Below the Surface : What Divers have Discovered

“Friends” strongly contends that the existing fish farm at Spectacle Island (#835) has severely harmed the marine environment. This belief is based on the experience of local lobster fisherman, and confirmed by provincial test results of sediment below the fish farm.

A leisurely walk on Carter's Beach does not alert the casual observer to what is happening below the water's surface. However, divers can see the effects of the fish farm first-hand. And, as they say, “seeing is believing”.

Interview with Divers : Kathy and Dave Brush

During August 2007, Kathy and Dave Brush, completed four dives, on a volunteer basis, in Port Mouton Bay. The dives took place in areas outside the boundaries of the existing fish farm lease area, and near Port Mouton Island. What they saw near the existing fish farm both amazed and concerned them.

Listen to the interview of Kathy and Dave about their dives in Port Mouton Bay. Interview conducted August 15th by Blair Davis.
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Kathy and Dave Brush wearing diving gear

Kathy and Dave Brush - Their photos and observations during their dives in Port Mouton Bay are the source of the information presented here. (Photo: Blair Davis)

Preliminary Report on Divers Findings

“Friends” have been compiling the findings from the divers, Kathy and Dave Brush plus others, noting what they see and where, and examining their underwater photos (see below). The divers reported that around the existing fish farm (#835):

Estimated Underwater “Footprint” of Existing Fish Farm

We estimate that this area, or footprint, on the sea bed (see diagram below) is approximately 10 times greater than the area of the aquaculture site. In other words, “far-fields” effects of the fish farm operations are real and indisputable.

Diagram showing approximate footprint of waste around Site 835

To refine our estimate of the waste footprint size, more dives are planned in the coming weeks. This report will be updated as more information is collected.

Negative Impact Outside the Lease Area

The fact that divers report the fish farm waste extends far beyond the official lease area of site #0835 is a grave concern:

Based on this evidence, the proposed aquaculture site could create a waste area footprint 10 times its lease size, or 240 affected hectares. The sum of these two waste-laden areas would result in cumulative effects that would further severely degrade the marine environment in the Bay.

The community surrounding Port Mouton Bay intends, with its partners, to monitor, document and foster the restoration and rehabilitation of this ecosystem to its former healthy condition.

For more details, view the PDF version of this report.

Pictures by Kathy and Dave Brush

Seabed Around the Existing Fish Farm Site

Yardstick standing upright in waste layer, up to 32 inch mark. Location A (Photo: Kathy and Dave Brush)

“Hole” in waste layer. Location B (Photo: Kathy and Dave Brush)

View of numerous holes from venting gas, and “cloud” of waste created when disturbed. Location C (Photo: Kathy and Dave Brush)

Seaweed with thin covering of waste. Location D (Photo: Kathy and Dave Brush)

Seabed Near Proposed Fish Farm Site

Jellyfish swimming in clear water. Location E (Photo: Kathy and Dave Brush)

Crab moving along the sand bottom. Location F (Photo: Kathy and Dave Brush)

Scallop and sand dollars on firm sand bottom. Location G (Photo: Kathy and Dave Brush)

Crab amongst the seaweed. Location H (Photo: Kathy and Dave Brush)

Comparison of Seabed within and outside the Waste Perimeter

No visible life within waste perimeter. Location I (Photo: Kathy and Dave Brush)

Contrast above with this picture of marine life on a gravel, rocky bottom, 30 m from waste perimeter. Location J (Photo: Kathy and Dave Brush)