Ar­gu­ments in the aqua­cul­ture case are flawed

The Southern Gazette - - Editorial - Rick Mad­di­gan St. John’s

Dear Edi­tor,

I dropped by the Court of Ap­peal re­cently to hear the ar­gu­ments in the Grieg aqua­cul­ture case. Both Grieg and our gov­ern­ment ar­gued that the project should not have been stopped be­cause all the neg­a­tive en­vi­ron­men­tal as­pects of the project could be mit­i­gated as the project pro­ceeded.

How scary and short­sighted is that type of ar­gu­ment when it comes to our en­vi­ron­ment?

Firstly, not all the Grieg prob­lems can be mit­i­gated. Take, for ex­am­ple, pack ice in Pla­cen­tia Bay. In their pro­posal, Grieg stated that Pla­cen­tia Bay is an ice-free bay. Well, any glance at Canada Coast Guard’s ice maps from April 2017 will show just how wrong they were. The pack ice was so bad last April that even the lob­ster fish­er­men de­layed putting their pots out. Make no mis­take about it, had the Grieg pens been in the bay at that time, we would have had 7 mil­lion fake salmon swim­ming freely in Pla­cen­tia Bay, no jobs at all for the area res­i­dents and a loss of $45 mil­lion of our tax­pay­ers’ dol­lars. And oh, by the way, can any­one tell Grieg and our gov­ern­ment how to mit­i­gate pack ice?

And the sec­ond fun­da­men­tal prob­lem with the Grieg/gov­ern­ment ar­gu­ment is that if we don’t do fur­ther study we may miss some­thing new and im­por­tant. Heaven for­bid we should find out the truth! The whole pur­pose of an en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact state­ment is to fully study all po­ten­tial prob­lems of any new project. What about if the new Grieg for­eign strain of salmon doesn’t adapt well to our wa­ters? What about if their new es­cape-proof nets can’t even hold up to our wind and tides? And what about…

The list of po­ten­tial prob­lems goes on and on.

Can some­one in gov­ern­ment please tell me what is wrong with a lit­tle fur­ther study of this project?

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