NL Input on Aquaculture Reeks of Potential Bias

Newfoundland’s Process For Input on Aquaculture Reeks of Potential Bias and Bad Timing

For immediate release                                
November 19, 2013

St Andrews, N.B.-The Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) and Salmonid Council of Newfoundland and Labrador (SCNL) are alarmed that the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador announced yesterday plans for a meager three weeks of electronic “consultation” on the way the aquaculture industry conducts its business, beginning November 25th.

ASF and SCNL are urging the Province to impose a moratorium on any further expansion of the salmon aquaculture industry and to carry out in-depth consultations towards solutions to the current issues at hand.  These include outbreaks of Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) and threats to wild salmon from thousands of farmed escapees, many of them entering south coast rivers, which are candidates for listing as threatened under Species At Risk Legislation.

The two salmon conservation organizations have concerns with this current government-led process since the province is a major investor in the aquaculture industry and is supposed to be the regulator at the same time. Billl Taylor, President of ASF, said, “We would prefer to support a process that sets up an independent panel to consult with the general public and  scientific experts to develop unbiased legislation that results in an environmentally-sustainable salmon farming industry.”

ASF and SCNL are concerned that Newfoundlanders are being expected to provide comments on one of the biggest threats to biosecurity in southern Newfoundland, the open net pen aquaculture industry, with a week’s heads-up and only three weeks to give input.

“The salmon aquaculture industry in Newfoundland is completely out of control,” Don Hutchens, President of SCNL said.  “It has had six separate outbreaks of ISA in the past 17 months along the wild salmon migration route to the Conne and other rivers that have resulted in huge compensation payouts amounting to $43-million at the expense of tax payers.  The Province of Newfoundland and Labrador has experienced plant closures, industry bankruptcies, people thrown out of work and growing threats to our wild salmon.  How is that seen by government as responsible economic development?” questioned Mr.  Hutchens.

Despite the time constraints and potential bias of a process driven through partnership between industry and government, and because of the growing and urgent problems with open net pen aquaculture and its threat to wild Atlantic salmon and their environment, ASF and SCNL will be submitting their positions to this three-week process.  


The Atlantic Salmon Federation is dedicated to the conservation, protection and restoration of wild Atlantic salmon and the ecosystems on which their well-being and survival depend.  ASF has a network of seven regional councils (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Maine and Western New England).  The regional councils cover the freshwater range of the Atlantic salmon in Canada and the United States.

ASF Contact:  Holly Johnson, Manager of Public Information:
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