Horace MacPherson President, Mersey River Salmon Association
04 May, 2013 The following media release has just been issued by the Government of Nova Scotia.
FISHERIES/AQUACULTURE--New Aquaculture Regulations to Better Protect Coastal Communities ----------------------------------------------------------------- The province is protecting coastal communities by making sure aquaculture grows in a sustainable way.Fisheries
and Aquaculture Minister Sterling Belliveau announced a plan today, May
1, to development a new regulatory framework for the aquaculture
industry through consultations with Nova Scotians.
who live in coastal communities want good jobs, but not at any cost,"
said Mr. Belliveau. "This government recognizes that the aquaculture industry
is an important part of rural communities. By developing strong
regulations and enforcement we will help the industry grow in a way
that balances economic development and environmental protection."
work will be led by Dalhousie University law professors and
environmental law experts Meinhard Doelle and William Lahey. They will
by an advisory committee chosen to represent stakeholders and community
interests including the Mi'kmaq, Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia,
Nova Scotia Salmon Association, Nova Scotia Fisheries Sector Council,
Ecology Action Centre and the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities.
look forward to working with the advisory committee, key stakeholders,
scientific experts, and members of the public to develop a regulatory framework
for aquaculture that best serves the long-term social, environmental
and economic interests of the province," said Mr. Doelle.
Doelle and Mr. Lahey, assisted by the advisory committee and a
scientific advisory committee to be struck later, will consider a full
range of impacts, benefits and risks that should be addressed through regulation.They will use a multi-phased process of public and stakeholder consultation, the first phase of which will begin this summer.
members are committed to farming responsibly in Nova Scotia," said
Bruce Hancock, executive director of the Aquaculture Association of
"We believe that clearly written regulations are an important part of
sustainable expansion of aquaculture in Nova Scotia and will help build
public confidence in our industry."
It is anticipated the department will receive recommendations to develop regulations by the end of 2014.
our vantage point, aquaculture regulations are failing to protect Nova
Scotian communities and the environment and thus we welcome a
comprehensive review of the regulatory system and options going
forward," said Ecology Action Centre policy director Mark Butler.
"There are sustainable opportunities in aquaculture, but they must not
come at the expense of the ecosystem or other marine industries."
development of regulations for the aquaculture industry was part of the
action plan from the province's first aquaculture strategy, released in
May 2012. The aquaculture industry generates about $50 million annually.
in aquaculture can provide meaningful work that will sustain rural
communities and maintain their quality of life. It could mean the difference for young people and families who want to remain and thrive in rural and coastal Nova Scotia," said Mr. Belliveau.
The seven members of the advisory committee are:
-- Chief Terry Paul, Membertou, Chief of the Membertou First Nation -- Bruce Hancock, Halifax, executive director, Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia -- Lisa Fitzgerald, Yarmouth, executive director of the Nova Scotia Fisheries Sector Council -- Karen Traversy, Clam Bay, Halifax Regional Municipality, Coastal Coalition of Nova Scotia -- Carl Purcell, Dartmouth, past president, Nova Scotia Salmon Association -- Mark Butler, Halifax, policy director, Ecology Action Centre
A representative of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities will be named soon.
15 April, 2013 The
released of the video Salmon Wars in mid-2012 provided an excellent
overview of the open pen salmon aquaculture issue. This video has
now been augmented by the video Salmon Confidential which provides a
focus on government involvement from the viewpoint of marine biologist
Alexandra Morton. Each video is not short but each is worth the
investment of time to view.
04 March, 2013 Shelburne
Harbour in Shelburne County has become a source of aquaculture
controversy having been exposed to the long term presence and growth of
a number of open-pen sites. Local resident, Herschel Specter, has
picked up the gauntlet, fighting the issue in the courts and the media.
With others, he formed the Friends of Shelburn Harbour.
At the end of 2012 he began to write a series of letters
outlining the specifics of his many concerns. The letters contain
a wealth of statistics which he ably presents to show that things as
stated by government and industry sources are not what they might seem.
Click here to read his
series of informative letters.
