Marystown aquaculture project faces environmental delay

The Marystown Atlantic Salmon Hatchery faces delays and further environmental assessment as a result of submissions to government by proponent Greig Nurseries NL.
A farmed Atlantic salmon swimming. (CBC)

There has been a delay in the Marystown Atlantic Salmon Hatchery project related to its environmental assessment. 

The Department of Environment and Conservation announced Friday that an environmental assessment cannot proceed until a description of the entire project is registered to government as a single undertaking.

Section 29 of the Environmental Assessment Regulations, 2003 states that all components of an undertaking engaged in farm raising fish or shellfish must be registered.

Greig Nurseries N.L. Ltd., the proponent of the venture, failed to include the sea cage components of the project in its submission for environmental assessment. 

Paul Davis says that government will work with Greig to come to an agreement while properly protecting the environment. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

PC Leader Paul Davis spoke about the status of the project on Friday.   

"Our goal is to work towards an agreement with Greig, but we want to make sure that we protect our environment, and that we take all the necessary steps to ensure that we're doing it properly," he told CBC's Jane Adey this week.

Davis also stressed the importance of public consultation in the revised environmental assessment. 

"We need to look and and consider all the potential eventualities, and we do that by talking to people who know the waters best and the potential for impacts best, and that will be part of the process," he said. 

Jumped the gun

Don Ivany of the Atlantic Salmon Federation also spoke with Jane Adey, host of CBC's The Broadcast, about the project, and said that the issue is the result of an oversight by the provincial government in order to get the project up and running.

"In their haste to entertain a new proponent on a project that brings some new money to the table, I think they probably jumped the gun on this and don't realize that their own legislation dictates that the whole proposal, including the sea cage component, has to be registered for environmental assessment," Ivany said.

He believes that it is in the public's best interest to have the current proposal withdrawn and to have the project as a whole be resubmitted and subject to a full environmental assessment. 

Greig may now submit supplementary information to be added to the existing submission, or withdraw the submission entirely and put forward a new document that describes the full scope of the project.

In either case, another 45-day review period will be required, which includes a 35-day public review period. 

With files from Jane Adey