News and Events

Carters Beach, Queens County, Nova Scotia: An Assessment of Present Foredune Stability and Recommendations for Reducing Negative Human Impacts. - Report

August 19, 2017 Recent

On June 8, 2017, Dr. Bob Taylor, geomorphologist and Atlantic Canada expert on beach dynamics, came to Port Mouton Bay, and conducted a day of field work at Carter's Beach. Dr. Taylor had been invited by the Carters Beach Community Stewardship Committee and Protected Areas, Nova Scotia Environment to assess the dunes and need, if any, for environmental management.

He has submitted a report on dune stability, and reducing the impact of human activity. This detailed and comprehensive report contains a number of recommendations as well as excellent comparative historical and current photography.

His key recommendations:

This report was submitted to Protected Areas, NS Environment. FPMB hope this valuable assessment will provide guidance for future management decisions.

Read the complete Carters Beach, Queens County, Nova Scotia: An Assessment of Present Foredune Stability and Recommendations for Reducing Negative Human Impacts. (PDF)

Organic Carbon Sediment Accumulation and Nitrogen Excretion from Open Net-Pen Rainbow Trout at Port Mouton Bay - FPMB Report Released

January 21, 2016

FPMB have submitted, to NS DFA, a report titled, Organic Carbon Sediment Accumulation and Nitrogen Excretion from Open Net-Pen Rainbow Trout at Port Mouton Bay.

This report compares the carbon sedimentation and dissolved nitrogen levels of 200,000 salmon versus 400,000 trout. Most recently, the Spectacle Island fish farm had been stocked with 400,000 trout. (Previously it was stocked with salmon.)

The report concludes a stocking level of 400,000 trout at this location is more than 10 times too large for the carrying capacity of the lease site.

Read the complete Report (PDF)

Community Draws Upon Creativity to Help with Future Planning

January 15, 2016

Author: Emma Posluns Msc, Instructor at Saint Mary's University

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Not even the impending winter storm could keep community members from meeting on a cold and blustery January evening. Friends of Port Mouton Bay along with researchers from Saint Mary’s University, Professor Dr. Charles and Emma Posluns, met Friday, January 15 to make a concrete plan outlining how the group would move forward with the OceanCanada Partnership. Port Mouton’s original goal within this partnership was to develop a baseline of information and envision future scenarios for the community, including the future of the fishery. January’s meeting brought the group one step closer to these goals.

The evening started out with a discussion of recent activity concerning the Bay. Community members reported on a meeting with the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, a local baseline population study, and research on the various tools used by other communities in future planning. As in previous meetings, the group discussed the state of the fishery and the difficulties faced by local fishermen in a changing industry.

The final portion of the evening was devoted to creating a visual representation of Port Mouton Bay as a complete picture, which was done by drawing on large pieces of paper covering a central table in the room.

OceanCanada Partnership website: http://oceancanada.org

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Click for larger view

This creative exercise allowed people to visualize what they value in the community, and link various aspects of the whole system. For example, the fishery and the ocean were added to the diagram with arrows connecting them to the Bay, illustrating the relationships between the three components. Coastal Queens Place, a community hub, was added to the illustration with outward arrows that perhaps signify the far-reaching social and economical impacts of this centre. This beneficial exercise helped to involve everyone in the discussion, and resulted in a personalized view of the region designed by local residents.

The successful evening culminated with the decision on how to move forward. First, a core committee was loosely formed in order to be the initial point of contact for any Ocean Canada Partnership project related questions or issues. Next, the group will commence mapping and investigating regional assets. Lastly, researchers at Saint Mary’s University will move forward with a framework for a model approach to future planning. By making plans for the next steps, Friends of Port Mouton Bay are closer to achieving their targets in the Ocean Canada Partnership and realizing a sustainable future for their community.

ocp-discussion-mapping-jan-15-2016

Volunteers Studying Port Mouton Bay’s Ecosystem Health

September 9, 2015

Port Mouton, Nova Scotia – The Friends of Port Mouton Bay (FPMB) were diving into eelgrass research on the weekend of August 28-30, 2015 in Jone’s Cove. Volunteers were wading and swimming to study eelgrass distribution, abundance, and overall health. Eelgrass, an underwater plant, provides vital shelter, food, and nursery areas for fish, marine animals, and seabirds. Eelgrass is also a good indicator of ecosystem health and can be easily affected by climate change and coastal activities.

