Note: Documents obtained through Access to Information Request are at bottom of press release and can be downloaded as .pdf document
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oct. 25, 2016
ASF set to challenge Placentia Bay aquaculture decision in court
Access to information documents show minister opposed EIS recommendation
St. Andrews - The Atlantic Salmon Federation has filed an application for judicial review in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, seeking an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed Placentia Bay aquaculture project.
The company, Grieg NL Seafarms Ltd., wants to build the largest salmon aquaculture project in Canadian history, and in July was given ministerial permission to proceed without completing an EIS. This comprehensive study would identify the risks of development, propose ways to monitor, and mitigate threats to wild Atlantic salmon and the environment.
Documents obtained by the Atlantic Salmon Federation through access to information show the decision to release this project goes against officials in the provincial Environmental Assessment Division which recommended an EIS be completed.
The documents acknowledge "extensive public concerns" and potential for "several serious consequences." This includes reducing wild Atlantic salmon populations in nearby rivers, transfer of disease and parasites to other species, and damage to the local tourism economy. The records also state the project has many unproven components, and little is known about baseline conditions in Placentia Bay.
"We're asking for the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to reconsider and order Grieg to prepare a comprehensive EIS," said ASF President Bill Taylor. "This will ensure the facts are carefully considered, and would avoid a court case."
"ASF is simply asking for Newfoundland's Environmental Assessment Act to be properly applied," said Taylor.
In his release of the Placentia Bay aquaculture project from assessment, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change argues impacts will be addressed through existing regulations. However, a study commissioned by ASF that compares aquaculture regulations in Newfoundland and Labrador to an international standard found the province does a poor job protecting wild Atlantic salmon.
Recent genetic research conducted by Fisheries and Oceans Canada found 17 of 18 rivers surveyed on the south coast of Newfoundland showed evidence of escaped farm salmon breeding with wild fish. This is further proof that current regulations are inadequate.
To view the documents released, see file below
The Atlantic Salmon Federation is an international conservation group founded in 1948. We are dedicated to ensuring the survival of wild Atlantic salmon throughout the North Atlantic.
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