New Brunswick

Fish farm slowdown urged by East Coast group

Nova Scotia and New Brunswick fishermen and environmental groups have formed a coalition to protest the direction of government acquaculture policies.

The New Brunswick and Nova Scotia governments should declare a moratorium on licensing new salmon farms, says the Atlantic Coalition for Aquaculture Reform.

The alliance of fishermen and environmental groups from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick was formed earlier in October to protest the direction of government aquaculture policies.

Aquaculture sites like this one in New Brunswick should be more tightly regulated, the new coalition of fishermen and environmentalists says. ((CBC))

They're concerned about a proposal for New Brunswick-based Cooke Aquaculture to build a 208-acre salmon farm in St. Marys Bay, near Digby, N.S. It would be the largest salmon farm in the province, and is expected to the first in a series of large-scale aquaculture projects.

Coalition spokeswoman Karen Crocker says the group is concerned about the scale of the project, as well as the recent decision to use a marine pesticide for sea lice on New Brunswick salmon farms.

They say large-scale farms will displace fishermen and change the marine environment. Crocker said there are risks if aquaculture develops "uncontrollably" in Canada's coastal waters.

Crocker says groups in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are also talking with like-minded people in British Columbia, in an effort to get federal and provincial officials to hear their concerns.

Shannon Arnold, with the Ecology Action Centre in Halifax, said there is often conflict in Nova Scotia when there is new development.

"And often that arises out of a feeling that people haven't been properly consulted as the plans were being developed," she said.