Nova Scotia

Port Medway salmon farm protested

Three men in Queens County were ready Friday to lie down in front of trucks bringing in thousands of juvenile fish to be put into a salmon farm in the Medway River system.
Darrell Tingley (right) and two other men were ready to stop the delivery of juvenile salmon for a fish farm near Port Medway. (CBC)

Three men in Queens County were ready to lie down in front of trucks bringing in thousands of juvenile fish to be put into a salmon farm in the Medway River system Friday.

"I don't think they're very comfortable in running over people, so we'll be here in front of them and see what happens," Darrell Tingley said.

He and two other men walked down to the wharf in Port Medway, expecting several trucks from New Brunswick-based Cooke Aquaculture to load thousands of juvenile salmon into four huge tanks on an aquaculture boat.

"We're here today to put a stop to the trucks," Tingley said.

A boat in Port Medway was waiting Friday to take salmon smolt to a nearby fish farm. ((CBC))
On Thursday, the vessel was loaded up and steamed to a fish farm — to seed it with the smolt or juvenile salmon so they can be grown into fish to sell.  

But, strong winds and heavy seas stopped the delivery Friday, as well as any need for the human blockade or any need for RCMP officers to take action.

Tingley is leading the fight by anglers against bringing small salmon from New Brunswick to waters near the Medway River.

"Up to a million fish in one area, and there's a lot of pollution, disease, there's also the ruinage of the ocean floor through the feces and the waste of feed going there which has an impact on the lobster fishery, the shell fish harvesters," Tingley said.

Impact of farm fishing

There has been an ongoing debate over the impact of fish farming or aquaculture.

"The escapes, for us, are a real challenge because if they [farmed salmon] get into the Medway River system, that will be the ruination of the wild fish," Tingley said.

The concern is that the farmed fish will spread parasites and interbreed with wild fish in the Medway River.

"These fish are bred purposely to be raised to be killed for food," he said.

Tingley said the fight is not over.

"We'll be back tomorrow, or as soon as we get word they are coming in," he said.

Last Friday, about 75 fishermen, environmentalists and concerned citizens gathered in Halifax and brought sludge from existing salmon farms in other parts of the province to the protest outside the legislature.

The Nova Scotia government recently approved two salmon farms in St. Marys Bay in the southwestern part of the province.

Each farm will stock about 700,000 fish and is part of a $150-million expansion by New Brunswick-based Cooke Aquaculture.

The farms will total about 84 hectares.