Stop putting our At­lantic salmon at risk

The Western Star - - EDITORIAL -

Nor­we­gian-funded salmon aqua­cul­ture is sink­ing mil­lions of dol­lars into es­tab­lish­ing fish farms along the south coast of New­found­land.

We have good leg­is­la­tion to ex­am­ine the en­vi­ron­men­tal con­se­quences of these pro­pos­als but the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment wants to look the other way and let any­thing in if it cre­ates em­ploy­ment.

Last year when they did this for a Pla­cen­tia Bay project, I brought a court ap­pli­ca­tion in my own name op­pos­ing their ac­tions. The At­lantic Salmon Fed­er­a­tion later joined in and Madame Jus­tice Gil­lian But­ler ruled that a proper en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ment was re­quired.

For anybody who has any doubts about the en­vi­ron­men­tal risks we are tak­ing, sim­ply Google: “en­vi­ron­men­tal prob­lems salmon Chile.” Or change “Chile” to “Nor­way” in your search.

The huge en­vi­ron­men­tal costs are found in the fol­low­ing ar­ti­cle in the Ecol­o­gist: https://thee­col­o­gist. org/2016/nov/01/huge-en­vi­ron­men­tal-costs-salmon-farmssouth-amer­ica.

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment, un­der en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion leg­is­la­tion, has des­ig­nated the At­lantic salmon pop­u­la­tion of the south coast of New­found­land threat­ened in these words, writ­ten when salmon cages were in the Conne River area, and are iden­ti­fied as a “small sec­tion” of the South Coast des­ig­nat­able unit 4 (DU4):

“(The Com­mit­tee on the Sta­tus of En­dan­gered Wildlife in Canada) has iden­ti­fied the fol­low­ing threats (ac­tual or im­mi­nent) to DU4: recre­ational fish­eries, il­le­gal fish­ing (poach­ing), com­mer­cial fish­ery in St. Pierre and Miquelon, eco­log­i­cal and ge­netic in­ter­ac­tions with es­caped do­mes­tic At­lantic salmon in a small sec­tion of this DU, and poorly un­der­stood changes in marine ecosys­tems re­sult­ing in re­duced sur­vival dur­ing the marine phase of their life his­tory.”

You can read it here: http:// www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/species-es­peces/pro­files-pro­fils/Sal­monsaumon-DU04-eng.html

If en­vi­ron­men­tal laws mean any­thing in Canada, any Nor­we­gian-funded salmon aqua­cul­ture in this prov­ince needs a long, hard look be­fore be­ing ap­proved.

Fail­ure to do so could re­sult in es­caped salmon go­ing into our rivers and in­ter­breed­ing with wild fish as well as in­fect­ing them with dis­eases brought in from hatch­eries lo­cated out­side the prov­ince. Owen My­ers

St. John’s

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