Battle rages over Fish Farm Project in Port Mouton Bay

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
30 April 2007, at 1:00am

CANADA - THERES a battle raging over a huge salmon farming project in Port Mouton Bay that raises some hard questions about this provinces aquaculture policy.

A New Brunswick company, Aqua Fish Farms, is proposing a 70-acre, or 28-hectare, salmon farm in the bay to be the largest in Nova Scotia. Big salmon operations are becoming big problems worldwide theyre "floating pig farms," in the words of a University of British Columbia biologist; their wastes "equivalent to sewage," according to a Scottish research paper I saw. The Port Mouton residents fear pollution, the ruination of nearby beaches, and negative impacts on local fishing grounds as well as on tourism and recreation.

The provincial government implies that these are just the usual whiners who want to hog the pretty views. But in the long list of opponents to this project, the significant Tories alone should give the government pause. They include the Queens Progressive Conservative Association, Tory MP Gerald Keddy and Queens Mayor John Leefe, a former provincial Conservative cabinet minister.

Aquaculture is a fine and growing industry in Nova Scotia, where over 300 sites grow a dozen or so different species. Nearly 900 people are employed, mostly owner-operators. Trouble arises when someone wants to more or less hog the whole bay, and the provincial Fisheries Department thinks this is just peachy because it will spur "growth."

The last time it happened was at St. Anns Bay, Cape Breton, six years ago. There it was mussels. There was already a small, non-problematic operation in the enclosed bay. The residents wanted to know why cages couldnt be added gradually, instead of all at once, and the water monitored to ensure the bays ecology wasnt damaged. This was too much logic for the Department of Fisheries, and the huge project was forced down local throats, taking up most of the bays deep water. Opponents are now monitoring it for long-term effects.

Source: Chronical Herald