“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