January 14, 2021
[Halifax | Kjipuktuk] The Nova Scotia government is facing legal challenges due to their disregard of legislation regulating marine based finfish aquaculture. Ecojustice, Canada’s largest environmental law charity, is taking on the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture and the Department of the Environment for their failure to regulate marine based finfish aquaculture and to demonstrate accountability under the Fisheries and Coastal Resources Act (FCRA) and Regulations.
A complete copy of Ecojustice’s demand letter with appendices can be found here.
The Healthy Bays Network (HBN) is a Nova Scotia-wide, not-for-profit coalition advocating for healthy coastal ecosystems, transparent and responsible coastal governance, and an active and realistic role for coastal communities in the exercise of social license over their coastal resources. HBN is comprised of a growing list of community organizations throughout Nova Scotia, plus the Atlantic Salmon Federation, the Nova Scotia Salmon Association, and the Ecology Action Centre. The Healthy Bays Network fully supports the work of Ecojustice in this case as many communities have experienced the fallout from ongoing lease violations for over a decade with no meaningful action taken by the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture (NSDFA) and the Department of the Environment.
When NSDFA Minister Keith Colwell brought in new legislation and regulations in 2015, he stated that “amendments to the [FCRA] signal a more transparent, rigorous approach to regulating (finfish) aquaculture in Nova Scotia.”
“Despite grand promises made by the Minister of increased public transparency and accountability, coastal communities around the province have experienced the contrary,” says Wendy Watson Smith of the Association for the Preservation of the Eastern Shore.
Geoff Le Boutilier, of the Twin Bays Coalition (Mahone Bay and St. Margaret’s Bay), states, “coastal communities have no faith that the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture and the Department of the Environment have the willingness or capacity to ensure that they and the industry operate within the confines of the legislation. There is a need for effective monitoring, compliance and enforcement of the laws with regard to this destructive industry which is largely self-regulated.”
The members of the Healthy Bays Network fully support Ecojustice’s demand that Minister Colwell require Kelly Cove Salmon (a subsidiary of Cooke Aquaculture) to comply with lease boundaries at the five sites detailed in the Ecojustice demand letter and further to require Kelly Cove Salmon to hold public meetings at all sites prior to finalizing applications for new or amended leases.
“It is time for this government to listen to the concerns of Nova Scotians with regards to this industry,” says Brian Muldoon of Protect Liverpool Bay. “It is time for the government to act on these concerns.”
Please contact the following for more Information:
Wendy Watson Smith
Association for the Preservation of the Eastern Shore and Healthy Bays Network
Geoff Le Boutillier
Twin Bays Coalition and Healthy Bays Network
Protect Liverpool Bay and Healthy Bays Network