I feel compelled to provide your readers with my perspective regarding Grieg NL’s proposed salmon sea farm and hatchery project; it’s different than the views of Bill Bryden in his recent letter in The Telegram (“Viking invasion — the sad second saga”), published Jan. 12.
The only natural resources Grieg NL is asking for at the present time is a very tiny percentage of space in Placentia Bay coupled with clean water and a small piece of land in Marystown.
Our region’s efforts to have an aquaculture industry in Placentia Bay dates back as far as 1999 when the Schooner Regional Development Corporation hired an emerging fisheries development officer to promote aquaculture. You can just imagine my delight when I heard that the Grieg Group in Norway was proposing to establish modern and sustainable sea farms in Placentia Bay and a state-of-the-art salmon hatchery in Marystown; I could just imagine the long-term employment opportunities, both on land and at sea. I’m very confident in saying that an overwhelming majority of the residents in our region was and still is ready with open arms to welcome Grieg NL and we are looking forward to working with and helping to grow the company.
We most certainly don’t feel that we are being invaded by Vikings.
Mr. Bryden goes to great length to compare the value of fish farms in Norway to those in our province; what Mr. Bryden fails to understand, is that our province has been slowly developing our aquaculture industry for the last 30 years and when it’s as large and profitable as Norway’s, we, too, can consider an increase to obtain a licence and to lease sites.
Mr. Bryden feels our province “is once again being stripped of its resources by outside interests and that our aquaculture industry shouldn’t be yet another giveaway.” The only natural resources Grieg NL is asking for at the present time is a very tiny percentage of space in Placentia Bay coupled with clean water and a small piece of land in Marystown.
The Grieg NL aquaculture project, in return, has the potential to create thousands of direct and indirect jobs, help grow our local and provincial economies, contribute millions of dollars to both the federal and provincial governments in taxes, and the company will spend millions of dollars of its own money on necessary infrastructure and other products.
Mr. Bryden also makes reference to “farmed salmon being an inferior food source to our organic resources”; Mr. Bryden must surely know, as I do, that farmed salmon is a highly valued fish species and is enjoyed all over the world, and is, and will be in the future, an even more important source of protein.
I’m respectfully asking Mr. Bryden to focus more of his efforts and free time on trying to find out why the lobster fishery in Placentia has virtually collapsed, and to help determine why there is an exploding green crab population and to help determine the negative consequences that crab species is having on our precious ecosystems.
Surely Grieg NL isn’t the cause.