Letters of Concern

In the fall of 2006, Friends of Port Mouton Bay launched a concerted effort to stop the approval of a second fish farm. We received many letters of support for our position.

In March 2009, the Province of Nova Scotia announced a “indefinite” moratorium on more finfish aquaculture operations in the Bay. Letters, like those shown below, were crucial in getting the provincial government's attention, and contributed to the subsequent moratorium announcement.

Mayor Leefe Writes To Minister Of Fisheries

Region Of Queens Against Fish Farm Proposal

August 23, 2006
The Honourable Ron Chisholm
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries
Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
P.O. Box 2223
Halifax, N.S., B3J 3C4

Dear Minister,

On August 21, the Council of the Region of Queens Municipality passed the following resolution of which I attach an official copy imprinted with the municipal seal. To wit:

That the Region of Queens Municipality opposes the application of Aqua Fish Farms Ltd. for approval of a salmon fish cage site adjacent to Port Mouton Island and that the Mayor be authorized to send a letter to the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries expressing the Region's concern.

The Region is completely and irrevocably opposed to the application by Aqua Fish Farms Ltd. for the following reasons:

  1. The proposed site of 28 hectares is entirely inordinate and if granted would be by any and every measure significantly greater than the largest Atlantic salmon site approved for the entire province.
  2. The proposed site is clearly marked as a safe anchorage on Canadian hydrographic survey maps.
  3. The proposed site is immediately adjacent to a sand beach, dune and wetland complex on Port Mouton Island that at the request of the Region, is being assessed for protection under provincial statute.
  4. The lobster fishery is now the backbone of the inshore fishery and the area encompassed within the proposal is active lobster ground. 
  5. Port Mouton Bay hosts 16-hectare Summerville Provincial Park and the 25 hectare Carter's Beach/Wobamkek Beach protected area.  These protected areas must not be put at risk.
  6. Tourism is a vital sector of the local economy both in employment and creation of new wealth.  The proposed site holds out the very real prospect of putting current and potential new investment at risk.
  7. The impact of such an immense project raises valid questions respecting the capacity of the natural environment to cope with such things as fecal matter.
  8. There are certain places that must be protected from unwelcome development such as the proposed operation just simply because they are there.  Port Mouton Bay is one such place.
  9. There is a valid question respecting the size and location of the proposed site and well established shipping lanes.
  10. The proposed project does not appear to be capable of being classed a sustainable activity within the context of provincial government policy, which in large measure is still seen to lie within the classic Bruntland definition.

For these reasons and doubtless others, the Region of Queens Council is unanimously of the view that the proposal must not be approved.  We look forward to your government's support in ensuring that this application is not successful.

Sincerely yours,
John G. Leefe DCL

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Gerald Keddy, MP

An Open Letter To The Residents of Queens County:

January 11, 2007

Over the past several months I have been approached by many concerned citizens of Queens County about the proposed expansion of the salmon farm in Port Mouton Bay operated by Aqua Fish Farms Ltd. This expansion is not supported by the majority of its neighbors, including landowners, fishermen, recreational boaters and the Region of Queens Municipality.

Although I was apprehensive to get involved, as this is provincial jurisdiction, I have spoken with The Honourable Ronald Chisholm, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture several times about the seriousness of this issue in an attempt to find a resolution.

Like Minister Chisholm, I believe aquaculture has a future in Nova Scotia. As well, I appreciate the fact he is working within provincial guidelines that he must adhere to. However, I have pointed out to the Minister what I believe to be legitimate objections against this site, including: safe anchorage provided by Port Mouton Island, the proximity of several beaches and federal and provincial parks as well as the fundamentals concerning water depth, navigation and lobster habitat.

I have also been both briefed and lobbied by Mayor Leefe and councilor Darlene Norman as well as former MLA Kerry Morash all of whom have been fair and balanced in their comments but unwavering in their opposition to the site. I have also spoken to the owners of Aqua Fish Farms to try and find a more suitable location as a compromise to the current dilemma.

I have been asked by many constituents to make public my position on this issue and I hope this letter leaves no doubt that I am working closely with the province and local government against an expansion of the existing site in Port Mouton Bay.


Gerald Keddy, MP
South Shore - St. Margaret's

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Asks Residents For Input

Conrad Concerned About Fish Farm

Vicki Conrad, MLA for Queens, has written to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Ron Chisholm, about her concerns over a 29 hectare salmon farm being proposed by a New Brunswick company that would operate close to Port Mouton Island and less than a kilometer from a beach and wetland that the local municipality wants to be officially protected.

Conrad has also asked that local residents be included in any review of the proposal.

"A growing number of local residents are increasing concerned about this proposal," says Conrad, "and I share their concern.". Several hundred residents have already signed a petition to stop the fish farm development. "Chief among those concerned are fishermen who say their livelihoods will be adversely affected by the fish farm because the tides in the area are not sufficient to properly flush the waste from the proposed operation," Conrad wrote to the Minister. The fishermen also say that an existing fish farm owned by the same company has already affected the vital lobster fishery in Port Mouton, Harbour.