The project is in association with the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence Coalition on Sustainability (Coalition-SGSL) and SeagrassNET, a program based at the University of New Hampshire (UNH). In July, UNH researcher Dr. Fred Short held a three-day training workshop in Port Mouton to teach volunteers how to collect eelgrass information. Dr. Short, an eelgrass expert, has traveled the world teaching these methods to community groups in 33 countries. The information collected in Port Mouton will contribute to an international eelgrass database. “Port Mouton is the first eelgrass monitoring site in Atlantic Canada,” says Angela Douglas, Executive Director of Coalition-SGSL. “We’re really excited to get the community involved in studying and protecting this important species.”

The Jone’s Cove location in Port Mouton Bay is the first of two sample sites selected for their abundance of eelgrass beds, accessibility, and proximity to potential pollution sources such as the marina and fish farm. A second location off Carter’s Beach will be set up later this year. Monitoring this area will occur four times throughout the year, and will involve wading, swimming, and potentially scuba diving to observe and collect samples along submerged transects. Volunteers will also prepare samples for analysis and organize supplies on land. “Eelgrass health is a real indicator about how our Bay is doing” says Emma Posluns, a volunteer with FPMB who is leading the project, “we hope to see it continue to thrive in our local waters.”

If you are interested in volunteering with the eelgrass monitoring group or if you would like more information please contact Emma Posluns at Emma.Posluns@gmail.com.

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Emma Posluns, FPMB and Alexi Baccardax Westcott, ACZIS (Atlantic Coastal Zone Information Steering Committee)

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Emma Posluns and Stan Clark, FPMB

Community Workshop Addresses Port Mouton Bay's Future Potential

July, 2015 Recent

Author: Emma Posluns Msc, Instructor at Saint Mary's University

The Friends of Port Mouton Bay are making waves in the OceanCanada Partnership project along with Saint Mary’s University. A workshop was held in Port Mouton Bay in July, 2015 to discuss the community’s involvement in the research project. Participating in the discussion were members of the community, fishermen, local businesses and Saint Mary’s University professor and OceanCanada Atlantic Region Working Group investigator Dr. Tony Charles. This was the second community meeting to address this project, the first, which occurred in October 2014, announced the project launch.

This time around, participants explored the nitty-gritty of project details - breaking into groups to brainstorm the social, ecological, and economic future of this coastal village. Groups discussed community baseline information, economic development planning and the future of the local fishery. Overall, one of the project goals is to gather information on the current Port Mouton Bay population, socio-economic ranges, and community assets. New ideas and opportunities were explored, and it was decided that a Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis would be useful in this endeavor. The workshop built on the community’s vision to preserve and protect the natural environment while also promoting sustainable development.

The inherent value of fishing to this community was a common thread throughout many conversations during the two-night workshop. Sustainable fisheries management and the impact of change to harvesters were also discussed. As a community historically based around ocean resources, Port Mouton Bay has seen many changes especially in recent years, which have ranged from aquaculture initiatives to quota limits to invasive species. Workshop participants discussed many methods of adaptability that may help fishermen in the future.

Part of the desired outcome for this Partnership is to determine and prepare for ideal future possibilities, whether they are related to fisheries, the economy, the environment, or other issues. By analyzing the current community as a whole – its strengths and weaknesses – and then looking ahead to what may come, Port Mouton can proactively managing its future, planning and strategizing in order to obtain the most beneficial results. Friends of Port Mouton Bay have a challenging task ahead of them, but one they are more than capable of succeeding at. This tight-knit community has the opportunity to show Canada how a small seaside village can adapt and thrive in a changing world.


Media Event to Support the Doelle-Lahey Independent Panel Report - January 8, 2015

January 8, 2015

About 450 Nova Scotians turned up to attend this media event held at the Lord Nelson Hotel in Halifax. Attendees included representatives of FPMB and 34 other groups from Yarmouth to Cape Breton.

Attendees came to express support for the Doelle-Lahey Panel and to encourage the provincial government to accept the report's recommendations for a complete overhaul of the province's aquaculture regulations.

Read media coverage of the event:

Released: Final Report of the Independent Aquaculture Regulatory Review for Nova Scotia

December 16, 2014

After receiving public input on the draft report, the Final Report of the Independent Aquaculture Regulatory Review for Nova Scotia was released on December 16, 2014.

In this comprehensive report Mr Lahey and Mr. Doelle recommend: "fundamental changes to the regulation of aquaculture" (page vii). The Executive Summary (19 pages out of the 150+ page report) outlines their core conclusions, and recommendations for a new regulatory framework.

Friends of Port Mouton Bay, as a group and individually, provided input to the panel. And we are pleased to see that our concerns, and the concerns of many other Nova Scotians, have been acknowledged in this report.

Read the final report on the Aquaculture Regulatory Review website: Doelle-Lahey Panel Report (PDF)

Region Of Queens - Letter Opposing Spectacle Island Fishfarm License Renewal

November 21, 2014 Recent

The Region of Queens has sent a letter to The Honourable Keith Colwell, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, stating its oppostion to the renewal of the license for the Spectacle Island fishfarm, operated by Ocean Trout. Read an excerpt below:

We understand that the license for the Ocean Trout Aquaculture farm in Port Mouton Bay will be considered for renewal in March 2015. We also understand that the operator, Ocean Trout, can be expected to order young trout soon in anticipation of the license renewal.

The Region of Queens Municipality, as well as many residents of our area, is strongly opposed to the Government renewing the license.

Our opposition is based, in large part, on the standards for site classification contained in the Doelle-Lahey Panel Independent Aquaculture Regulatory Review. I attach the pertinent sections with comments in italics for consideration.

Read the full Letter to Minister Keith Colwell (Nov 13, 2014) (PDF)

2014 Environmental Monitoring Report for Spectacle Island Fishfarm Site Released

November 4, 2014

Marine finfish and shellfish farms in Nova Scotia must be inspected under the Environmental Monitoring Program (EMP). In July and August of 2014, the site survey and monitoring at the Spectacle Island fishfarm were completed. At the same time sediment samplings were being collected, FPMB also collected sediment samplings to study copper levels. Both the results of the provincial EMP survey and copper testing have been completed.

High sulphide readings, high copper readings, and extensive white bacterial cover (Beggiatoa) once again, confirm that this site is not suited for open pen fish farming.

Read our report discussing the EMP results, and our own copper testing results: NS Environmental Monitoring Program 2014 Results (PDF)

Lobster Trap Surveys - Published in 'Marine Pollution Bulletin'

September 26, 2014

Year after year, for 7 years now, fishermen in Port Mouton Bay have been recording their lobster catches in the bay (market and seed-bearing, and location of trap). And each year, FPMB has compiled and published the results. This work has now been recognized, and formally published in a science journal called: Marine Pollution Bulletin Journal.

Read the abstract (below), followed by our own News Release announcing the publication.

Abstract: Interactions between Fin Fish Aquaculture and Lobster Catches in a Sheltered Bay

Interactions between open-net pen finfish aquaculture and lobster catches in a sheltered bay in Nova Scotia, Canada, were investigated using fishermen?s participatory research in annual lobster trap surveys over seven years.

Fishermen recorded lobster catches during the last two weeks of May from 2007 to 2013. Catches for each trap haul were recorded separately for ovigerous and market-sized lobsters. Catch trends within the bay were compared to regional trends. Results of correlation analyses indicated that ovigerous catch trends were strongly affected by the fish farm?s feeding/fallow periods. There was no significant correlation between trends for bay and LFA lobster landings.

Patterns of lobster catch per unit effort extending over considerable distance in Port Mouton Bay appear to be influenced by proximity to the fish farm regardless of year-to-year variation in water temperatures and weather conditions. Odours and habitat changes surrounding open-net pen finfish operations are potential factors affecting lobster displacement.

© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

FPMB News Release

For immediate release, September 26, 2014

Published Research on Interactions between Lobster Catches and Finfish Aquaculture in Port Mouton Bay, Nova Scotia

The Marine Pollution Bulletin Journal has published a study of fishermen's participatory research on annual lobster catches in Port Mouton Bay, a sheltered bay, on Nova Scotia's South Shore. The 7 year study covered two periods of active finfish production, occurring before and after a thirty-six month (3 year) fallow period.

Fishermen recorded catches of market and seeded female lobsters between 2007 and 2013 during the last two weeks of May, a time when higher numbers of lobsters historically migrate into the bay.

Data analysis of catches showed displacement of lobsters over a 20 square kilometer area of the bay during aquaculture operations and partial recovery during the period of aquaculture fallow.

There was negligible recovery in the region of the bay adjacent to the finfish farm.

Catches within the bay were compared with aggregated landings within the larger Lobster Fishing Area 33. There was no correlation between lobster landings within Port Mouton Bay and LFA 33 landings. These lobster catch patterns in Port Mouton Bay persisted regardless of bottom water temperatures and weather conditions. Odours and habitat changes surrounding open-net pen finfish operations are potential factors affecting lobster displacement.

"To our knowledge, this is the only relatively long-term published data series for examining the potential impact of an open net pen finfish farm on lobster catches. Other than the wastes from the finfish farm, it is unclear what factors could explain the displacement of lobsters from the surveyed portion of Port Mouton Bay and their partial return and recovery during fallowing", says Dr. Ron Loucks, oceanographer and member of Friends of Port Mouton Bay.

The scientific paper, Interactions between Fin Fish Aquaculture and Lobster Catches in a Sheltered Bay, authored by Ronald Loucks, Ruth Smith and Brian Fisher is published on-line at:
http://authors.elsevier.com/sd/article/S0025326X14005876

Contact

Ron Loucks
902 443-1113
ron.loucks@ns.sympatico.ca
friendsofportmoutonbay@gmail.com

PDF Version of News Release


FPMB - a Partner in a OceanCanada Research Project Focusing on Port Mouton Bay

September 15, 2014 Recent

Friends is pleased to announce our partnership with Saint Mary's University (SMU) to conduct a research project on the community of Port Mouton Bay. Friends will be working with Dr. Tony Charles, SMU, to "study the vision, goals and challenges faced by coastal communities, and their future possibilities."

Press Release (excerpt): Coastal Communities Focus of New Research Initiative

"Saint Mary's University and Friends of Port Mouton Bay will partner with other members of the OceanCanada initiative over six years to improve the social, economic and environmental situation of Canada's oceans, coasts, and coastal communities. A major part of the research will take place in Nova Scotia, where Saint Mary's University and Friends of Port Mouton Bay will study the vision, goals and challenges faced by coastal communities, and their future possibilities. The research will draw on the experiences of Port Mouton Bay, and extend the knowledge acquired to other communities locally and across the country."
Read Full SMU Press Release or download the PDF

Read news items published elsewhere:


Doelle-Lahey Panel Independent Aquaculture Regulatory Review for Nova Scotia - Draft Report Issued

July 4, 2014 Recent

The independent panel conducting a review of aquaculture regulations in Nova Scotia have released a draft report. Public comments are being accepted.

Read the draft report: Doelle-Lahey Panel Independent Aquaculture Regulatory Review (PDF)

To learn more about this review process, see the web site at: Independent Aquaculture Regulatory Review

Widespread Waste from Finfish Aquaculture in PMB

February 25, 2014

Doelle-Lahey Panel Independent Aquaculture Regulatory Review process included a number of 'targeted meetings" with groups and individuals in Nova Scotia. One such meeting was held with Friends of Port Mouton Bay (FPMB) on February 25, 2014.

As part of that meeting, FPMB presented a summary of our findings on the widespread, detrimental impact of aquaculture in the Bay.

Read the full presentation made at the meeting: Presentation on Widespread Waste from Finfish Aquaculture in PMB (PDF)

Eel Grass Survey : Port Mouton Bay - 2011-2013

March 13, 2014

In 2013, Friends has completed yet another eelgrass survey, building on data collected from 2010, 2011, and 2012. These surveys document the health of eelgrass beds, near the existing Spectacle Island fish farm, and for comparison, near Jackies Island, 3 km away.

The most recent survey, confirms findings of earlier surveys: the eelgrass beds 3 km from the fish farm site are healthier than beds 300 m from the (stocked) fish farm. The latter eelgrass bed is showing the effects of increased nutrient load. Future surveys which include all eelgrass beds in the Spectacle island area can provide more comparative information.

Read the full Eel Grass Survey Report 2011-2013 (with more photos): (PDF)

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Eelgrass - 300 m from Fish Farm Site 2013 (Photo: Sonya Lee)

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Eelgrass - 3,000 m Farm Site 2013 (Photo: Sonya Lee)

Trace Metals in Sediments, Water Column and Sea Surface Microlayer of Port Mouton Bay - Updated Report 2014

Janaury 14, 2014 Recent

Starting in 2009, FPMB have conducted a series of studies measuring the concentrations of copper and other trace metals in sediments, in the water column and the sea surface microlayer. These samples were collected near the fish farm site, and further afield in the Bay. The last sampling was completed in June and October 2013 (after the site was restocked).

Results for 2013 sample testing of sediments are consistent with earlier samplings. Levels of copper found in sea surface microlayer, were found to be well in excess of recommended guidelines. Alarmingly, some October 2013 samples in the sea surfacer near the fish farm, show copper levels many dozens of times greater than levels considered safe for marine life. Copper does not degrade over time, and elevated levels pose real risks to marine life such as lobsters.

Read the full report: Trace Metals in Sediments and Sea Surface Micro Layer of Port Mouton Bay (Sampling 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013) (PDF)

Lobster Trap Survey - 2007 to 2013 - Released

November 17, 2013

The 7th Port Mouton Bay Lobster Trap survey has been released. From 2007 to 2013, Friends and local fishermen have been recording lobster catches in various locations around the Bay.

The May 2013 survey, conducted almost one year after the fish farm was restocked, revealed that the Bay's recovery is now being reversed. Lobster catches and numbers of seed-bearing female lobsters have fallen to levels experienced before the 3-year fallow period.

In terms of other ecosystem-based indicators - kelp, eel grass and Irish moss - were far less abundant, and often covered in nuisance algae.

Read the full Lobster Trap Survey - 2007 to 2013 (PDF)

"Port Mouton Bay in the International Spotlight" Press Release by CCRN & Saint Mary's University

September 27, 2013

The Community Conservation Research Network (CCRN) and Saint Mary's University, issued the following press release (below) about CCRN's study of conservation actions undertaken by our Port Mouton Bay community with respect to open net pen finfish aquaculture.

Direct link to the CCRN study: Port Mouton Bay: A Case of Community Conservation and Livelihood Action


CCRN: For Immediate Release

Port Mouton Bay in the International Spotlight:

Global research project highlights Nova Scotian community

(Halifax, September 27, 2013) Port Mouton Bay, Nova Scotia, is well known in the province for its strong efforts to ensure a sustainable local economy and healthy environment. Those efforts have now been recognized internationally, with the Community Conservation Research Network selecting Port Mouton Bay as the subject of its first comprehensive study. That study focuses on conservation actions the community is taking to address how open net pen finfish aquaculture is impacting on the critical services provided by local ecosystems, notably through productive marine habitat, ocean-based livelihoods and the pristine nature of beach shorelines.

The Network is a group of world-class researchers working with community, aboriginal and governmental partners globally. The team found Port Mouton Bay important in showing how scientific investigation of environmental concerns can take place with full participation of those holding knowledge at the local level. The researchers celebrated the fact that fishermen themselves are identifying both sustainable and unsustainable aspects of the Bay’s ecosystem, and determining how this affects community well-being.

Dr. Tony Charles, professor at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax and leader of the Community Conservation Research Network, noted “Through the efforts of fishermen and local scientists, working together, the community demonstrated why their local bay is not suitable for development of finfish aquaculture.” The research includes studies showing low flushing rates, diminished lobster catches and Irish Moss harvest, metal contamination and sea bed and eel grass degradation. Dr. Charles emphasizes “This is a great example of how community research and conservation can help protect the local environment and the fishery that depends on it.”

Dr. Fikret Berkes, a world-renowned researcher on community conservation and the use of local knowledge, notes that “Community action for conservation in Port Mouton Bay provides lessons in Canada and internationally.” He adds that “Citizen science helps communities to take charge of their futures. The use of citizen science in Port Mouton Bay provides a shining example of what communities can accomplish.”

The Community Conservation Research Network builds knowledge on how local communities can succeed in handling conservation issues and how governments can support these efforts. The Network’s research is producing results of national and international significance, giving important lessons for communities, policy makers and decision makers at all levels.

About the Community Conservation Research Network

The CCRN is an international partnership of aboriginal organizations, community partners, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), university participants and government bodies. Hosted by Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Canada, the CCRN is led by Dr. Anthony Charles and is funded through a six-year Partnership Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). www.CommunityConservation.Net

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For more information, contact:
John Abraham 902-420-5003 / ccrn@smu.ca
Port Mouton Bay study: CommunityConservation.Net/resources/port-mouton-bay/


Eel Grass Survey : Port Mouton Bay - 2011-2012

March 16, 2013

Healthy eel grass is lush, bright green, and home to juvenile fish and invertebrates such as lobster and crab. The health of this sea grass can be used as a measure of marine ecosystem health - a "coastal canary."

Starting in 2010, and more formally in 2011 and 2012, Friends has conducted surveys of eel grass beds, near the existing Spectacle Island fish farm, and for comparison, near Jackies Island, 3 km away.

In August 2011, we could see the eel grass beds near the Spectacle Island fish farm were beginning to recover. However, as documented in our report, in 2012, the eel grass beds were less healthy than in 2011.

Read the report updated for 2013 Eel Grass Survey Report (with more photos): (PDF)

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Eel grass, tall and vibrant, near Jackies island, August 2011 (Photo: Woods Symington)

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Eel grass, coated with fish farm sediment, near Spectacle Island, August 2011 (Photo: Woods Symington)

"Salmon Confidential" - Documentary about BC Salmon

March 16, 2013

In this documentary, Dr. Alexandra Morton and other scientists talk about the decline of wild Pacific salmon, and the problems with farmed Atlantic salmon. It is a fascinating account of their research, their findings, and denials from government and the industry about their science.

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Watch Salmon Confidential Video - 70 minutes long (and worth every minute!)

ACAR Press Release - "Nova Scotia Fish Farms Impacting Environment: Report"

February 15, 2013

Atlantic Coalition for Aquaculture Reform (ACAR) released a report that reviews the data from the Nova Scotia aquaculture monitoring program. Results from Port Mouton Bay, and other sites around the Province, are examined in detail. An excerpt from the Press Release:

Seven years after the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture (NS DFA) issued their first and only report on environmental monitoring at aquaculture sites in the province, an updated report indicates that open pen finfish farms are having a negative impact on the environment.

  According to the new report, there was a significant increase in the number of finfish monitoring stations exceeding provincial monitoring guidelines compared to the 2006 NS DFA Environmental Monitoring Program (EMP). Overall environmental quality at open pen finfish sites had decreased since the 2003-2005 period covered by the 2006 report.

Documents:

Trace Metals in Sediments of Port Mouton Bay - Updated Report

February 23, 2013

FPMB have conducted a series of studies measuring the concentrations of copper and and other trace metals in the sediments, collected on the fish farm site, and elsewhere in the Bay. Sediment samples were collected in October 2009, and October 2010 and 2011, after 15 and 27 months of fallowing at the farm site.

The 2011 results show that, even after 27 months of fallow, copper was found at the fish farm site, at levels that exceed recommended guidelines.

Read the summary and full report: Trace Metals in Sediments of Port Mouton Bay (Sampling 2009, 2010 and 2011) (PDF)

Lobster Trap Survey - 2007 to 2012 - Released

January 7, 2013

The 6th edition of the Port Mouton Bay Lobster Trap survey has been released. Starting in 2007, and each year since, Friends and local fishermen have been recording lobster catches in various locations around the Bay.

In May of 2012, after almost three years of fallow, and before the June restocking of the farm site, the fishermen noticed that the zone of degraded lobster habitat continued to shrink. Lobster catches improved in all areas except around the farm site. No lobster were caught during the survey period in the immediate area of the fish farm site.

In 2011 and 2012 other ecosystem-based indicators - kelp, eel grass and Irish moss, mackerel, scallops and rock crab - exhibited some recovery in Port Mouton Bay.

Read the Lobster Trap Survey - 2007 to 2012 (PDF)

Sulphide Readings for Spectacle Island Fish Farm - 2002 to 2012

December 18, 2012

Sulphide readings for sediments collected in July 2012 at the Spectacle Island fish farm have been released. These readings show that after three years of fallow, sulphide levels have fallen. However, in July 2012, anaerobic bacteria (Beggiatoa sp.) was still found at the site.

Read the Spectacle Island Fish Farm Sulphide Report (includes data from 2002 to 2012) (PDF)

Politicians Duck the Question on Open Net Finfish Aquaculture Moratorium

November 12, 2012

Atlantic Coalition for Aquaculture Reform Nova Scotia (ACAR-NS) asked NS provincial and federal elected representatives to declare their position on an open net finfish aquaculture moratorium. (FPMB, is one of the 100+ community groups that form this coalition.)

Out of 62 letters sent to our elected representatives, only 13 replied.

Read the full details on the question and resposnses received.

Brown Foam and Oily Scum Blanket Summerville Beach

October 31, 2012

For Immediate Release

Marine Ecology and Tourism Threatened At Queens County Provincial Park

Port Mouton, Nova Scotia, Canada – A noxious, brownish foam and oily scum appeared on the beach at Summerville Provincial Park in August. The Friends of Port Mouton Bay (FPMB) have been monitoring the situation as the material continues to accumulate, depending on the wind direction over the finfish farm in Port Mouton Bay and the rising tide.

Summerville Beach - brown foam

Brown foam seen on Summerville Beach

Spectacle Island and the adjacent open pen finfish farm (presently holding thousands of trout) lie opposite Carter’s Beach and close to Summerville Beach. People on shore can see a very large oily slick emanating from the fish farm and travelling over kilometre scale distances in the down-wind direction.

In late June 2012 the Friends of Port Mouton Bay tested the oily slick. It was found to contain levels of copper that are double the guidelines set for the protection of marine life. Since then, the slick has become even more pronounced than slicks observed during the previous salmon farming operation located off Spectacle Island.

Read the full Press Release (with photos)

Dr. Alexandra Morton Visits Port Mouton Bay

October 13, 2012

Dr Alexandra Morton, a biologist from BC, toured the Maritimes and visited with fishermen in several communities that are either experiencing the impacts of fish farming or are on the edge of possible approval.

During her tour of the South Shore, Dr. Morton and her assistant Anissa Reed, stopped in Port Mouton Bay for a short visit. Bob Swim took them on a tour of the Bay. See picture below.

Dr. Morton has been researching, and writing about open-cage aquaculture for more than 20 years. Check out her blog, and read her blog posting on her trip to Port Mouton Bay.

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Representatives of FPMB pose with our signs, and Dr. Alexandra Morton (front row, far right) and Anissa Reed (back row, far left). (click photo to enlarge)

Visit to an Operating Closed Containment Fish Farm in Nova Scotia

August 29, 2012

One of the alternatives to open-cage fish farming is land-based closed containment fish farms. It is often claimed by those in the open-cage aquaculture industry that land-based systems are not economically viable.

D. Alex Ross, a "Friend of Port Mouton Bay", visited a land-based operation called Sustainable Blue in Hants County, Nova Scotia. Read his report (with photos) called: The Advancement of Closed Containment Aquaculture

Toxic Levels of Copper Found in Port Mouton Bay

For Immediate Release June 19, 2012

New Study Reveals Nova Scotia’s Marine Environment Threatened

Port Mouton, Nova Scotia, Canada – Open-net fish farm practices are causing sea-surface and sediment contamination by the release of toxic levels of copper, and putting marine life at risk near the open-net fish farm in Port Mouton Bay, Queens County, Nova Scotia.

This is the result of a study completed by Halifax oceanographer Dr. Ronald H. Loucks, which has been published in the internationally recognized scientific journal Marine Pollution Bulletin.

“This is new and valuable information,” says Dr. Loucks, “and points to seriously harmful contaminants found in parts of the ocean layer not currently monitored by government regulators.” The sea-surface microlayer is less than one millimeter thick, and Dr. Loucks believes this to be the first study to examine this layer for copper near an open-net fish farm. Other investigations have found trace metals, bacteria, viruses and pesticides accumulating in the microlayer.

The study identifies that the copper contamination in both the sediment and the sea-surface microlayer exceeds guideline levels for the protection of marine life. In the microlayer, it exceeds guidelines by up to 11 times. Copper is used both in the fish feed used in fish farms and in the anti-foulant compounds used for cleaning the farm nets. The copper can travel and contaminate surface areas over distances greater than one kilometer, given the wind velocities in Port Mouton Bay. Unfortunately, lobster larvae and fish eggs are at risk if they enter the microlayer layer at this stage of their life cycle.

Copper was still found to be present 27 months after the beginning of the fallow (emptying) of the farm site.

The farm at Port Mouton is now owned by Ocean Trout Farms Inc., who plan to restock shortly.

The study abstract is located at:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X12002457 (Please scroll down to read abstract, highlights, and view diagrams)

Because of continued concern for the health of its Bay, the Friends of Port Mouton Bay (FPMB) have sent the results of this study to Premier Darrell Dexter and his Minister of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Environment, Hon. Sterling Belliveau – amongst others.

For more information, please contact: Janet Muttart, FPMB (media relations)
Ph: 902-542-3316
Cell: 902-670-0982
Email: janethmuttart@gmail.com
Dr. Ron Loucks, PhD
Ph: 902-443-1113
Email: ron.loucks@ns.sympatico.ca

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Dark Day in Port Mouton Bay - Fish Farm Restocked with Trout

June 15, 2012

Friends is very disappointed to report that the fish farm off Spectacle Island has been restocked with trout. Our body of research and first-hand evidence clearly show that Port Mouton Bay is NOT suited for fish farming. Yes, the government permits aquaculture to start-up again.

Clyde Fisher, who had monitored the fallowing since August 2009, had observed signs of recovery in June 2012, with the regrowth of eel grass and irish moss in some areas they had once flourished. Now, this recovery will be cut short.

Tom Sherman video-taped some of the restocking work, on shore, and on the water. Watch the video.


Salmon Wars, by Silver Donald Cameron - Screened in Port Mouton Bay

June 13, 2012

The documentary “Salmon Wars” was released Wednesday evening, in Port Mouton Bay, and other locations in Nova Scotia. Many of the local community came out to the West Queens Recreation Centre to watch the documentary.

The video features interviews of community locals, such as Clyde Fisher, Ron Loucks, Ruth Smith and Gloria Gilbert. Mr. Cameron also interviewed fishermen and concerned citizens from other areas, such as St. Mary's Bay.

Silver Donald Cameron's in-depth coverage of aquaculture in Nova Scotia includes its' rapid growth, government support for the industry, and the strong opposition by coastal communities. Environmental concerns, and regulatory approval processes for aquaculture projects are critically examined.

The video concludes on a positive note. Contrary to arguments put forward by the industry, there are "financially viable" closed containment fish farms operating today in Nova Scotia.

Friends Organized Rally to Protest Restocking of Spectacle Island Fish Farm

June 9, 2012

fpmb-rally-stop-fish-farms-daross

A strong turnout of people rallied to declare their opposition to fish farming in Port Mouton Bay. People carried signs with pointed messages for the provincial goverment.

Signs mounted on fishing boats also declared the strong opposition to the restocking of the fish farm.

See full coverage of the event - including plenty of photos


Friends of Port Mouton Bay (FPMB) participates in the Atlantic Coalition for Aquaculture Reform - News Conference, Halifax, NS

June 4, 2012

Friends, joined with over 100 other groups, to hold a news conference in the Lord Nelson, Halifax. Attendees, concerned about the rapid spread of aquaculture sites across the province called on the government of Nova Scotia to declare a ban on open cage aquaculture.

Nova Scotians from many backgrounds and interests are deeply concerned that the government is promoting the industry inspite of documented environmental problems, and vocal community opposition.


Region of Queens asks the province to: "Designate Port Mouton Bay as a closed area not suitable for aquaculture"

March 19, 2012

On March 19th, the Region of Queens demonstrated continued support for Friends of Port Mouton Bay stance on finfish aquaculture in Port Mouton Bay by unanimously passing the following motion:

"That the Council of Region of Queens Municipality send a letter to Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture re-confirming its concern for the future of Port Mouton Bay and finfish farming in that area requesting that pursuant to the Fisheries and Coastal Resources Act of Nova Scotia Section 56(1) (e) the Minister designate Port Mouton Bay as a closed area not suitable for aquaculture

AND FURTHER request that before any decision is made to renew, alter or grant new aquaculture licenses in Port Mouton Bay, that full and open public hearings be held in the area affected, including presentations by provincial scientists that address community concerns;

AND FURTHER that this letter be forwarded to The Premier, Queens MLA, and leaders of provincial opposition parties."


Growing Coalition Calls for Moratorium on Salmon Feedlots - News Release

March 12, 2012

Friends of Port Mouton Bay have joined a host of community groups to call for a moratorium on the open-cage salmon aquaculture in Nova Scotia. Together, these groups are calling on the provincial government to re-consider the promotion of open-cage aquaculture.


David Suzuki Foundation - Comments on Environmental Assessment for 3 Aquaculture Sites Proposed for Shelburne County

January 14, 2012

Kelly Cove Salmon (a division of Cooke Aquaculture) has submitted a proposal to establish three new salmon aquaculture sites in Middle Head, Jordan Bay and Blue Island, near Shelburne, Nova Scotia, (south of Port Mouton Bay). An Environmental Assessment for this proposal is currently underway.

This proposal attracted the attention and scrutiny of the David Suzuki Foundation. The Foundation has submitted a response noting the proposal document fails to adequately address the environmental impact of fish waste, pesticide use, and lice infestations on other marine life such as lobsters.

Dr. Guy E. