On the West Coast the federal government mandated a transition from open net-pen fish farms in B.C. waters. Net-pen farmed Atlantic salmon is now banned in Washington State and Argentina, the new Chilean President, a critic, has vowed to tighten regulations, and 7 coastal towns in Maine, spearheaded by lobster fisherman, are demanding a moratorium on net-pen fish farm leases. Globally the industry is investing and transitioning to land based closed containment systems. But on the East Coast, Nova Scotia's DFA is promoting expansion of the industry in our shallow rural bays with plans for a 4 fold increase in production.
Individual farm sites have already reached 50 hectares in size and are still getting bigger and installed in multiples, the most recent application is for four 80 hectare sites in one bay that is already populated with fish farms. These are not small local owner-operated farms. This is privatization of public waters which will result in a loss of fishing grounds, scenic views, unspoiled beaches and marine environment. And for what? There are currently less employed at NS finfish farms today (288 reported for 2020) than there were in 1995 despite a more than 1000X increase in production. This is not about jobs, its corporate greed. The giant multinational companies are flocking to NS because of cheap 20 year ocean leases. These industrial feedlots are forced on communities who don't want them because local municipalities are given no role in the approval process. Municipalities and impacted citizens and business owners have no recourse but apply to intervene, then face off against two teams of lawyers (Industry and DFA) - all at your own expense.
This government is ready to put at risk two of the most lucrative industries in Nova Scotia, lobster fishing and tourism and it's most valued asset - a pristine natural coastline and marine environment, all for the net-pen industry. There are less harmful more sustainable methods of aquaculture. THE OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE YOUR SAY is now. Please speak up, take the survey.
The DFA survey guide states that they look to Maine and Norway to learn from their experience. Check out this short video to hear what Maine's lobster fisherman have to say about industrial scale net-pen fish farms in their bays and why these fishing towns are fighting to hold on to their heritage and way of life.
To assist you, check out the Healthy Bays Network's survey responses at: https://www.healthybays.ca/regulatoryreview. It outlines TIPS and brief responses to each of the NSDFA’s survey questions, which will hopefully help folks who might not be sure what to say.
Question #6 of the Survey provides an opportunity to comment on anything you want. A suggested response is:
"We do not support the expansion of open-net pen finfish farming in our waters, and we urge the NSDFA to establish a cap on new sea-cage finfish licenses. Regulations should prepare Nova Scotia for a transition away from net pen technologies, as is happening in B.C., in favour of shellfish, seaweed, and land-based closed containment finfish alternatives."
Even if you only answer Question Six with a response like this, it would be very helpful!
Here is a link to the Survey: https://novascotia.ca/aquaculture-regulatory-review-public-consultation/
Please share on your social channels, and with friends and neighbours, over the next two days.
Again, Deadline for submissions is Tuesday, Sept. 6th.
Have more to say than the survey allows, email your feedback to: DFApolicy@novascotia.ca
Protect Liverpool Bay Association