Conrad also pointed out to the Minister the importance of tourism to area and that the proposed fish farm site is near to well-known and well-loved local beaches, like Carters, Summerville, Hunts Point and Southwest Port Mouton. "I understand from one of your officials that there is a review underway into the proposal for the new fish farm. I think you will agree that there is a lot at stake for fishermen, tourism operators and other residents of this area," added Conrad. "They have a great deal of knowledge about the area and the surrounding waters. They live and work there and must be given their say before any decision about it is made."

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Letter from: Queens County Fish and Game Association

To: Honorable Ron Chisholm, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture

P.O. Box 2223
Halifax, Nova Scotia
B3J 3C4

Dear Minister Chisholm,

On behalf of our members, I would like to advise that at our meeting held on November 23, 2006 a motion was passed that our Association oppose the proposed aquaculture application for the Port Mouton area, which is presently under review by your Department.

We have become very familiar with aquaculture operations over the years, and it is our opinion that this application is not in the best interests of the local habitat, fish populations, and citizens. It would also likely cause negative impacts affecting local residents and tourists, and economic repercussions within the County.

On this bay we have several parks and beaches, areas closed to clam harvesting that we are attempting to resolve, and recreational angling species including sea trout that utilize the bay. We are also becoming concerned that land based aquaculture, which is gaining popularity in Europe, is not being promoted as the preferred method in Nova Scotia.

We appreciate the efforts of your Department in Nova Scotia, and offer this input on the aquaculture process, in an objective unbiased manner.

Thank you for considering the position we have taken.

Yours respectfully,

David Dagley

cc: Region of Queens Municipality
cc: Vicki Conrad MLA

Letter from: Christopher Cohoon

Department of Philosophy
State University of New York at Stony Brook
Stony Brook, NY 11794

August 31, 2007

Kevin LeBlanc
Environmental Officer
Transport Canada
P. O. Box 42
Moncton NB E1C 8K6

Dear Mr. LeBlanc,

You have already received multiple letters protesting the proposal to create a second fish farm in Port Mouton Bay (proposed Aquaculture Facility #1251; FEAI Number 32937). The details of the many compelling scientific, economic, cultural, and aesthetic arguments against this proposal are surely still fresh in your mind, so I will not recite them here. I am writing simply to add my voice to the already large body of community dissent. Please continue reading.

My mother purchased land in South West Port Mouton two years ago and has since built a small home there. I spent a blissful month by the sea this summer and, although I am currently working in the United States, I plan to return home each Christmas and summer. Nova Scotia is my home and native land and Port Mouton Bay has quickly become a very dear part of it.

However, after having spoken with many local people and having attended the July 18 community meeting at the West Queens Recreation Centre, I have come to be deeply concerned about the proposed fish farm site. I share the social values of the community: the richness and beauty of the land and sea are gifts to be received responsibly and enjoyed sustainably, gifts to be held in trust. Port Mouton Bay is the natural and cultural reservoir of the community and the soul of the local identity. For generations, local people have been drawing upon traditional ecological wisdom to manage and protect the bay, carefully harvesting its yield with a view to its future uses and profound aesthetic value. By producing harmful and ineliminable waste and by occupying nearly seventy acres of sea space, the proposed fish farm would violate this wisdom. The few new jobs it might create simply would not justify the certain detrimental consequences for the health and beauty of the bay environment, for the prosperity of the long-standing local wild-catch fishery, and for the bay’s significant ecotourism potential. If the mandate of our government is to act in the best interest of its people and their land, how could it consider supporting a venture that has earned the rational dissent of an overwhelming majority?

Please re-read the other letters you have already received and carefully read those you will receive in the coming months. Listen to the ones who know and love Port Mouton Bay. So many sensible and sensitive people oppose the proposed fish farm. Would you not be proud to tell your grandchildren that you were one of them?

Even better, visit the bay yourself. Ask Clyde Fisher to take you to Port Mouton Island. Spend a night on Back Beach. As you will discover, the earth has its own reasons.

Christopher Cohoon

CC: Premier Rodney MacDonald; Ronald Chisholm, Nova Scotia Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture

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Letter from: Sandy Brown

To: Premier Rodney MacDonald, Hon. Ron Chisolm, Hon. Mark Parent, MP Gerald Keddy, MP Rona Ambrose:

Gentlemen and Lady;

I am writing to appeal to your sense of fairness and awareness of the extreme beauty of Port Mouton Bay, and of the strong feelings of those of us who live and love this area for it's natural beauty, it's rare ecological dune system, it's incredible pristine state, so rare on this planet.

I am more than concerned of the potential for damage, to the existing lobster fishery, which is the only source of income for the fisherfolk of this community, many of whom struggle to survive as it is.

We have mounted a strong lobby, made up of reasonable people, who have various reasons for wanting to maintain the Bay as is. I am impressed that we have listened in a fair way to the proponents, have kept a balanced focus, but at this point cannot be convinced that this proposal is in any way beneficial to our community, in job creation, or in financial spin-off to the community.

When 2000 people in this community and the community at large, feel this strongly, through letter writing, signing petitions, through listening to both sides of the argument, I hope and pray that our views will be considered.

