Groups appeal to Minister over concerns Marine Harvest plan is being rushed through
ST JOHN’S – Groups concerned about the health of wild salmon stocks in Newfoundland and Labrador are asking Andrew Parsons, Minister of Municipal Affairs and the Environment, to subject the expansion of the Indian Head Hatchery, located near Stephenville, to a proper environmental assessment.
long the south coast of Newfoundland have already been seriously harmed by net-pen aquaculture and this project could worsen the situation,” said Dr. Stephen Sutton of the Atlantic Salmon Federation. “We know from the Placentia Bay project that government has a duty to fully and publicly consider how aquaculture will affect the environment and other people who use coastal waters. This project should not be treated differently.”
When the Indian Head Hatchery expansion was registered for environmental assessment, it was scoped as excluding the marine portion of the project — that is, the open net pens to which an additional 2.2 million smolt will be transferred. In September, the Minister said the expansion could go ahead without an environmental assessment of the associated marine farming activities.
The expansion will result in a 50 per cent increase of the hatchery’s production capacity.
“The province of Newfoundland and Labrador can’t take regulatory short cuts, especially ones that could have devastating impacts on the province’s wild Atlantic salmon populations,” said Ecojustice lawyer Sarah McDonald. “The expansion of the Indian Head Hatchery project is rushing forward without the proper evaluation of how a significant increase in the volume of fish in open pens could impact the environment and wild fish populations.”
Ecojustice lawyers are acting on behalf of clients that include the Atlantic Salmon Federation, CPAWS, the Centre for Long-term Environmental Action in Newfoundland, For A New Earth, and the Salmonid Association of Eastern Newfoundland.
Ecojustice, Canada’s largest environmental law charity, goes to court to defend nature, combat climate change, and fight for a healthy environment for all.
Founded in 1948, the Atlantic Salmon Federation’s mission is to conserve and restore wild Atlantic salmon and their ecosystems.