NL Coalition for Aquaculture Reform

NL Premier Ball Talks on Die-off but Fails to Address Critical Issues - NL-CAR

Leo White

Oct 25, 2019
Premier Ball has finally broken his long silence and spoken about the massive kill of 2.6 million salmon on our South Coast. He seems to think that this is an isolated event and fails to recognize that it is just one more disaster in a long and continuing series. He repeated what Fisheries Minister Byrne has already said that Northern Harvest’s licenses have been suspended until the province is satisfied that salmon farming can be done sustainably. This sounds great until you recall that according to both industry and government the industry has been operating sustainably all along. However this is not the case. Industry has been plagued with disease, and sea lice problems, salmon escapes and now a major die-off. Where is the sustainability?

NL-CAR spokesperson Leo White says “They use the term “sustainable aquaculture” as if there is no other kind. Their brand of sustainable aquaculture is what led to this current tragedy. Neither Mr. Byrne nor the Premier has acknowledged that our Aquaculture Industry is in crisis with complete loss of public trust in both the industry and the Ball government’s regulation of the industry. Where are the sustainable jobs when there are no salmon to process and the industry is reeling from repeated meltdowns?”

Even more troubling is the Premier’s statement that he intends to “work with the industry leaders to make sure this doesn’t happen again.” Don Ivany says “He just does not get it that this is the problem that led to the salmon die-off as well as other deadly events like numerous outbreaks of Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISAv), extensive escapes leading to hybridization of farm and wild salmon, and rampant sea lice infestations. Government and Industry have been talking to each other for over 30 years and no other viewpoint has been heard let alone considered. This is the number one problem and yet this bi-lateral approach continues.” Premier Ball needs to remember that he was elected to represent the interests of the people of the province who care deeply about the environment and the natural resources that it supports. Premier Ball and Minister Byrne need to talk to the people of the province including stakeholders like the Newfoundland and Labrador Coalition for Aquaculture Reform (NL-CAR), the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF), the Salmonid Council of Newfoundland and Labrador (SCNL), concerned academics and scientists and the public in general. This needs to be done in a meaningful way so that a strong regulatory regime can emerge with environmental protection first and foremost. You don’t get better regulations by asking the industry what needs to be done. This is simply asking for more of the same.

The Newfoundland and Labrador public has lost trust in this industry and is anxiously waiting for government to establish an inquiry that will rebuild their confidence. This cannot happen unless there is public inquiry conducted by a credible organization with legal authority under the Public Inquiries Act and resources to do the job properly. Only Government can enable such an inquiry. The future of the aquaculture industry in this province depends on getting this right.

NL-CAR is not opposed to responsible aquaculture but we do have very serious concerns about how the industry is regulated and operated. We represent more than 20 organizations from Conservation, First Nations, Environmental, Wildlife, Fisheries and Salmonid groups. For further information please contact Leo White or Don Ivany.

Leo White is a spokesperson for NL-CAR and may be reached at 709 753 4034 or 709 727 8419 or by e-mail at leopwhite@hotmail.com.

Don Ivany is a spokesperson for NL-CAR and may be reached at 709 632 5100 or 709 632 1155 or by e-mail at divany@asf.ca.

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