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In late January, 2015 Cooke Aquaculture started harvesting or culling salmon from their feedlots in the Shelburne area. In an effort to follow the chain of events, I contacted N.S. Government – Dept of Fisheries & Aquaculture, specifically, Bruce Hancock, director of the aquaculture division – and former PR flack for the NS Aquaculture Association. Mr. Hancock’s advice was to contact Cooke directly for this information. The response is puzzling, as I thought Mr. Hancock worked for the government not Cooke!

Information around salmon feedlot harvesting, especially in winter, is relevant information for the communities and interested parties to have. If we are to believe the recent lauded Doelle-Lahey Report, we are untitled to have it.

In 2014 winter harvesting of Cooke’s Port Wade operation in the Annapolis Basin was a disaster, with over 100 tonnes of dead salmon disposed of. This, in addition to the harvesting of salmon infected with ISA (Infected Salmon Anemia), is information that is relevant to all Nova Scotians. In 2013, ISA infected salmon from the Coffin Island site in Liverpool Bay were harvested by Cooke, with CFIA approval, and sold in grocery stores in Atlantic Canada.

Consumers beware!

The first request for information from Mr. Hancock was January 22, 2015. To date, no info has been forthcoming. Makes me wonder what his immediate boss, Hon. Keith Colwell, Minister of Fisheries & Aquaculture, is doing about it, as he was copied with my correspondence to Hancock.

In addition, I ask what the Premier is doing about the foot dragging of the Fisheries & Aquaculture Department? Does Mr. McNeil not realize open pen salmon feedlots will be a federal election issue in South West Nova Scotia in 2015!?

Time for the Premier to smell the coffee and have Mr. Hancock and Keith Colwell provide the information sought.

Time to have open pen salmon feedlots removed from coastal waters.

As Mssrs. Doelle, Lahey and the premier himself say, “Time for transparency in government.”

Darrell Tingley
Coastal Community Advocates