02 March, 2013 The
Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) and TCFFI believe that land-based
closed-containment systems are a cost-effective and environmentally
friendly farming method, with the potential to eliminate the use of
vaccines, antibiotics, pesticides, and other harsh chemicals in salmon
farming. Their goal with this technology is to provide fish farmers and
entrepreneurs an opportunity to choose an innovative, alternative
method to grow fish – a method which we believe is not only better for
the environment, but for business as well. They recognize,
however, that many challenges exist in promoting positive change in the
aquaculture industry, and that overcoming the status quo and its
inherent resistance to paradigm shifts may take considerable time.
Nonetheless, they hope that the myriad benefits of closed containment,
water recirculation technologies will speak for themselves, and that
industry will embrace these innovations following successful,
commercial-scale demonstration of their feasibility.See their attached final report detailing the results of their closed containment feasibility study. 31 January, 2013 With
infectious salmon anemia growing in virulence, and the Canadian Food
inspection Agency allowing the sale for human consumption of diseased
fish, the Atlantic Salmon Federation has re-issued the call for a
moratorium on any new open pen salmon farm licences, and for
governments to support closed, land based containment systems. Click here to view their media release. 19 December, 2012 Christopher Majkais a biologist,
environmentalist, policy analyst, and arts advocate. He conducts
research on the ecology and biodiversity of beetles. He is a research
associate of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-NS and a
member of the Project Democracy
team. An article of his
entitled "Down our throats: Fed-up with salmon feedlots" was published
in the December 11, 2012 edition of Rabble.ca. It provides a good
overview of the many downsides to open pen salmon farming with some
commentary on its deliterious effects. Click here to read the article, re-published here by kind permission of Rabble.ca.
24 July, 2012 Here are three video messages
pointing out the viral and bacterial consequences of
open pen fish farming. These messages are related but
do not have to be viewed in sequence or in one
sitting. The main point of these messages is what
occurs under these fish farms will not stay under
these farms. The viruses and bacteria and
antibiotics, etc., enter the food chain and are
distributed on land and throughout our communities.
08 July, 2012 Parasite-ridden salmon sold in B.C. stores. See video here. (Link may have a limited shelf life). 04 June, 2012 The Government of Nova Scotia has now released it's Aquaculture Strategy and is inviting comments. 24 May, 2012 A paper forwarded by Karen Crocker of St Mary's Bay Coastal Alliance, entitled "Summary of Scientific Papers on Impacts of Open Net Pen Farming on Wild Populations and the Natural Environment"was recently prepared and is offered here as a factual, well referenced source about aquaculture issues.The
paper was by Susanna D. Fuller, PhD., and Heather Grant, BSc., both
from the Ecology Action Centre Marine Issues Committee. 09 May, 2012 The
following letter was sent to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency by
Mayday Shelburne County. It expresses well the concerns around
open pen fish aquaculture, in particular some of the huge financial
costs being borne by the public for the industry's many, predictable
Dr. Brian Evans Chief Food Safety Officer Chief Veterinary Officer CFIA
Dear Dr. Evans,
The community of Jordan Bay is writing to respectfully request the
immediate halt to the lease application by Cooke Aquaculture for
open-pen finfish sites for our bay, based on the implications of the
Shelburne Harbour quarantine.
The proximity of Jordan Bay to Shelburne Harbour puts our bay
immediately at risk. We understand that the ISA virus has the potential
to travel several kilometres from an infected site. Jordan Bay and the
McNutt's Island open-pen site are approximately 5 kilometres
apart. It is difficult to understand how the quarantine of an
open-pen site would be able to contain a virus that has now been
present in the area for months. Boat traffic has been ongoing during
that time - all boats entering Shelburne Harbour have to pass by the
McNutt's Island open-pen site. Biosecurity does not exist and is impossible to achieve in this situation.
It is presumed that all site gear going to the proposed sites in Jordan
Bay would be built in Shelburne and towed to Jordan Bay. Ongoing site
service would likely come from Shelburne Harbour where Kelly Cove has a
storage facility and a private wharf. In fact, unused cages from
Shelburne Harbour could possibly be a source of gear for Jordan Bay
sites. Boats from several south shore harbours come and go to the boat
yards in Shelburne for maintenance and repairs.
