Read the full notice here: https://mailchi.mp/ccd1ac2b1919/first-notice-annual-general-meeting
Yesterday, the executive director of the Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia published an editorial in which he accused Thomas Trappenberg, leader of the Green Party of Nova Scotia, of leading a misinformation campaign against his industry.
Lacking evidence and without citing any specific case of misinformation, the attack, which also names the Ecology Action Centre and four citizen-led groups like the Healthy Bays Network, is damaging because it sours what was until now a civil and democratic discussion about an important issue.
The debate about aquaculture is important because our oceans are not just a massive part of our economy, but vital to how we identify ourselves as Nova Scotians.
This is why thousands of people from all political backgrounds, including an independent MLA and three official parties, have formed their own local groups like the ones named by Mr. Smith to educate and organize the discussion around the development of open-pen aquaculture.
These citizen-led movements flooded town halls and MLA offices in shared opposition to open-pen aquaculture, based on conclusions in publicly available scientific studies like a 2018 analysis by Dalhousie University department of biology, and the Cohen Commission Judicial Inquiry in B.C., where demonstrated that the practice was unsustainable in its current form.
When using evidence to support an argument, it is important to show where that information comes from. Mr. Smith points to the Coller-Fairr Protein Index as proof that open-pen aquaculture is a very sustainable practice, however that study was commissioned to “raise awareness of the material ESG risks and opportunities of intensive animal production.” according the website. The data and conclusions are not available to the public but only investors in equity markets.
If Mr. Smith laments a lack of transparency in the open-pen aquaculture debate, then it does not help that his sole publicly available source of supporting documentation comes from a $1.2 million study by the Cooke Industrial Research Chair for Sustainable Aquaculture, a position created and funded by Cooke Aquaculture, a paid member of Mr.Smith’s Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia. Cooke currently holds the controversial open-pen leases in the province, which were renewed recently with severely limited public debate .
We need a vigorous discussion on economic and resource development in Nova Scotia. “As a physicist, a science professor and as leader of the Green Party, I consider it a requirement to maintain an open mind, to always keep the door open to new information and challenges to established facts, if and when demonstrable new facts come to light.” states Thomas.
“This is the only way we move society forward. Together, with shared facts.”
As of this moment, the facts are that open-pen fish farms often consume more protein than they produce (it takes more food to grow the fish than the food value contained in the fish), and very serious problems of contamination from faeces, antibiotics and sea lice from the farmed fish into the open ocean remain unsolved. Large scale die-offs, like the one that left 10,000 dead salmon in Liverpool Bay reported by CBC last year, cause catastrophic damage to local ocean life. TIANS, the Tourist Industry Association of Nova Scotia, currently endorses closed-pen aquaculture only.
These are the facts.
It is important for Nova Scotians to be properly informed about the issues, and to be clear about the sources of information especially in this era of fake news. Defamatory claims of misinformation are unhelpful, unless of course, they are backed by demonstrable, repeatable facts.
The Green Party of Nova Scotia is devastated to learn of the sudden passing of former executive member, regional representative, and federal candidate Barry Randle this morning at the age of 51. Our hearts go out to his wife, Camille Davidson, who is also known to many of us.
“A government that rejects legitimate, critical public input, by using bureaucratic technicalities is abusing its authority.
The decision to extend leases to Cooke Aquaculture under these circumstances, against overwhelming public objection, is at best arrogant, at worst anti-democratic.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 27
The Green Party of Nova Scotia strongly supports the statements made by the Protect Liverpool Bay Association in a recent “open letter” to premier Stephen McNeil, in which the citizens group admonished the Liberal government for its blatant disregard of widespread community opposition to the proliferation of large, industrial open net pen salmon farms in the province. “There is direct evidence that open pen aquaculture poisons ocean waters. Fish waste, disease, and contamination from medicines destroys traditional fisheries, on which South Shore families depend.” says Thomas Trappenberg, leader of the Green Party of Nova Scotia. “Worst of all, Cooke Aquaculture has cost Nova Scotia taxpayers tens of millions dollars, threatening jobs and livelihoods of traditional fishers.”