Gerald, you have been so helpful in the past, when Canada Post tried to close small rural Post Offices, and know first hand the cost of a tide of disgruntled voters and the power we have to show our displeasure.

I ask all of you, consider our concerns, and locate this Aqua finfish farm in a community that will appreciate the benefits.

Sandy Brown
Postmaster, CPC,
8479 Hwy 103
Port Mouton, B0T 1T0

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Letter from: Fred Giffin

Originally posted on Queens County Times, Nov. 30, 2006

On Proposed Fin Fish Farm

Many concerns have been expressed about the negative impacts of this farm on the local fishery, tourism and the beaches. I will not expand upon those.

During my career in the Pulp and Paper industry with Bowater, I was involved in negotiations with the federal and provincial departments of the environment concerning regulations governing the suspended and dissolved solids contained in the effluent from the Bowater mill in Brooklyn. These regulations were very stringent; Bowater spent approximately $10 million to remove the suspended solids from the stream, and another $30 million to build a holding pond with aeration to reduce the oxygen demand and toxicity of the effluent stream. It had already been shown with studies of oxygen content and marine life that the dissolved solids had no negative effect on the receiving water. Briefly, the Company was required to go beyond the necessary, and if the regulations were not met, the mill would not operate.

I give you this example as a contrast with the lack of regulations regarding aquaculture. At this point it appears that this large fish farm will be allowed to let all of the suspended solids drop into Port Mouton Bay without any attempt at removal or treatment. At normal operating levels, the farm would be equivalent to a community of 15,000 people discharging waste into this area! How can a government concerned with the environment, one which forces other industry to go beyond the call of duty, allow this to happen?

I was told by a representative of Aqua Fish farms that technology has been developed that would remove the solids, but that it doesn't work well, and is not economical.

How far do you think an answer like that would get the Pulp and Paper industry? If means of removal of these solids cannot be developed, installed and operated economically, then the world is not ready for aquaculture of the magnitude proposed for Port Mouton Bay. The government departments must make regulations and enforce them the same as would be done for other industry.

As you are probably already aware, the regional government, our MLA, Conservative party representatives, and the citizens of this county have been very united in opposition to the proposed fish farm. It would seem that such a strong opposition would be able to negate any deals that have brought this outlandish proposal to this level.

I trust that the proposal for this farm will be put to rest very soon and that a major emphasis will go toward determining how aquaculture can be operated with responsible concern for the environment.

Fred Giffin

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Following is a form letter being sent to all municipal politicians, along with Department of Fisheries, Tourism and Environment, and others.

Aug. 18, 2006
Dear Sir/Madam,

We are writing on behalf of the concerned citizens of South Queens, to express our strong opposition to the proposed fish farm for the west side of Port Mouton Island.

We are aware that Aqua Fish Farms, of L'Etang, New Brunswick, has an application, now before the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, to develop a large salmon farm, approximately triple the size of the existing farm off Spectacle Islands. As you are aware, there have been some long-standing concerns with the existing fish farm, particularly with regard to its impact on the surrounding environment, its beaches and in-shore lobster fishery.

The location for the proposed new farm is near Back Beach on Port Mouton Island, and would encompass nearly 29 hectares, making it the largest fish farm in the province. There are many reasons we are opposed to this massive project, and have set forth only a few of them below.

First, we are concerned that Port Mouton Bay does not have the natural flushing power to eliminate the waste products from this proposed fish farm, thus harming the natural eco-system and doing irreparable damage to the our pristine waters, shorelines and natural habitat.

Second, we, the residents, property owners, fishermen and business people, view this beautifully scenic and pristine area as having much greater potential for tourism, a $1.3 billion industry in Nova Scotia. The area is widely recognized around the province and beyond for its beautiful white sand beaches, clean waters and spectacular scenery. Important beaches in this area that would be affected include Summerville, White Point, Hunts Point, Carters, Wobemkak, Back Beach and South West Port Mouton Beach. The beauty of this unique area attracts people from around the world. Do we want to jeopardize that for the few jobs that a fish farm would provide?

Third, this is an area with a lucrative in-shore lobster fishery, the only in-shore fishery left here. Already, lobster fishermen have seen a decline in catches. We believe protection of the lobster fishery here is essential to maintaining the culture and way of life that has existed here for hundreds of years. Do we want to threaten a crucial fishery that is essential to the very fabric and make-up of the land and its people?

Fourth, we have been informed that this area proposed for development is marked on navigational maps as a shipping channel and should be kept free and clear.

Fifth, the area in question is currently under review as a provincially protected site. We are aware that Mayor John Leefe and municipal council are seeking protected status for that important beach area.

Sixth, we, the residents of the area, simply do no want or desire a large fish farm in our beautiful bay.

We hope that you will give serious consideration to the concerns and wishes of the people who live here in this beautiful and unique part of the province. We also ask that you keep us informed on any new developments in relation to this project, as we wish our voice to be heard as the application goes through the normal channels and processes.

We have circulated a petition in the community and within a few days have had overwhelming support against this proposed fish farm. The petition has already more than 450 signatures and is still growing. While we agree that economic development and progress are important, we believe that it MUST be done in a careful, thoughtful, prudent and SUSTAINABLE way.

Please hear our voices!

