Submission to Government of Nova Scotia and Canada against aquaculture site development
MORATORIUM ON OPEN NET FISH FARMS IN CANADIAN WATERS
This is a letter of submission drafted for all Canadians to sign that will be submitted to our Provincial and Federal governments outlining how we as members of coastal communities and all Canadians feel about how our resources are used and developed. We must all have a say in how our elected officials work to develop the areas we live in. We must live with the choices made by few that effect many. If you are interested in having your voice heard please take the time to read this letter and if you are in agreement sign it so we can have our say....the oceans of Canada and the resources in them belong to the Canadian People.
To: The Hon. Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans TheHon. Jim Prentice, Minister of the Environment The Hon. Darrell Dexter, Premier Nova Scotia Hon. Sterling Belliveau, Minister NS Fisheries and Aquaculture, Minister NS Environment
Submission to the Government Nova Scotia and Canada.
We, the undersigned, welcome economic development in our rural communities and will collaborate with governments to enable the development of appropriate new business opportunities. Such new businesses must coincide with our principles, improve the sustainable economies of our communities, and subsequently provide substantial reinvestment into our communities.
The development of industrial, open-net aquaculture operations in our communities, such as have been proposed by Kelly Cove Salmon Ltd. for St. Mary’s Bay at Freeport, Long Island, go against our values and principles, and as such are inappropriate and unacceptable. (See Communities Values and Principles below signatories.)
Pollution Impact on Environment and Communities: Open-net aquaculture operations discharge feed waste, chemicals, antibiotics, pesticides, and vast amounts of fecal waste, causing harm and significant degradation to the ocean’s eco-system. Industrial, open-net aquaculture farms plague their communities with unclear and polluted waters, nuisance algae, noise, bad odours, and greasy surface films that contaminate the shoreline. The adverse effects on residents’ quality of life are significant.
Fishing Issues: These proposed operations would encroach upon fishing grounds already licensed by DFO and would negatively affect First Nations’ traditional food and commercial fisheries. Currently both provincial and federal agencies grant licenses and leases for the same area. These jurisdictional issues need to be resolved.
The proposed sites are atop high yield/high quality lobster grounds. St. Mary’s Bay is a prime lobster nursery. Pesticides typically used (and unauthorized pesticides used) in finfish operations are toxic to the marine environment, including all life stages of lobsters. The authorization of pesticides in open-net operations ignores Environment Canada’s legislated precautionary principle and DFO’s responsibility to protect fish and fish habitat from the discharge of deleterious substances. Displacement of fishermen, and the alteration and degradation of this habitat, will have significant, far-reaching, adverse economic impacts on the lobster fishery and on other traditional fisheries – herring, scallops, clams, mussels, periwinkle, sea urchins, groundfish, etc. Harvesters of dulce, rockweed, and the like will be compromised and put at risk due to the degradation of the marine eco-system caused by these proposed feed-lot operations. The endangered wild Atlantic salmon is put at further risk by farm escapes.
Tourism Issues: The eco-tourism industry will be negatively affected by these industrial operations. Our natural coastal waters and pristine shores, along with the marine mammals and birds that dwell among or frequent them, are elemental to eco-tourism in this area. Any environmental degradation and/or disruption to these will cause its decline.
Socio -Economic Issues: While jobs are promised by the proponents of these proposed operations, they are minimal, in both number and wages. And, these operations will put all existing fisheries and eco-tourism jobs – livelihoods that sustain these communities – at significant risk. Open-net finfish aquaculture operations expose communities to unacceptable environmental and socio-economic risks and provide next to nothing in return.
Regulation Issues: Stewardship of the environment is a mandatory role of government. The same governmental agencies both promote and regulate the aquaculture industry. This is an irreconcilable conflict of interest. Protection of the environment, transparency, accountability and enforceable regulations do not and cannot exist in this governmental scheme. Promotion and regulation must be separated.
Conclusions: We are opposed to governments’ promotion of economic development that is not in the best interests of the public or the communities and regions in which such developments would be sited. And, promotion of such flies in the face of the province’s own community development principles.
We are opposed to the open-net aquaculture operation proposed for St. Mary’s Bay, and to all commercial open-net finfish aquaculture in Atlantic Canada. We demand that a moratorium be placed on the issuance of licenses for all new commercial open-net finfish operations and the expansion of existing sites. Before this industry is further developed in any way, we demand that: jurisdictional issues be resolved; release of pesticides/deleterious substances into the marine environment are banned; a full Strategic Environmental Assessment be conducted, guided by the precautionary principle that is recognized in both federal and provincial legislation, that includes evaluation of oceanographic, ecological, community socio-economic issues, and all alternative finfish aquaculture systems (closed containment); and the governmental roles of promotion and regulation are separated.
Further, we support a requirement that commercial finfish aquaculture operations be moved to land-based, closed containment facilities, which are more sustainable, do not put existing fisheries at risk, produce a healthier product, and spare the marine environment from degradation, while still meeting the government’s objectives of developing aquaculture and creating jobs. Therefore, we urge MPs to support Bill C-518.
We suggest that Nova Scotia and Canada have an opportunity to become world leaders in the development of land-based, closed containment aquaculture. The world market is dependent upon consumer demand. A long-term, sustainable strategy is needed. Open-net product is becoming unacceptable to consumers. Demand for closed containment, farmed fish is on the rise. Meeting that demand would signify high standards and respect for the environment, for consumers, and for communities.
The Values and Principles of our Communities:
The Community Development Policy of the Nova Scotian government states that the provincial government should respect local values. To determine our values, we brought together citizens who reflected the diversity of our area on Sept 13, 2010 in Freeport. We came to consensus on the following values and economic development principles:
Environmental stewardship: maintaining and protecting a clean environment, functioning eco-systems, and our natural resources.
Independent hard work by local business owners: where profits stay in the community/are reinvested in the community.
Our historical, traditional, local and intergenerational knowledge.
Our sense of community and local democratic practices.
Our quality of life : being surrounded by a peaceful, natural environment and all of the marvels and bounty that it provides for us.
Protection and promotion of our way of life, and our human and ecological rights.
A collaborative approach to community development which builds on and further enhances the skills and resources of the community.
The leadership role which the community must play in its economic and social development.
The existing community‘s capacity and assets including the character, strength, diversity and independent spirit of the individuals who comprise our community.
A long-term perspective in the development of our community which will enhance rather than compromise opportunities for future generations.
Our Economic Development Principles:
Economic activities in the region must build upon the existing ecology and not detract from it.
The community must take the lead in its own development; the community must approve any proposed development which would impact it environmentally and/or socio-economically.
The lifestyle and quality of life of the communities are to be preserved and enhanced through the communities’ promotion of complementary, sustainable economic development.
The do- no- harm-principle applies to new economic development with respect to the preservation and management of our natural resources and environment.
Any economic development must be transparent and accountable to the community and any other stakeholders.
True community participation and consultation must be a cornerstone of any proposed economic development.
New economic development will not put at risk, nor compromise, existing livelihoods.
cc: Right Hon. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, Hon. David Alward, Premier New Brunswick, Hon.Robert Ghiz, Premier PEI, Hon. Danny Williams, Premier Newfoundland and Labrador Hon. Mike Olscamp, Minister NB Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Hon. Neil LeClair , Minister PEI Fisheries, Aquaculture and Rural Development Hon. Clyde Jackman, Minister NL Dept. Fisheries and Aquaculture, Hon. Michael Ignatieff, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada Hon. Jack Layton, Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada Ms. Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada