The provincial government talks a great deal about aquaculture, says NDP Environment Critic Gerry Rogers, but not as much about the potential environmental harm the industry can cause. Today in the House of Assembly, she asked government for some assurances that this province’s regulations will keep up with those in the rest of the world.
“Government has identified aquaculture as a priority industry. Jobs in this sector are important to many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. We therefore have a collective responsibility to build an industry that is sustainable for the environment and for the people who want long-term employment,” she said during Question Period.
“I ask the Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources, when will we have the same robust regulations for aquaculture that exist in other jurisdictions, to ensure we have a state-of the art, world class sustainable industry?”
Rogers notes that in other places with established aquaculture industries, the effects of open-pen aquaculture, such as is the norm in this province, have been so deleterious the practice has been discontinued.
“The Norwegian industry has halted open-pen salmon aquaculture because sea lice are costing them millions and they can’t get rid of them. New technology is being developed for salmon aquaculture in order to minimize adverse impacts on wild fisheries and the environment,” said Rogers.
“What research and development is this government doing to ensure the industry provides sustainable employment and adheres to science-based best practices around the world?”