Clyde Fisher
Brigitte Petersman

On behalf of the residents, business owners, fishermen and tourism operators of Port Mouton Bay and surrounding communities.

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Letter from: Gordon & GeorgAnn Delaney

Municipal Council
Region of Queens Municipality
Nova Scotia


Dear Mayor Leefe and Municipal Councillors,

As property owners and licensed operators of a tourism business in the Region of Queens, we wish to voice our strong opposition to a proposed new fish farm near Back Beach, off Port Mouton Island.

We are aware that Aqua Fish Farms, of L'Etang, New Brunswick, has an application, now before the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, to develop a large fish farm, approximately triple the size of the existing farm off Spectacle Islands.

As you are aware, there have been some long-standing concerns with the existing fish farm, particularly with regard to its impact on the surrounding environment, its beaches and in-shore lobster fishery.

The proposed new finfish farm is expected to reach a size of nearly 29 hectares, or 70 acres, making it the largest in the province.

We fear that Port Mouton Bay does not have the natural ability to eliminate the waste products from this proposed fish farm, thus harming the eco-system and doing irreparable damage to the our pristine waters, shorelines and natural habitat.

We believe this beautiful and unique area of the province, with its spectacular scenery and pristine white sand beaches, has huge potential for tourism, an environmentally-friendly and sustainable industry worth $1.3 billion in Nova Scotia.

We have invested in this area and are planning to invest more to expand our current tourism business. We believe the proposed fish farm would have a detrimental and irreparable effect, on the local eco-system, tourism and the lucrative in-shore lobster fishery.

As operators of a tourism business, we talk with people from around the world and we hear all the time what a jewel this region is and they can't wait to return. With the challenges now facing the tourism industry, can the tourism operators in the region afford another blow?

We agree that economic development and progress are important to this region, but we believe that it MUST be done in a careful, thoughtful, prudent and SUSTAINABLE way.

We hope you will give this careful consideration and say no to this proposed development.

Gordon & GeorgAnn Delaney

The Dunes Cottage by the Sea 902-680-5667 (cell)

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Letter from: Hugh Byrne

Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture Attn.: Mr. Toby Balch
P. O. Box 2223
Halifax, N.S.  B3J 3C4

Dear Mr. Balch,

I am appalled and absolutely furious that the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture is even considering allowing AquaFish Farms of New Brunswick to build a second fish farm in Port Mouton Bay!
I am totally opposed to this incredibly stupid and dangerous proposal! Your department is supposed to protect the interests of the people, not the interest of a greedy corporate few! What are you thinking of?

Let AquaFish Farms build their huge mess in New Brunswick where they reside, instead of exporting to us their algae-clouded water, their chemical pollutants, their greasy rocks and beaches and their far flung deposits of fish waste. If the second fish farm is so important, let them keep the damned thing at home and wallow in the mess themselves, I say!

Down with the fish farm! And while you're at it, why don't you take out the one that's already here. We really don't want that either!

Tell AquaFish to just go away and leave us alone! We don't want their crap! And tell the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture to listen to real people for a change, instead of a bunch of deaf fat-cat politicians!

If Rodney wants popularity so badly, let him stop the huge greasy fish farm! He would be loved for that!

Yours truly,

Hugh Byrne
Old retired geezer

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Letter from: Pam Ackerman

Len Goucher
Department of Tourism Culture & Heritage
PO Box 456, Halifax, NS., B3J 2R5

Dear Mr. Goucher,

While your government is studying the proposal by Aqua Fish Farms to construct a huge 29 hectare fishfarm in Port Mouton Bay, we, who live in the community that will be most impacted by such a development, haven't even seen the proposal.

So, I am writing to ask you for answers to some of our questions.

1) Why can't we get a copy of the proposal?

2) How will the local lobster and bait fishery, which provides 125 direct jobs plus many more spinoff jobs in the community and has an annual catch worth more than $4,000,000.00, -- how would that fishery be affected by the effluent, antibiotics/feed etc., and the destruction of all sea life on the ocean floor under the pens?

3) The area proposed for the fish farm is both a safe haven for fishing boats and their gear,-- valued at another $4,500,000.00,-- as well, it is a deep water navigation channel for larger ships. How would these activities be impacted?

4) The area is surrounded by beautiful sand beaches and clean water and resorts that attract many tourism dollars each year. Surfing and deep sea diving are two increasingly popular activities because of the fine quality of the water. What will happen to them?

5) There are parts of the world where fish farming is practised and encouraged on land, in tanks with circulating sea water systems. This kind of practice addresses the above concerns and provides good jobs and sustainable profits. Has this been considered here?

I look forward to your answers.


Pam Ackerman, PO Box 123, Hunts Point, NS, B0T 1G0

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Letter from: Neil Brander and Christine Hobbie

We are writing to express our strong opposition to the proposal currently before the Nova Scotian government, regarding the construction of a 28-hectare fish farm near Port Mouton Island.

