Why We Joined Forces
NL - Coalition for Aquaculture Reform (NL-CAR) has formed to give a stronger, unified voice to concerns about the environmental and social impacts of marine net pen salmon farms. The coalition is open to members primarily from NL, but will also welcome and support interested groups and individuals from elsewhere. The coalition uses an internal email list serve for communications, as well as holding conference calls and meetings as needed. All advocacy and public awareness activities carried out by the coalition are developed collaboratively by coalition members.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Coalition for Aquaculture Reform holds that marine net pen aquaculture operations pose significant risks to the marine environment through nutrient pollution, habitat alteration and degradation, and chemical pollution through the use of pharmaceutical and biocidal chemicals. Marine net pen farms also pose risks to a wide range of native species through introduction of foreign strains of eggs and fish, disease and parasite transmission, through alteration of migratory behavior, foraging and reproductive behaviours, and through escapements and genetic pollution (crossbreeding with native wild species).
What Unifies Us
The Newfoundland and Labrador Coalition for Aquaculture Reform, whose members include concerned citizens, and a cross section of stakeholders and community groups, including: fisher groups, conservation and environmental groups, aboriginal and First Nations groups, academia, municipal groups, and others, understands sustainable aquaculture to be aquaculture that meets the following conditions:
1. It does not degrade the ecosystem in which it is located, or ecosystems on which it is dependent;
2. It is in harmony with economic, social and cultural activities that use the same natural resources;
3. Access to information and participation in decision-making is fair, equitable, and meaningful;
4. All costs are reflected in the cost of production, ensuring that costs are not externalized to the environment, the public, other sectors, or individuals;
5. It does not diminish the ability of future generations to use the same natural resources.
Salmonid aquaculture as it is practiced in Newfoundland and Labrador fails to meet these conditions.
Therefore, NL-CAR supports:
1. An immediate freeze on any further expansion of marine net pen aquaculture;
2. A thorough review and revision of NL marine net pen salmonid aquaculture regulations to strengthen environmental protections in line with best practices used in other jurisdictions;
3. A reasonable transition of existing marine net pen aquaculture to closed containment systems; and
4. That all new salmonid aquaculture operations be closed containment only.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Coalition for Aquaculture Reform further holds that:
* The status quo for managing aquaculture activity is not acceptable;
* Government agencies responsible for managing the aquaculture industry have failed to protect the marine environment, wildlife, and surrounding communities from the negative impacts of aquaculture.
* There is an inherent conflict of interest when regulatory agencies are responsible for both conservation and development;
* The aquaculture industry is unlikely to address community and broader management concerns in meaningful ways given its economic interest in maintaining the status quo.
Consequently, NL-CAR further supports:
5. The immediate establishment of a multi-participant aquaculture advisory committee to provide advice and engagement on all future aquaculture issues. A multi-participant organization should include industry, government, academia, funding agencies, and environmental non-governmental organizations.
Salmonid Council of NL (SCNL), Don Hutchens
Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF), Don Ivany
Salmonid Association of Eastern NL (SAEN), Christoph Konrad
Salmon Preservation Ass Waters NL (SPAWN) John McCarthy
Freshwater/Alexander Bay Ecosystem Corp (FABEC), John Baird
NL Outfitters Association (NLOA), Cory Foster
Indian Bay Ecosystem Corp (IBEC), Stella Gale
Gander River Ecosystem Corp (GREC), Mike Philpott
Gander Bay Indian Band Council, Mike Francis
Glenwood Mi’Kmaq First Nation, Calvin Francis
Qalipu First Nation, Brendan Mitchell
Miawpukek First Nation, Misel Joe
NL Federation of Hunters and Anglers, Barry Fordham
The Port Au Port Bay Fishery Association, Bob Diamond
Sierra Club of Canada, Fred Winsor
Western Newfoundland Environmental Centre, Simon Jansen
Ragged Harbour Stewardship Committee, John Kelly
NL Wildlife Federation, Andrew Bouzan
Salmon and Trout Restoration Assoc of Conception Bay Central, Arch Pitcher
Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides NL, Greg Malone
CLEAN NL, Linda Whalen
Science and Academic Advisors
Dr. Craig Purchase
Dr. Bill Montevecchi
Dr. Rex Porter
Dr. Bob Scott
Sister Mary Tee
Goal 1: Ensure that any further net pen aquaculture development, including expansion of existing operations, is done in a way that is consistent with the aims, intent, and wording of the provincial Environmental Protection Act.
1. Ensure that the Placentia Bay project proposed by Grieg NL is subject to a transparent, comprehensive, and participatory Environmental Impact Statement.
2. Ensure that all salmonid aquaculture undertakings are registered for Environmental Assessment and that decisions are consistent with the aims, intent, and wording of the Environment Protection Act and other relevant Acts.
3. Ensure that concerned individuals, groups, and communities have the knowledge and capacity to participate effectively in environmental assessment process for proposed salmonid aquaculture activities.
Goal 2: Reduce the environmental impacts of current open net pen operations through better regulations, policies, and independent oversight and monitoring.
1. Independent, thorough, consultative, and evidence-based review of the environmental impacts and regulatory framework of the NL finfish aquaculture industry (similar to the Doelle-Lahey review recently conducted in Nova Scotia). The review should aim to develop a comprehensive list of recommendations designed to strengthen policies and regulations that govern the industry.
2. Review to include industry wastes including mortalities, effluent from silage or fish meal plants, waste management facilities, etc).
3. Use independent review findings and recommendations to modernize and strengthen the net pen regulatory regime such that it meets or exceeds internationally accepted standards (such as the Aquaculture Stewardship Council Certification).
4. Immediate establishment of Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Committee to provide input on all issues related to aquaculture.
5. Develop and implement a comprehensive monitoring and reporting program to document the impact of aquaculture operations on wild salmon stocks and surrounding environment in NL, and disseminate information to the public in a transparent and timely manner. Develop and implement a plan to address known impacts in a timely manner.
6. Ensure that relevant legislation such as the Marine Mammals Act and the Species At Risk Act apply to all open net pen aquaculture operations.
Goal 3: Explore more sustainable alternatives for future development of the salmonid aquaculture industry in NL.
1. Conduct an economic feasibility assessment of land based and closed containment aquaculture operations for NL with the aim of developing and implementing a land-based pilot project (as per provincial pre-election SCNL survey response by Liberal Leader, Dwight Ball; and as supported by the Report of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans - Wild Atlantic Salmon in Eastern Canada – 2017 - Recommendation #16).
2. Develop and implement reasonable time lines for the industry to transition from open net pen operations to closed containment operations (on land or other), and offer incentives for industry to do so.
Goal 4: Ensure the aquaculture industry fully pays the environmental costs of their activities, and the Province maximizes income through industry taxation and licence fees.
1. The province implement marine water lease fees on scale with marine lease fees currently in place in other jurisdictions such as Norway.
2. All companies, new and existing, are required to post bonds to be used for clean-up and remediation.
3. Freeze on government compensation for loss of fish that must be destroyed because of pathogens, or death from natural causes (such as super chill, etc).
4. Implement stiff fines and penalties for all violators of regulations, including possibility of loss of operating privileges for serious violations or repeat offenders.
5. The province not enter into a conflict of interest by acting as regulator while holding significant investment and/or ownership in aquaculture projects at the same time.