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Port Medway, Nova Scotia – August, 2011…

Farmed vs Wild Atlantic Salmon has

dominated the agenda in the area from St.

Mary’s Bay to Port Medway the spring and

summer of 2011.

First, was the approval, by the regulatory
bodies of the various government
departments, to an application by Cooke
Aquaculture for two open pen net cages in St.
Mary’s Bay that will hold approximately two
million salmon. These cages will be placed in
prime lobster fishing territory and, in fact,
will displace some lobster fishers. Despite
opposition from many areas, Mr. Belliveau,
Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, put the stamp of
approval on the application. The matter is
now before the courts.

Second was an application by Cooke to add
an additional three open pen cages for salmon
in the Outer Shelburne Harbour, Jordan Bay
and West Green Harbour. The application has
drawn loud protest from the community.
However Mr. Belliveau, who appears joined
at the hip with Cooke Aquaculture, has
dismissed any science arguments and is more
than willing to approve the three new sites.
The third was the transfer of the Ocean Farms
Rainbow Trout operation in Liverpool Bay,
just off Coffin Island, to Cooke Aquaculture
to raise 700,000 salmon. This was done
without the knowledge of the local
community and/or fishing organizations. The
salmon smolt for this operation came from
Antigonish County and St. Stephen, N.B. The
salmon eggs, in both cases, are from of Saint
John, N.B. River stock. As far as genetics go
they might as well have come from Norway
or Russia!

The“carrot” dangled by the Minister of
Fisheries is the possibility that Cooke
Aquaculture might build a processing plant in
South West Nova Scotia. This would be part
of a planned expenditure of 150 million over
5 years and upwards of 400 jobs. However,
this is contingent on Cooke getting all of its
leases approved in advance without any
written guarantee to build a plant. As well,
how many tax payers dollars will be needed
for Cooke to proceed? My guess, if we look
at other investments in the province the
majority of dollars will have to come from
the government.

One must remember that this same
government refused to invest 7 million
dollars for the Yarmouth Ferry which resulted
in the direct loss of over 200 direct good
paying jobs and the loss of a thousand indirect
jobs in the tourist industry. Cooke jobs
pay just above minimum wage so does an
investment of 50 to 100 million tax payers
dollars make sense for 300 minimum wage
jobs?

 

If Mr. Belliveau and the Dexter government
are going to shell out millions of dollars to
Cooke to expand fin fish aquaculture in Nova
Scotia, and a processing plant in Shelburne
County, I trust that closed contained sites will
be the order of the day. These contained sites
could be built adjacent to the proposed
processing plant to protect the environment
and eliminate escapes. This way our tax
dollars will be put to good use in construction
jobs, as well, jobs in the fish processing
plant.

Yours in Conservation
Darrell Tingley

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