Aquaculture is treated like other sectors

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 Once again, Jim Bennett is providing misleading information to the public in his commentary in the Jan. 7 paper (“Rolling the dice on aquaculture”), perhaps for political expediency?

Yes, the government has invested in important infrastructure to support the development of sustainable aquaculture in this province.

This is no different than investments made for mining, forestry, fisheries, tourism or other sectors of the provincial economy. Aquaculture is developing at a moderate and well-planned pace in our province.

Mr. Bennett is fully aware that the public purse has contributed important equity loans to companies, loans that have been repaid or are being repaid over the past six to seven years of growth.

These public investments, as they are referred to by Mr. Bennett, are important for leveraging private capital, and while the province may have loaned millions of dollars over the past few years to farmers, the loans have leveraged over $300 million in expenditures by the fish farmers and in total they represent less than 10 per cent of the cost of production.

Newfoundland and Labrador fish farmers are all family-owned businesses, have contributed to gainful employment for over 1,000 men and women in our rural communities, not to mention their contributions to a secure tax base for communities and provincial coffers that far exceed the loans.  

Mr. Bennett’s suggestion to put farms on land is ill informed; this is not their natural environment, they will be raised at unnaturally high densities and the environmental costs will be very much greater than net pen culture.

Net pens are already contained environments where fish are reared in their natural environment, at very low densities, and fed all natural foods. Moreover, land-based salmon farms will not prevent wild fish from being exposed to the main challenges to their recovery, including natural diseases, predation, uncontrolled poaching, climate change, river barriers, pollution, at-sea mortality, etc.   

Lastly, farmed fish are available locally, fresh all year. They are an excellent natural source of essential omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins D and E, not to mention a low fat protein that tastes great. Salmon are part of a balanced diet and Health Canada recommends two servings per week of such fish.

 

Cyr Couturier

executive director

Newfoundland Aquaculture

Industry Association

Organizations: Health Canada, Couturierexecutive directorNewfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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  • Petertwo
    January 16, 2013 - 08:42

    Feeding salmon all "natural" sea food is what rang alarm bells in the UK a few years back. It turned out that the salmon were accumulating higher amounts of PCB's and Mirex from this feed than what were considered "safe" levels. Which, in my mind, there is no such thing as safe levels of these chemicals as they are fat soluble and accumulate in the human body and said to cause cancer. PCB's and Mirex are so wide spread universally in the seas today that no where is free from them. They accumulate in fat of which omega 3 is one, and if it is so beneficial from farmed salmon why not eat farmed salmon everyday, rather than the two meals per week? When was the last time, if ever, have farmed salmon been analyzed for these chemicals here? And what about Salmosan that is considered for use in Bay d'Espoir to kill off the sea lice, that will also kill off the lobster, shrimp and crabs and perhaps the fish like cod that feed on them. Another chemical that our bodies will have to cope with? I'm a little tired of these body snatches that think they have a right to inflict any chemical they like on my body without my permission,which they would never receive. How long will it be before- like Norway in 1975 had to kill off 40 percent of their salmon rivers with rotenone that killed everything including wild salmon- the same needs to be done here? And at the taxpayers expense, with recovery costs as well no doubt.

  • What he's not telling you
    January 15, 2013 - 07:50

    I haven't seen such blatant disregard for the facts since the Iraqi ''information'' minister used to do his daily updates on the Gulf war. The first rule of propaganda is to repeat lies often enough that they get accepted as truth. Some facts that the industry spokesman leaves out in his letter: 1) he has no idea what the environmental impact of land based would be - the industry here has done zero research on it. 2) The industry is being developed at breakneck speeds in NL, while other jurisdictions have put the breaks on and slowed or halted quick expansion. 3) Other jurisdictions do not put a fraction of the public money spent here into their operations. 4) These ''family owned businesses'' are owned by families from outside of NL, and even North America in most cases. 5) Wild salmon are recovering in every part of our province except near the aquaculture operations despite having to face the same challenges that the industry's propagandist details. 6) Wild fish are a far better source of Omega 3 - the farmed ones only absorb Omega 3 ifg they're fed a diet of fish meal. Speaking of, what happened to the tons of fish meal that were produced from the last outbreak of disease? Still sitting in a warehouse with no buyer no doubt. Courtier suggests that Jim Bennett wrote his letter for 'political expediency''. The last time that I checked, moving Aquaculture out of the open ocean environment wasn't a hot button issue for most voters. It certainly is a hot button issue for the industry though - they might have to give up some of their huge profit margins in exchange for being responsible corporate citizens.