The decision to release a multimillion-dollar plan to farm salmon in Placentia Bay from further environmental assessment won't change, says Perry Trimper, minister of Environment and Climate Change.
On July 22, the minister released the Grieg NL Nurseries Ltd. and Grieg NL Seafarms project from further environmental assessment.
- Major aquaculture project in Placentia Bay released from N.L. environmental assessments
The decision was appealed Aug. 31, 2016, in accordance with Section 107 of the Environmental Protection Act.
In a news release Friday afternoon, the province government announced: "The minister has considered the appeal documents and has determined that the original decision to release the project from further environmental assessment will remain in effect."
The minister elaborated on his decision in a letter to the appellant.
Largest nursery/hatchery in Canada
Grieg's plans include a new $75-million state-of-the-art hatchery/nursery facility in Marystown that will produce seven million smolts annually to stock 11 sea cage sites for a harvest of 33,000 tonnes of Atlantic salmon.
Four bay management areas will be developed along the western side of Placentia Bay and near Long Harbour.
According to a news release, the hatchery/nursery will be the largest in Canada and one of the largest in the world.
Provincial government promising millions too
Municipal and Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Keith Hutchings announced in October 2015 that Grieg will invest some $251 million in a project that will more than double aquaculture in the province and create roughly 325 direct jobs.
"This MOU sets the stage to make Newfoundland and Labrador the largest aquaculture producer in eastern Canada. We will rival the output of British Columbia, which currently leads among the Canadian provinces," said Hutchings.
Plan criticized by environmentalists
In July, a spokesperson for a Nova Scotia-based environmental organization said the government of Newfoundland and Labrador is falling into a familiar pattern by clearing the way for a huge new salmon farm proposed for Placentia Bay.
'We have such a history of being a bit of a banana republic with our environment.' - Susanna Fuller
"Coastal communities, particularly in Atlantic Canada, we're always looking for some panacea, some solution to make sure people have jobs," Susanna Fuller, marine campaign co-ordinator for the Ecology Action Centre, told the St. John's Morning Show.
"We have such a history of being a bit of a banana republic with our environment because we are desperate for the employment."