New Coalition Demands Aquaculture Reform

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
26 October 2010, at 1:00am

CANADA - Disappointed with the failure of provincial and federal governments to effectively regulate the aquaculture industry and protect the marine environment and fishing economy, a number of organisations and individuals have come together to form the Atlantic Coalition for Aquaculture Reform.

The current sea lice outbreak in New Brunswick salmon cages, that has resulted in both legal and illegal pesticide use has raised questions about the management of the aquaculture industry. Of particular concern is the impact of these pesticides on traditional fisheries on the marine environment.

“Traditional fisheries have been negatively impacted by aquaculture practices that are contaminating our shared waters, and also by conflicts about resource and space use. We want to ensure that government fully understands the importance of these problems and addresses them fairly and adequately,” stated Melanie Sonnenberg, Project Manager of the Grand Manan Fishermen’s Association.

Matthew Abbott, Coordinator for Fundy Baykeeper, based in St Andrews, New Brunswick said: “The aquaculture industry in New Brunswick is threatening the marine ecosystem, including the near shore lobster habitat. We realised that in order to draw attention to the mutual concerns of the fishing industry, the citizens of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and the environmental community we needed to work together to advocate for policies that will help protect and restore a healthy marine environment.”

“The growing presence of aquaculture in the waters of Nova Scotia greatly concerns fishermen and citizens around the province. Given the negative impacts of intensive salmon aquaculture on marine environments elsewhere, we are troubled at the lack of clear policies and regulations guiding our province’s expansion of this industry. We are excited to be a part of this coalition unified in working for sustainable coastal development and protection,” says Shannon Arnold, Marine Coordinator at the Nova Scotia based Ecology Action Centre.

The Atlantic Coalition for Aquaculture Reform consists of Fundy North Fishermen’s Association, Grand Manan Fishermen's Association, Fundy Weir Fishermen’s Association, Ecology Action Centre (Nova Scotia), Fundy Baykeeper/CCNB (New Brunswick), St. Mary’s Bay Coastal Alliance Society (Nova Scotia), the Friar’s Bay Development Association (Campobello), Friends of Shelburne Harbour (Nova Scotia), and a number of concerned coastal residents.