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Aquaculture Expansion in Placentia Bay Raises Alarm for Fish Harvesters

September 11, 2019

This week, the provincial government announced approval of environmental plans for a controversial aquaculture expansion in Placentia Bay despite overwhelming objections by fish harvesters in the region. As an important stakeholder in Placentia Bay, FFAW-Unifor continues to have serious concerns regarding the approval process and lack of meaningful consultation.

The conditional approval pending environmental assessment is for 11 new sea cages throughout Placentia Bay by Grieg Newfoundland, a subsidiary of Grieg Group and OCI. Placentia Bay is a heavily trafficked area with by far the highest concentration of small fishing vessels during peak fishing times. The area has already experienced significant industrial development in recent years that has encroached on the inshore fishery and heightened safety and environmental risks.

“The inshore fishery is once again being displaced by industrial development in traditional fishing grounds,” says FFAW-Unifor President Keith Sullivan. “Fish harvesters in Placentia Bay have had their concerns ignored during the completely inadequate consultations thus far in the approvals process.”

Fish harvesters are concerned about lost crab, lobster, cod and other fishing grounds and habitat. Furthermore, there are concerns about other effects on wild fish, such as parasites and disease, environmental contamination and navigational hazards as well as increased steaming times which the wild harvest industry will have to deal with if this project is approved.If there is going to be aquaculture development in Newfoundland and Labrador, it must be weighed against the possible impact it has on valuable inshore fisheries and the health of the marine environment.

“Moving this project forward in Placentia Bay will be very detrimental to the inshore fishery in this region,” concludes Sullivan.