Burin Penin­sula Joint Coun­cil sup­ports salmon pro­duc­tion project

The Southern Gazette - - EDITORIAL - Everett Far­well

My name is Everett Far­well and I am chair­per­son of the Burin Penin­sula Joint Coun­cil. The joint coun­cil is a re­gional or­ga­ni­za­tion whose aims and ob­jec­tives in­clude to seek so­lu­tions to com­mon prob­lems and to stim­u­late re­gional growth.

The ex­ec­u­tive of the joint coun­cil con­sists of re­gional mu­nic­i­pal may­ors and coun­cil­lors and a lo­cal ser­vice dis­trict rep­re­sen­ta­tive. The ex­ec­u­tive sup­ports the Grieg NL salmon pro­duc­tion clus­ter in Pla­cen­tia Bay and the Burin Penin­sula area of New­found­land and is con­tent that Grieg NL has met or sur­passed all the re­quire­ments un­der the fed­eral and pro­vin­cial en­vi­ron­men­tal assess­ment process.

Mr. Steve Sut­ton of the At­lantic Salmon Fed­er­a­tion is quoted as say­ing “that a com­pre­hen­sive en­vi­ron­men­tal assess­ment in­clud­ing gath­er­ing data on lo­cal wild stocks could take years.” De­lay­ing the Grieg NL At­lantic salmon project for years to col­lect such data is wrong and un­rea­son­able and should in­stead in­clude in stud­ies to help de­ter­mine why over­all salmon stocks/re­turns in New­found­land, the At­lantic prov­inces and else­where in North Amer­ica seem to be de­clin­ing.

Mr. Bill Tay­lor, pres­i­dent of the At­lantic Salmon Fed­er­a­tion, in his let­ter to the ed­i­tor en­ti­tled “There is a way for­ward for Grieg” pub­lished in the Aug. 22, 2017, edi­tion of the South­ern Gazette said, “there ap­pears to be no recog­ni­tion that Judge Gillian But­ler’s rul­ing is a sen­si­ble, rea­son­able com­pro­mise.” We, the ex­ec­u­tive, do not agree with Mr. Tay­lor. The ini­tial pro­vin­cial en­vi­ron­men­tal re­view process re­quested of Grieg NL was not only ex­ten­sive but also in­volved par­tic­i­pa­tion with mul­ti­ple pro­vin­cial and fed­eral de­part­ments that meet or ex­ceeded all the rea­son­able re­quire­ment that may be laid out un­der the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact study. How many times will Grieg NL be asked to prove them­selves and just what are they be­ing asked to do? With two years’ worth of en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ments com­pleted, what new in­for­ma­tion is to be gained? This de­ci­sion is re­sult­ing in de­lays while peo­ple on the Burin Penin­sula may be on the verge of los­ing their homes or de­cid­ing to move away while we wait.

Decades have come and gone since my­self, other in­di­vid­u­als and or­ga­ni­za­tions lob­bied pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment to en­cour­age and at­tract salmon and other aqua­cul­ture op­er­a­tors/own­ers to use Pla­cen­tia Bay. You can just imag­ine our de­light when we heard that the Grieg Group in Nor­way and OCI, through a me­moran­dum of un­der­stand­ing with the Gov­ern­ment of New­found­land and Labrador, was es­tab­lish­ing the world’s most modern and sus­tain­able salmon pro­duc­tion clus­ter in the Pla­cen­tia Bay and Burin Penin­sula area of New­found­land. Grieg, with 25 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in salmon farm­ing and plans to build the largest land-based salmon fa­cil­ity ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing over seven mil­lion smolt yearly — just imag­ine the op­por­tu­ni­ties for em­ploy­ment and the busi­ness own­ers as well as re­gional and pro­vin­cial eco­nomics.

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