We recently placed, and had accepted, a bid to purchase land on the bay in South West Port Mouton. We were drawn by the area's exquisite beauty, its miles of protected and pristine beaches, its community character, and its proximity to the Kejimkujik Seaside Adjunct. We were very dismayed, just prior to placing a deposit on the property, to learn of Aqua Fish Farm's proposal to locate its very sizeable operation right in our view, just off of Port Mouton Island. We took the opportunity, during our most recent visit to the area, to speak with local residents about the proposal.

While we have learned from our own research that there is a long history of opposition to salmon aquaculture based on its potential to pollute and disturb the marine environment, we are aware that the industry itself--and most recently its spokesman Ian Hamilton, as Aqua Fish Farm's operator--has attempted to refute those claims. However, one fact stands out for us as being incontrovertible: The people of Port Mouton are staunchly against the fish farm expansion, and in their opinion there is nothing to be gained, and much to be lost, by its approval. We understand that the lobstermen of the area will lose the use of prime unpolluted waters if the fish farm is approved. We understand that the area off Port Mouton Island has constituted a safe haven for approximately 10,000 lobster traps in stormy weather, and that this would be lost if the fish farm is approved. We understand that the proposed fish farm would provide a maximum of 3-6 jobs to the community, while reducing the economic potential of at least 40 lobstermen and many other traditional fishermen. We understand that the people we spoke with are concerned about the effect of the fish farm on their property values, on tourism, and on the natural beauty and cleanliness of the area they live in. We understand that Aqua Fish Farm's current, much smaller operation, which is close to Port Mouton harbor, has indeed affected lobstering, that it has brought intermittent pollution to area beaches, and that it has not resulted in any significant employment for the community.

We ourselves are aghast that this proposal would be considered for an area of such beauty, and frankly, such investment potential. We have searched real estate throughout the south shore of Nova Scotia and have found nothing to approach it in appeal. We would like to purchase land and build a home there; however, in the event of the fish farm's approval by the government, we would be withdrawing our bid, depriving the seller of the property its current value, depriving the community of the taxes associated with the sale and development of that particular property, and depriving local trades people of the opportunity to build and furnish a nice-sized house, and of course the local shops, restaurants, and businesses of our, and our visiting friends', patronage. Nor do we believe we are unique in our fear that the presence of a fish farm off Port Mouton Island would seriously damage the potential for future beneficial residential investment in the area.

We hope you will take our opposition to Aqua Fish Farm's expansion into serious consideration.


Neil Brander and Christine Hobbie
P.O. Box 727
Sheffield, Massachusetts 01257 U.S.A.

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Letter from: Duncan Bowers

March 20, 2007


My name is Duncan Bowers jr, I'm living in Moose Jaw, SK, and i would like to have a say.

Before I moved out here I lived in Port Mouton for 24 years, and I'm getting ready to move back and I have three young children that I would like to grow up the same way I did. By the beautiful Port Mouton Bay, and if aquagem is allowed to expand, then there is no reason for us to even come home, and the water will be so polluted that more people would start leaving and then it would be a ghost island.

My mom and dad depend on the bay for their living and the same as all my relatives and if this keeps going, then what will they do? is the goverment going to give them all pensions and give them the same money that they are making now? is the fishfarm going to payout to all the fisherman for compensation for dead lobster that could die at the moring.

These are some of the questions I would like to know. and if you have any information on how i can become part of the friends of port mouton bay could you please let me know?

The Bowers Family
Moose Jaw, SK

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Letter from: Frederick J. Crocker

March 5th, 2007

Regional Manager
Navigable Waters Protection Program
Transport Canada
Dartmouth District Office
Queen Square
P.O. Box 1013
45 Alderney Drive, 11th Floor
Dartmouth NS
B2Y 4K2

Dear Regional Manger

It has come to my attention that your office has been asking for public input on Aqua Fish Farms' application for Site 1251, Port Mouton Bay. My family has enjoyed vacationing in Queens County each year for almost 20 years and recently purchased a vacation home at White Point.

We have enjoyed our time spent in this area very much and consider ourselves part of the community in fact our daughter is going to marry a young man from Liverpool. Over the years we all have been entranced by the unspoiled beauty of the seacoast and consider our vacations incomplete if we have not, kayaked, scuba dived, surfed or gone fishing at some point during the vacation time we have. With all this intimate exposure to the seacoast of Queens County I can speak with some authority as to the potential loss the province would face if the plan to go forward with the proposed fish farm is brought to fruition.

When the first fish farm was installed, I thought it an interesting addition to the area, in that I would often stop to view the operation on many of my kayak adventures around Spectacle Island. However lately I have started to avoid the area since the farm was expanded and changed their crop to Salmon from Steelhead Trout. I find the area generally smells like a broken down fish truck on a hot day! Additionally it is not pleasant to see the trapped struggling and half dead seabirds that have become trapped in the nets protecting the fish, not what I would think is a good environmental result. Even more however is the perceived quality of the water in the area, when I first started to dive in the area years before the fish farm I was amazed at the clarity of the water off of Carters beach where I would go Scallop diving and exploring the shipwreck in the area, lately however I find that the clarity of the water has changed significantly and the only change I see in the area is the existing fish farm.

I certainly am not an Anti-business advocate, being that I have my own company and certainly would not want someone to shut down my operation at the expense of my family's well being, however when you consider the potential of the seacoast of Queens County as a recreational and ecological attraction vs. the limited income to the area from the fish farm it just doesn't make sense for Canadian and Provincial governments to support the plan.

