LAW­SUIT FILED AGAINST HATCH­ERY EX­PAN­SION

The Western Star - - FRONT PAGE -

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – A law­suit has been filed against the In­dian Head Hatch­ery ex­pan­sion in New­found­land and Labrador that asks the court to or­der that the ex­pan­sion not pro­ceed with­out a proper en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ment.

A news release states that Eco­jus­tice — a group act­ing on be­half of grass­roots groups and in­di­vid­u­als con­cerned about the health of wild At­lantic salmon stocks — is be­hind the le­gal ac­tion.

The release claims the ex­pan­sion to the Stephenvil­le fa­cil­ity poses a threat to wild At­lantic salmon pop­u­la­tions, and could fur­ther stress wild salmon pop­u­la­tions al­ready in de­cline.

The group says the province’s minister of Mu­nic­i­pal Af­fairs and En­vi­ron­ment acted un­law­fully when he de­cided to release the hatch­ery from fur­ther en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ment.

Eco­jus­tice lawyers are act­ing on be­half of the Sal­monid As­so­ci­a­tion of Eastern New­found­land, the Fresh­wa­ter-Alexan­der Bays Ecosys­tem Cor­po­ra­tion, the Port Au Port Bay Fish­ery Com­mit­tee, Alan Pick­ers­gill, John Baird and Wayne Hol­loway.

“Wild At­lantic salmon in some ar­eas of New­found­land and Labrador have de­clined 45 per cent since 2015, and this project could worsen the sit­u­a­tion,” said James Dinn, pres­i­dent of the Sal­monid As­so­ci­a­tion of Eastern New­found­land.

“The threats posed by open­net pen salmon farm­ing to wild salmon pop­u­la­tions are well doc­u­mented. Wild salmon can be se­verely af­fected by com­pe­ti­tion, in­ter­breed­ing and dis­ease. Given these sig­nif­i­cant threats, we are call­ing on the province to de­velop its aqua­cul­ture in­dus­try in an en­vi­ron­men­tally re­spon­si­ble and pre­cau­tion­ary man­ner.”

Sarah McDon­ald, lawyer for Eco­jus­tice, said they be­lieve there are “glar­ing loop­holes in the way fish farms are reg­u­lated in the province, which multi­na­tional cor­po­ra­tions are us­ing to ex­pand their op­er­a­tions in a way that al­lows them to avoid en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ment.”

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