Friends of Port Mouton Bay - Community Meeting

July 18, 2007

“The Port Mouton Bay Ecosystem” - Presentation by Loucks/Smith

Wednesday evening almost 300 people people attended a “Friends of Port Mouton Bay” community meeting. See photos below. There were several meeting objectives. First goal was to inform community members of the status of the application for a 70 acre salmon farm in the bay. The second was to share publicly research conducted by oceanographers Dr. Ron Loucks and Ruth Smith.

As the large group learned, the application still under review. Transport Canada, the lead Federal Authority has indicated that it will be late summer/early fall before the Federal Government issues their decision. The Provincial Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture reviews input from the Federal government, as well input from its own staff. The province can also decide to hold a public hearing at which time all stakeholders will be asked to provide input. The province can approve the application or deny the application at any time in the process.

The Loucks and Smith presentation revolved around four show stoppers. These show stoppers, a term used by DFO, are criteria that cause rejection of an aquaculture application. They include: prior history at the site, presence of critical habitat, cumulative impact, and poor site suitability.

Loucks/Smith used the local knowledge of fishermen and locals combined with their studies to demonstrate that the proposed site meets "show stopper" conditions. And, the research shows that Port Mouton Bay is already experiencing major environmental changes such as algae growth and reduced shellfish numbers; changes which are not being reported in neighbouring bays. It is the theory that the existing farm is contributing to these changes. And expansion will only accelerate these changes and cause further disruption of natural marine patterns in the bay. The Loucks/Smith team was very well received.

View the Loucks/Smith presentation, “The Port Mouton Bay Ecosystem”

Notables in the crowd were Queens MLA Vicki Conrad, Dr. Jim Smith (federal Liberal candidate for South Shore/St. Margaret's Bay) and Jennifer Graham (Ecology Action Centre). Federal MP Gerald Keddy was unable to attend. However he expressed his continued opposition to the expansion in a letter he penned a few hours before the meeting.

The community remains firm in its belief that 70 acres of open net salmon farm will result in significant hardships to those involved in the natural fishery and will cause major ecological harm to Port Mouton Bay.

Meeting Photos

Darlene Norman providing updates.

Darlene Norman reviewing status of the project. (Photo by D. Alex Ross)

Dr. Ron Loucks and Ruth Smith making their presentation

Dr. Ron Loucks and Ruth Smith presenting “The Port Mouton Bay Ecosystem”. (Photo by D. Alex Ross)

Vicki Conrad addressing the crowd.

Vicki Conrad, MLA, speaking to the group about her discussions with provincial officials. (Photo by D. Alex Ross)

Another view of the rally.

Attentive audience listening to Darlene give update, and make introductions. (Photo by D. Alex Ross)