At present there is not enough being done to promote the area's special nature, all one has to do is to look at the parking lot at the Seaside Adjunct of Kejimkujik National Park on a summer day and wonder why such natural beauty is not being enjoyed by more individuals. One reason is easy access, both the National Park and the Thomas Raddall Provincial Park are not easy for the 1st time visitor to realize what beauty is just a short walk away many visitors never leave their cars. With the Port Mouton Bay area, there already exist easy access to the wonderful view and beaches and the potential for other methods of interaction with the bay such as kayak and boat tours of the islands have only recently been attempted. One only needs to look at the crowds of ECO TOURISTS at places like Bar Harbor, Maine to realize the potential of the Queens county area for increased tourism and the related benefits to the Province and the local community

I would like to make sure that you understand that I feel strongly that going forward with the plan for this fish farm is the wrong path for Canada, the Province of Nova Scotia and the local government to take. Investment to support the recreational and tourism industry and the continued protection of the natural beauty of the area by increasing the scope of the neighboring parks to include the Islands of Port Mouton Bay are the best way to move forward into the future to promote and protect the assets of Queens County and also the financial stability of the area.

Sincerely yours,

Frederick J Crocker

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Letter from: Gloria Gilbert

March 7, 2007
The Superintendent, Navigable Waters Protection Program
Transport Canada PO Box 1013 Dartmouth NS B2Y 4K2

To whom it may concern (Attn: Melinda Donovan)
Re: Proposed Aquaculture Facility #1251 Port Mouton Bay, Nova Scotia
Aqua Fish Farms Ltd. File # 8200-02-2005
Registrar of Queens County deposit number 87264397

The following information is submitted regarding the effect of this work on marine navigation:

Please find enclosed 42 copies of completed and signed questionnaires, also a Summary Report, regarding the lobster fishery and Irish moss harvest industries in Port Mouton Bay. This survey was initiated on December 12 2006 and the summary completed on February 16 2007. (A copy of the Summary and a blank questionnaire were sent to NWPP by e-mail on February 16 2007.)

The District 33, Port Cluster 9, lobster fleet consists of 40 Class A licensed boats, and there are 27 licensed Moss Harvesters operating in the Bay. The value of the lobster fishery is $4 million annually. The Irish moss harvest in District 12 has a value of $250000 to $300000 annually, established in the Bay for 5 years.

Investment in lobster boats and gear totals $15 million, with traps and gear valued at $1 to $1.5 million. Each lobster boat employs its captain and usually 2 crew members.

The lobster fleet has traditionally used the proposed Site 1251 area for a number of purposes:

Other community uses of the location are:

The Fishers' Survey documents the community's experience with Aqua Fish Farms' Site 0835. Displacement of the lobster fleet from the resources and territory of the inner harbour has resulted in increased costs and challenges. To further displace the fishers will multiply negative effects such as increased fuel costs, gear losses and pressure to upgrade to larger boats for fishing on the outer grounds.

Fishers have identified the proposed site as a lobster nursery and molting habitat. In the fall, fishers using nets to catch herring for bait discovered that their nets brought up many berried female lobsters in the part of the Bay wanted by the fish farm! (They now do not fish herring in that location, because of the community's committment to protecting the lobster fishery.) Shrewd placement of traps has revealed the migration paths of lobster to their spawning and molting grounds. This practical science has been valuable to the community!

Aquaculture claims to be a science-based industry, yet there are no site selection criteria that take into account existing fisheries and important marine habitats.There is a question of PRIOR RIGHTS here: How can a company from outside NS supercede the traditional rights and practices of an established and viable fishery?

The Proponent's Environmental Impact Statement fails to address any of the above information... rather, has indicated that the area wanted for aquaculture is not used by local fishers. This is ABSOLUTELY FALSE!

The impacts of Site 0835 (Spectacle Island, Port Mouton Bay) are detailed in the Fishers' Survey. It is a foregone conclusion that similar and worse impacts will be created on a larger site. Both sites are DEPOSITIONAL. Shoals and islands make the fish farm waste collect in "catch basins", rather than being washed out to sea and diluted. Extreme risks to coastal wetlands and beaches are obvious. Soluble nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus are already causing nutrient loading in the stream at Carter's Beach, and rampant algae growth has smothered much of the plant and animal life in the inner harbour. This evidence is very noteworthy, and before any continuance of aquaculture practice in the Bay, it would be wise to apply the PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE, and carefully assess the far-reaching risks!

Aqua Fish Farms' staff shoot seals that become a nuisance around the salmon cages. Dead seals are frequently found on the beaches with bullet holes in them. Acoustic repellent devices are a risk for divers and probably for dogs... the community objects to any and all such practices in an area so close to recreation activities!

The community believes that the project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects that cannot be justified in the circumstances.

The community regards this application as unacceptable under DFO and NWPP authority. Both the Navigable Waters Protection Act and the Fisheries Act are designed in PURPOSE to PROTECT their areas of jurisdiction.

