Rules about aquaculture waste too lax
I write regarding Environmental Assessment project 1874. A new open-net pen aquaculture rendering plant is being proposed in Harbour Breton to handle the diseased and dead fish and processing waste that will come from an expanded open-net pen aquaculture industry that disguises itself as fish “production” (it is really fish reduction, but that is another story).
All current and future aquaculture waste processing in Canada should be required to remove the persistent organic pollutants (POPs) that bind at rates four to 11 times higher in fish fat than in terrestrial animal fat. This removal of these dangerous toxins is now common practice in Norway and includes all the major players, such as Marine Harvest, that recycle aquaculture fish trimmings and copious dead diseased fish. While the list of POPs removed can and should be expanded on by the aquaculture feed pellet, fishmeal and fish oil companies globally, Canada should be requiring at least the minimum that others are doing.
Instead, Canada has ignored regulating many POPs, and of the few we do regulate, like PCBs, government has continually increased the allowable levels of these POPs to insane levels in aquaculturemade fish and renderings. For example, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency allows the rendering of aquaculture fish that concentrates PCBs at one million times higher than allowed in, say, pork. These recycled renderings are most often re-fed to the fish, leaving the toxins in our food chain, despite the fact that the technology to remove them has existed for many years.
The insane profits these opennet pen companies run off with are at our expense and due to our ignorance and government inaction and, more importantly, co-investment.
The general public has no clue that the fatty aquaculture fish, namely trout and salmon, dramatically accumulate toxins in their fat, nor how industry is allowed to compost and dump these toxins on our fields, or silage/render/dry the aquaculture waste and refeed the toxins to the open-net pen aquaculture salmon and trout.
The accumulation and then recycling of these POPs, like PCBs, dioxin, etc., in the aquaculture industry is the critical bottleneck in our food sector where we have an opportunity to remove POPs. The small added expense and extra equipment that would be required in our waste-processing plants to remove the POPs must be demanded by government and the public made aware of why it is necessary.
The insane profits these opennet pen companies run off with are at our expense and due to our ignorance and government inaction and, more importantly, co-investment. I would invite investigative journalists to get involved in this issue as, after all, they eat here, too. The maturing of the social and ethical responsibilities of this industry is only going to happen if we make it happen.
Happy new improved year.