Nova Scotia panel also finds majority of participants with serious concerns about adverse impact of aquaculture.
The Newfoundland government has released a document on what it heard during recent consultations on the aquaculture industry. The document outlines a number of issues including disease management, building a sustainable industry, the poor public perception of salmon farming, and the difficulty in recruiting workers to the seasonal industry.
Fisheries Minister Keith Hutchings says feedback from the online consultations will help to improve and support the growing industry.industry. This feedback can be summarized as follows:
• Salmonid aquaculture should not contribute to wild salmon declines. Disease on the farm must be controlled and escapes must be limited.
• The definition of sustainability needs to be clearly articulated.
• Government must ensure sustainable policies consider the best available science and must help collect that science where knowledge gaps exist.
• Government must ensure industry is following best practices for site selection, biosecurity, and environmental protection.
• Net pen operations should not be located near wild salmon rivers.
• Excess food/fecal matter must not impact organisms such as lobster. Improved techniques and greater effort must be made to monitor the impacts of salmon aquaculture.
• Operational waste management options are critical to sustainable development.
• Veterinary products used to protect against pathogens must not harm the environment or human health.
• Government should be open to the development of land-based, closed-containment aquaculture facilities in the province to promote sustainability.
Public attitudes about the industrial grade salmon farming practiced by Cooke Aquaculture and other huge multi-national firms has deteriorated in recent years, due to on-going problems with sea lice and the enforced slaughter of millions of salmon due to virulent infectious disease (ISA), combined with $100 million or more in public subsidies for the dead fish.
The conviction of the top three Cooke Aquaculture executives last year on more than two dozen criminal charges for the dumping of illegal pesticides in the Bay of Fundy has also added to growing concerns about the viability of the industry in the region.
An aquaculture regulatory review is underway ion Nova Scotia and a final report is expected from the panel by the end of 2014.
In December, the panel published a document detailing the issues raised in preliminary outreach sessions with citizens and stake holders. As an introduction, the panel said:
The majority of those who participated in the meetings expressed serious concerns about the adverse impact of aquaculture and the inadequacy of the current regulation of the industry. Much of this concern was concentrated on
what was generally called open‐pen salmon or finfish aquaculture…