NL Government's handling of fish farming development nothing short of disastrous

NDP Fisheries and Aquaculture Critic Christopher Mitchelmore (MHA, The Straits – White Bay North) says government’s aquaculture strategy of secrecy and wishful thinking will only harm the future of sustainable fish farming and wild capture fisheries.

“In July 2012, the province first reported outbreak of Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) resulted in 450,000 salmon having to be destroyed,” said Mitchelmore, “and more fish were destroyed due to another outbreak in December 2012.”

Last week the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) was in Goblin Cove testing a Grey Aquaculture site for ISA, resulting in an eradication order being issued for the site. This will likely mean nearly 500,000 salmon destroyed, with the Federal Government on the hook for millions of dollars in compensation paid to the company for its losses.

“The Federal and Provincial Governments must work closely to develop policies and programs that deal with challenges facing aquaculture industry, such as ISA, before it does further damage,” said Mitchelmore. “Achieving co-operation may be difficult as the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture fails to disclose information publicly. They continue to cite confidentiality under section 9 of the Aquaculture Act when asked for how many vaccinations were performed on finfish farms, presence of bacterial disease, or inspection reports. This does nothing to instill confidence in the industry or government.

“It is evident ISA is something this province and the industry must deal with on a go forward basis. The Minister must speak publicly on this matter and detail what his Government is prepared to do. I will once again repeat my call for the Minister to re-visit Government's outdated aquaculture development plan as the industry has changed drastically since March 27, 2000.”

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