ABOUT OPEN NET-PENS

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Cooke Aquaculture, a multi-billion-dollar multinational corporation based in New Brunswick, has proposed a an expansion of open net-pen salmon aquaculture throughout Nova Scotia that would more than triple current rates of production. The company has said in the past it's aiming for 30,000 metric tonnes throughout the province, up from about 7,500 today. Such an expansion would fundamentally change the coastal seascape of Nova Scotia. Where we now drive down coastal roads to see lobster fishers hauling traps in the inshore, we would see salmon farms peppering the coast.

Shockingly, these expansion plans have the support of our very own Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture (NSDFA). The NSDFA says that the negative effects of open-net pens are now totally under control, and that Nova Scotia has the regulatory “gold standard”. Unfortunately, we have learned that this couldn’t be further from the truth.

 

After decades of unfulfilled promises, environmental degradation and a change in regulations after a brief 2013 moratorium, we have seen little to no meaningful change in the fish farming practices in Nova Scotia. The industry operates with impunity, violating legal leasing boundaries for years, risking severely depleted wild salmon stocks, and polluting our bays against the will of the people. Here, we unveil some of the worst impacts of open net-pen aquaculture that we can expect if Cooke is allowed to expand. Meet the Dirty Dozen!

 
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THE DIRTY DOZEN

FEED, FECES & DEBRIS
 

Anchored in our bays and crowded with farmed fish, open net-pens leak diseases, parasites, chemicals, surplus feed, and tons of feces into the surrounding ecosystem where it is spread by currents and tides.  Storms damage the cages scattering broken gear on our shores. According to Norwegian Pollution Control, one mid-sized fish farm produces as much effluent as a city of 50,000. The industry’s own magazine of record, Aquaculture, puts that number at over 65,000!

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INFECTIOUS DISEASES
 

February 5, 2020. The Narwal reports a highly contagious virus has been found in a majority of Clayoquot Sound salmon farms. 

VIRAL DISEASE ON SALMON FARMS
 

One example from British Columbia: A Norwegian strain of piscine orthoreovirus was recently identified at 14 out of 15 farms tested in B.C.'s Clayoquot Sound, 11 of which are owned by Cermaq, the Mitsubishi subsidiary that tried to establish itself here in Nova Scotia. Laboratory testing by the B.C. government showed the underwater effluent was contaminated with the disease found in 80 percent of farmed Atlantic salmon. Researchers linked the disease to a host of fish health problems, including heart and skeletal muscle inflammation and haemorrhages in internal organs. Yikes!