Virtually no harbour is protected while this traffic continues.
Cooke Aquaculture representative, Nel Halse, has recently stated
publicly that ISA "definitely comes from the wild" and that "wild fish
cannot be tested." If placing salmon in open-pens in the marine
environment puts them immediately at risk for contracting ISA from wild
fish, then infection is entirely predictable. This reality is reflected
in the fact that Cooke Aquaculture has been dealing unsuccessfully with
ISA outbreaks since the 1990's - in N.B., Maine, Chile - and now in
If there is no protocol for the testing of wild fish, then there is
also no way to find the source of ISA or to know if any area is
infection-free. It would be irresponsible to introduce fish into the
marine environment with the knowledge that they risk contracting the
ISA virus. The only way to protect "farmed" fish would be to place them
in containment facilities on land.
It is actually the wild fish that are endangered by being exposed to
the teeming amount of ISA in open-net cages. If wild fish go on to
infect other open-net cages, as postulated, then the original problem
started with the infected open net cages not the wild fish. This is why
a minimum of 3 kilometers spacing between open net cages is recommended
by DFO in its open net siting guidance “A Guide to the Decision
Support System for Environmental Assessment of Marine Finfish
Aquaculture” DFO Rpt. #2426. The Jordan Bay and Blue Island sites
are too close to each other and to other finfish sites in the area, all
of which are experiencing severe environmental problems.
The McNutt's Island site is closer to the proposed Jordan Bay sites
than to the inner Shelburne Harbour sites, which are now under
In addition, no level of government has identified the source of the
ISA infection. Although wild fish have been implicated as the source of
ISA, it is also possible that the infection was introduced with the
smolts. We request that CFIA reveal the source of the ISA infection -
is this a wild strain or did it originate in a hatchery ?
CFIA has publicly stated that at least two strains of ISA have been
discovered. Our community is entitled to information regarding the
strain of ISA in order to do our own analysis of the DNA sequencing. We
ask that CFIA provide this information to us in order to protect our
area from a virus of unknown virulence. The economy of our fishing
community depends on the health of the marine environment. We have a
right to protect our bay.
When companies are repeatedly compensated, taxpayers have to bear the
financial burden. Compensation to the aquaculture industry in N.B. has
reached over $75 million since the 1990's. This is also an entirely
predictable scenario for NS. CFIA has publicly stated that Cooke
Aquaculture could receive upwards of $30.00 per fish slaughtered which
could amount to almost $21,000,000.00 in compensation for the McNutt's
Island site alone.
An ISA outbreak at the proposed Jordan Bay sites (stocked with
2,000,000 fish), would cost taxpayers as much as $60 million dollars in
compensation.Why should taxpayers be financially responsible for the
diseased stock of a private company with a history of ISA
outbreaks ? Why would any level of government allow this scenario to be
repeated, asking taxpayers to bear this financial burden ?
Even if ISA poses no direct threat to lobster stocks, perception in the
marketplace that lobster may have come from an area infected with ISA
is prejudicial to the lobster market. Why would any company want to put
the reputation of another fishery at risk ?
We ask that CFIA take a precautionary approach and halt the lease
application for proposed sites in Jordan Bay, NS. There is no
scientific or experiential basis to approve the Jordan Bay and Blue
Please respond to our request in writing at your earliest convenience.
Sincerely, Sindy Horncastle Marilyn Moore Mayday-Shelburne County Jordan Bay, NS
24 April, 2012 Written by Dr. Roderick D. O’Sullivan BDS, M.Sc., the problems with open pen aquaculture are well stated in his recent article "Farmed Salmon - A Dream Turned Nightmare". 07 April, 2012 There
are a series of videos on YouTube entitled The Green Interview.
Presented by journalist, Silver Donald Cameron, they look at the
issue of open pen aquacilture. The following are just a
sample of what is available. Many more are available through the Green Interview Chanel.