For clarification of any of the above statements, please see the website:

or contact the writer

Gloria Gilbert

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Letter from: Charles and Becky Benton

September 24, 2007

Kevin LeBlanc
Transport Canada
Environmental Services
95 Foundry Street, 6th Floor
Moncton, New Brunswick E1C 5H7

Re: Port Mouton Fish Farm


My wife and I own property located at the causeway in Central Port Mouton which we have been renovating for use as a summer/retirement home. Recently we purchased a desalination system to provide for all of our water needs, this is an 800 gallon/day system similar to that used on ocean going vessels. This is being looked at with interest by other locals since in coastal areas such as Port Mouton, drilled wells can often be marginal at best.

We also have spent a considerable sum putting in a septic pump-out system, which we support since pollution is rightly not tolerated in the coastal environment. As a side note, I professionally work with the US Navy in undersea data collection and have a pretty good understanding of coastal current modeling and littoral bathymetry. I also am a strong supporter of a working waterfront.

We are concerned that the existing fish farm may put our water supply at risk. Specifically, desalination systems should not be run in 'waters one would not swim in'. When the tide and winds are right, the photographic evidence that is readily available shows regional waters that are far above normal in algae and other bio-matter. Recent dive reports point toward a significant layer of fish farm related waste that would explain these results. This sort of matter clogs filters and degrades the reverse osmosis process.

Should the new application be approved, a much greater degree of impact can be expected. Thus, the farm may put at risk not only our water supply, but also a potential water source for the region, which has a history of difficulty in getting clean water. On this basis, we strongly urge and expect you to note this potential hazard in your department's EA and Screening reports.

Lastly, I'm sure you're getting many comments on the impact the existing and proposed farm would have on the local natural fisheries. We believe that the pre-existing natural environment, and the working waterfront it supports, should take precedence over any unnatural and disruptive man-made scheme that displaces both the local environment and the related local economies that government has the obligation to protect.


Charles and Becky Benton
Edgecomb, ME 04556
Central Port Mouton, NS B0T 1T0

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Ecology Action Centre

December 8, 2008
To the Editor, The Advance (Liverpool)

Fisheries Minister Ron Chisholm wrote an Opinion piece that appeared in the Chronicle Herald on September 11, 2008. This was in response to a letter submitted on behalf of the Friends of Port Mouton Bay (Mary Ediger) on September 5, 2008. Minister Chrisoms letter was intended to reassure Nova Scotians that federal environmental assessment and provincial environmental monitoring programs will prevent negative impacts from a salmon farm expansion in Port Mouton Bay.

The Friends of Port Mouton Bay are certainly aware that aquaculture sites go through an environmental assessment process before approval - the proposed site has been in the environmental assessment process for six years. They are also aware that provincial aquaculture monitoring has been ongoing, and that results show the existing site in Port Mouton Bay as the only site in the Province found to be Type C - the worst rating for aquaculture sites (http://www.gov.ns.ca/fish/aquaculture/EMPSummaryReport.pdf). The remediation measures have not succeeded in preventing or correcting the anoxic (low oxygen) condition beneath the cages, resulting from the buildup of waste, which has occurred for at least part of every year since 2004.

According to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, environmental effects from finfish farming include sedimentation, resuspension of waste, eutrophication and altered ecosystem interactions - in short, significant changes to the natural system. Our provincial program monitors sedimentation of waste underneath the cages but no other impacts. The environmental assessment process does not adequately account for the needs of traditional users or cumulative impacts from multiple farms.

Citizens around Port Mouton Bay are right to be skeptical that the environmental assessment and monitoring programs will ultimately protect the Bay, an area that is home to active fisheries. For aquaculture to contribute to sustainable prosperity in Nova Scotia, and for citizens to have faith in government regulatory processes, Nova Scotians will need to know that policies that are supposed to protect the environment actually do so.

Jennifer Graham
Coastal Coordinator
Ecology Action Centre

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Friends of Port Mouton Bay (per Gloria Gilbert)

February 18, 2009

To: Honourable Gail Shea,
Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Dear Minister Shea

Port Mouton NS is a lobster fishing community with a fleet of forty boats, a long history and proven sustainability. Port Mouton Bay is critical habitat for lobsters, a molting, breeding and nursery area that supports lobster stocks along the coast for unknown distances. However, since the establishment of a salmon farm, Site 0835 at Spectacle Island, souring of the seabed by aquaculture waste has displaced the lobster fishery from an area of the Bay greater than 10 times the 8 hectare lease. Dilution and dispersal of fish farm manure is not being achieved due to poor flushing rates in the Bay. These statements are supported by traditional knowledge, scientific studies and a lobster trap yield survey by Friends of Port Mouton Bay.

No environmental assessment was required for Aquaculture Site 0835, even when the size of the lease was expanded, boundaries amended, ownership changed and the lease and license renewed. No Navigable Waters Permit has been issued for the site.

All communities rely on DFO to protect critical habitat, yet the powerful Fisheries Act is being short-circuited by a Memorandum of Understanding that gives jurisdiction over aquaculture sites to the province. Nova Scotia is actively supporting aquaculture growth while taking no responsibility for protecting the natural fishery. The recent Alexandra Morton decision in BC raises questions about the legality of Nova Scotia's agreement with DFO.

