Lots of oceans to go around - Combating aquaculture concerns

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
28 March 2007, at 1:00am

CANADA - Parties with major interests in aquaculture met with fisherman from throughout the south coast recently to discuss some of their concerns with the industry that many believe is a key piece of the puzzle to help the region rebound.

Executive director of the Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association (NAIA), Miranda Pryor was at the meeting in Belleoram and said it was designed to make sure people have the right information about aquaculture.

She said people can become concerned if they feel they are being pushed out of the way and don’t have access to sites they’ve always been able to fish.

“That’s a legitimate concern,” said Ms. Pryor, “I think to be a responsible industry we have to be willing to work with all user groups.”

The plan is to work with everyone – fishery, tourism, everyone – to make sure that what they’re doing is ok for the local communities and doesn’t impact people’s livelihoods.

Ms. Pryor said she has worked to find information from other places such as New Brunswick where she said they have a very viable lobster fishery as well as salmon farming.

Tom Caines, mayor of Rencontre East and local lobster fishermen, told the Coaster in a previous interview members of his community, which include a large number of lobster fishermen, have been against aquaculture for a long time.

Mayor Caines spoke at a community forum at the recent NAIA annual conference and voiced some of his communities concerned with those attending.

Ms. Pryor said it’s important to get input from all of those involved in the regions industries. She believes local fishermen who had concerns about aquaculture felt as though they weren’t being consulted enough on where the farms were going to be located.

“They felt that some of the sites were put in and they weren’t in the places they thought they were going to be, so it ended up impacting some of their areas somewhat.”

She believes a lot of the confusion and concerns with the industry can be contributed to a lack of good communication and getting the proper information out.

It’s important said Ms. Pryor to get people out to the sites, show them where they are and how to work around them.

“Fish farming is very new to a lot of these areas and when the people see the sites go out they think can’t go in around them or they can’t get this close to the buoys or something like that.”

She said it’s then their responsibility to take people and show them where they can put their traps and how close to the sites the can get to them, etc.

“Then people generally do feel better about it. But if they hear a lot of the bad stuff first, then they just get concerned,” said Ms. Pryor. “And that’s legitimate, but then they’re afraid that their going to be pushed out.”

Source: Coaster