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Letter: Minister Keith Colwell is wrong, open pen fish farming not the way to prosperity for rural Nova Scotia

Letter to the Editor September 4, 2019 

In an article of the September Eastern Shore Cooperator entitled Aquaculture to Nova Scotia Like Oil to Alberta Mr. Colwell, the provincial minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture relates his promotion of open pen finfish farming in this province to the prosperity that was created by the oil industry was in Alberta. This shows you how far behind the times he is. The Alberta economy is in a slump due to its’ continued reliance on an outdated, dirty, environmentally destructive industry. That is the only way that open pen fish farming can be compared to the Alberta Oil Industry. 

Does Mr. Colwell know that Denmark has recently decided not to allow anymore Open Pen Finfish Farms there? 

Did Mr. Colwell in his third trip to Norway to “investigate” this industry think to ask what Norway charges for leases there as compared to Nova Scotia? No comparison. 

Does Mr. Colwell know that a finfish farming company that he is courting here (Cooke Aquaculture) was kicked out of Washington State for its practices? 

Does Mr. Colwell know that another finfish farming company that he is courting (Cermaq) faced huge protests in British Columbia for their practices? 

I am weary of Mr. Colwell citing science when he has not produced one shred of scientific evidence to communities that have asked him to justify his support for this industry. And I am very weary of Mr. Colwell pretending that there has been any real substantive changes to the Aquaculture Regulations stating that they are new and transparent. Our community had 30 days to make written submissions to the department for the Renewal of two finfish farm leases and the department gets to choose which submissions are relevant. There are no community representatives on the committee that will review this application. 

Mr. Colwell continues to waste taxpayers money on his junkets to Tasmania and Norway to justify his promotion of an industry that rural communities in Nova Scotia do not want. We want industries that actually create jobs (review the departments own statistics on this) and that don’t ruin the environment. 

See also: Letter to the editor: Something fishy going on? A taxpayer-funded trip to Tasmania with Fisheries and Aquaculture minister Keith Colwell

In another article in the same issue Mr. Colwell rightfully credits the fishermen of the Eastern Shore for looking after the water. He then goes on to say when referring to his department’s rejection of a proposed Marine Protected Area that “there’s nothing there to protect from anything.”

WRONG Mr. Colwell! We need protection from you and your provincial government who want to destroy our pristine harbours with your promotion for an outdated, polluting industry that threatens our present livelihoods and future. 

Mr. Colwell you are out of touch with the way that the rest of the world is moving. It is time to retire! 

Wendy Watson Smith is president of the Association for the Preservation of the Eastern Shore

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  1. Wendy, Thank you for pointing out to Minister Colwell what he needs to do next, retire ! Hear there is great property on the shores of New Brunswick. You can cuddle up with Glenn Cooke and view all the fish farms there. Take Premier McNeil with you since he doesn’t have a back bone to stand up to this dirty industry.
    Brian Muldoon

  2. I could not agree more! Minister Colwell you are completely out of touch with residents of Nova Scotia. We are not prepared to take any job opportunities, or industry opportunities that come our way and then pay for them both financially and socially and environmentally for years to come. Nova Scotians are bright and intelligent and practical. They see through this I’ll thought out scheme. Shame on you Minister Colwell for insulting our intelligence. Get on board or get out of the way.

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