The Environmental Monitoring Program carried out by NS Fisheries and Aquaculture reveals that Site 0835 has the worst environmental record in the province. Sulfide levels, the industry's yardstick for environmental impacts, have exceeded Fisheries Act limits consistently since 2002. Even with this information, NSFA renewed the lease at Spectacle Island in March 2005, and an application for a second site was accepted by the province. It makes no sense at all to spread a mistake over a wider area of the Bay. Multiplying production will multiply destruction.

No other industry is permitted to discharge untreated sewage into the environment without penalty.

A proposal for a second salmon farm of 28 hectares threatens to not only block fishing boats from safe navigation, but to usurp an area historically important for lobster and bait fishing, and extremely valuable as "safe haven" for lobster gear during storms. Fishermen have expressed dismay at the proposal to lease a further 28 hectares of the Bay to an aquaculture company while present and future generations of lobster fishermen are left to compete with neighbouring communities for trapping territories. Some fishermen have declared that aquaculture expansion will end their ability to carry on. Their boats are too small to go futher offshore. To invest in a larger boat does not make sense when the lobster nursery is at risk.

The community is encouraged by statements in the media that indicate Minister Shea's concern for the health and sustainability of the lobster fishery. The Minister has also emphasized in media coverage that when communities create their own plans and solve their own problems, there is a greater likelihood of success. Port Mouton is a community working to take charge of its own destiny. Residents have participated in a visioning process and drafted a Vision Statement. Finfish aquaculture is not compatible with a plan that emphasizes a healthy and clean natural environment and the protection of traditional and sustainable livelihoods from the sea.

The community of Port Mouton and supporters from across the country object to open cage fin-fish aquaculture in this Bay. It is not compatible with the physical environment, nor with the lobster fishery. It contradicts community values and goals. The Friends of Port Mouton Bay are aligned with provincial, national and international groups with common interests in the integrity of coastal management and respect for the environment. Fishermen in LFA 33 have as a group declared their support for the fishermen of Port Mouton and for the work of Friends of Port Mouton Bay.

What have we done to substantiate our position?

Please review the Friends of Port Mouton Bay website:

Eighteen formal documents covering the science of the Bay, community history and tradition, and impacts on the environment and fishery are posted on this site. This information has been gathered by volunteers, starting with the alarm raised by the fishermen. Our Science Team is led by Dr. Ron Loucks and Ruth Smith, physical oceanographers who have a record of research and experience in coastal oceanography and environmental assessments in Atlantic Canada. Assistance with research projects has been provided by fishermen and community members (patrolling drogue studies by boat, searching beaches for seabed drifters, reporting and photographing observable changes to the shoreline and under water, and creating interest and committment for ongoing Bay stewardship work). Consultations have been held with NSFA staff. Repeated requests for face to face sharing of information have met with no response from DFO staff. Requests have been made through the Environmental Officer in Transport Canada who administers the EA file, for multi-stakeholder meetings. Due to the extent of public concern and objection, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency has been contacted regarding the need for stakeholder consultations, flaws in the Screening Level Assessment process, and the possibility of upgrading this EA to a Review Panel Assessment.

Port Mouton would welcome and appreciate a consultation with Minister Shea to review the situation personally.


In the meantime, Friends of Port Mouton Bay request the Minister to create a DFO moratorium on aquaculture site approvals in Port Mouton Bay.


The following issues need to be addressed:

* Please refer to the (attached) document in regard to a DFO critique of Friends of Port Mouton Bay's  Cumulative Effects Report (see website)

A prompt reply is requested.

Friends of Port Mouton Bay
per Gloria Gilbert
902 656 3376

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Maritime Aborginal Peoples Council

February 19, 2009

To: Luc Desroches, Aboriginal Consultation Officer
Transport Canada
Moncton, NB

From: Roger Hunka
Maritime Aboriginal Aquatic Resources Secretariate
Maritime Aboriginal Peoples Council
Truro, NS

Read Roger Hunka's Letter (PDF : 1.8mb)

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Lobster Fishing Area 33 (L.F.A. 33)

February 19, 2009

Honorable Ronald Chisholm
Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture
Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
Bank of Montreal Building
5151 George Street
P.O. Box 2223
Halifax, NS B3J-3C4

Re - Support Letter - L.F.A 33 Port Cluster #- 9 Port Mouton,

Lobster Fishermen from L.F.A 33 met in Bridgewater to discuss issues from the current season.

Robert Swim, alternate Port Reprentative from Port Cluster # 9,requested the support of the association in opposing aquaculture expansion in Port Mouton Bay.

The L.F.A. advisory committee has been made aware of pressures on the fishery from an existing salmon farm in the Bay. The members voted unanimously to support the fishermen In Port Mouton Bay.

The Advisory committee respects the careful work done by the Friends of Port Mouton Bay To document the reasons for the opposition and to provide good science for understanding and protecting the Bay ecosystem, lobster nursery and traditional livelihood of the people in Port Mouton.

Your Immediate attention on this matter would be greatly appreciated.

Respectfully Yours,
L.F.A Co- Chair, Patrick Gray

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