As the first federal political candidate calling for a national ban on this dangerous and economically unsustainable practice, Trappenberg stood side-by-side with the Protect Liverpool Bay Association as they pushed hard to stop massive salmon feedlots that were being forced on Nova Scotians by Cooke Aquaculture, the Dexter NDP and later Liberal governments, mobilizing a massive outcry from residents of St. Margarets Bay and other South Shore communities. In coordination with citizen groups like Twin Bays Coalition, they sent Cooke and farmed salmon giant Cermaq a message: “The community has spoken: no open pen fish farms here.”
Cooke eagerly sought a $25 million loan package from the Dexter NDP government, then failed to make debt payments, and produced only a small percentage of the jobs promised. The company was charged with poisoning lobsters withy illegal pesticide dumping in New Brunswick in 2013, seriously affecting traditional fisheries in the Bay of Fundy. With the recent sudden extension of leases by the McNeil Liberals despite strong public opposition, it is clear that South Shore residents will have to sacrifice even more.
South Shore communities have been strong in their opposition to open-pen aquaculture in Nova Scotia waters. Thomas Trappenberg joined Nova Scotians who made their feelings clear on this issue in many public consultations in 2019 and this year to push back against foreign-owned aquaculture giant Cermaq. “The community has spoken: no open pen fish farms here.” After a meeting at the Tantallon public library filled beyond capacity, where hundreds of members of the community told Cermaq no one wanted them here, the corporation withdrew their bid.
The Green Party of Nova Scotia supports the fisheries and expanding job opportunities in the province, but not at any expense. The recent government approval of unprecedented 20-year leases to Cooke Aquaculture, and the obscure manner in which the process took place is something Trappenberg finds disturbing. “The government rejected an unacceptable number of public submissions against the proposal on trivial, bureaucratic grounds, including from local harbour authorities. A government that rejects legitimate, critical public input, by using bureaucratic technicalities is abusing its authority.”
In addition to authoring the open letter to premier McNeil, Protect Liverpool Bay Association chair Brian Muldoon announced the formation of the Healthy Bay Network this week, designed to network resources and events by all of the citizen-led groups that have organized opposition to open-pen aquaculture. The Network includes: The St. Mary’s Bay Protectors, Protect Liverpool Bay, the Twin Bays Coalition representing Mahone and St. Margaret’s Bays, the Association for the Preservation of the Eastern Shore, with support from the Ecology Action Centre, the Atlantic Salmon Federation, and the Nova Scotia Salmon Association.
“The Green Party stands in complete solidarity with Healthy Bays Network. We will continue to support them to ensure that citizens are heard, and to keep the government accountable for its handling of this industry,” concluded Trappenberg. “The future of Nova Scotia can be bright if we use common sense and expand aquaculture on land, inside contained systems. We can be world leaders in this industry, create jobs and not destroy our oceans.”
Green Party of Nova Scotia principles include:
Move all open-net pen finfish aquaculture facilities into closed containment systems on land. As with land farmers transitioning from conventional production, provide financial and extension support will be ensure to fish farm workers to make this transition.
++ Ecological Wisdom
Stop to the proliferation of damaging business practices that demand public money to survive, and only invest in businesses that can operate sustainably without degrading Nova Scotia’s natural resources.
FOR MORE DETAILS ON THE GREEN PARTY of NOVA SCOTIA or THOMAS TRAPPENBERG
telephone : 902 414 3960
As Leader Thomas Trappenberg, Deputy Leader Jessica Alexander, and other Greens joined in a protest of logging in the Corbett-Dalhousie Lake Forest, Co-President June Trenholm of Dartmouth was busy putting fingers to keyboard to get our message out to an even broader swath of Nova Scotians.
Have a look at her recent Opinion article in the Chronicle-Herald, available at the link below: