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from a press release: Members of the Atlantic Coalition for Aquaculture Reform (ACAR) applaud and support the actions taken by Environment Canada in response to the illegal discharge of toxic pesticides into waters surrounding lobster fisheries in the Bay of Fundy, in contravention of the Canadian Fisheries Act. Kelly Cove Salmon, a division of Cooke Aquaculture, and three of the company’s executives are each facing 11 counts in this matter.

Large scale aquaculture production and the need to keep down infestations of sea lice that have become resistant to approved treatments have led salmon farmers to seek approval and use of increasingly toxic and harsh chemicals. “The threats to the marine environment, lobster and other species presented by the unlawful introduction of cypermethrin or other noxious chemicals are threats to all who depend on a healthy ocean,” said ACAR spokesperson and Fundy Baykeeper Matthew Abbott.

While understanding that the charges have yet to be heard or proven in court, ACAR members are pleased that Environment Canada has remained vigilant and has conducted a thorough, two-year investigation into the allegations. “We look forward to seeing the judicial system get to the bottom of the circumstances which caused the deaths of so many hundreds of lobsters,” comments Maria Recchia, executive director of the Fundy North Fishermen’s Association, a member of ACAR. “We think the investigation and charges send a strong signal to the aquaculture industry that breaching the rules that govern us all regarding the protection of the marine environment will not be tolerated.”

ACAR urges governments to consider that a healthy ocean supports many types of jobs, including those in the lobster fishing industry, and no job should depend on poisoning our natural resources.

Coincidentally, the federal government has just published in the Canada Gazette Part I of a Notice of Intent to implement new regulations concerning fish pathogen and pest treatments. ACAR members have repeatedly expressed concern that these new regulations will, in effect, further facilitate the use of pesticides in the marine environment. Abbott adds that “the proposed fish pathogen and pest treatment regulations threaten to push Environment Canada out of the picture when it comes to the regulation of approved pesticides. Over the past two years, we have seen Environment Canada as the only government agency taking action concerning aquaculture pesticide use.”

The open net pen salmon industry is implicated globally in widespread negative environmental impacts. It is well past time for Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the provincial governments that are home to salmon aquaculture (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador) to implement and enforce a strong regulatory regime to control these negative impacts. Land-based aquaculture, separating farmed fish from the marine environment, is a solution that government and industry should be taking seriously.

Atlantic Coalition for Aquaculture Reform members include: Fundy North Fishermen’s Association, Grand Manan Fishermen’s Association, Fundy Weir Fishermen’s Association, Ecology Action Centre, Fundy Baykeeper, CCNB Action, St. Mary’s Bay Coastal Alliance Society, Friar’s Bay Development Association, Friends of Shelburne Harbour, MAYDAY-Shelburne County, Partnership for the Sustainable Development of Digby Neck & Islands Society, Atlantic Salmon Federation, New Brunswick Salmon Council, Nova Scotia Salmon Association, Salmonid Council of Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island Council – Atlantic Salmon Federation

For more information contact:

Matthew Abbott, 506-529-8838, 506-321-0429

Maria Recchia, 506-467-4730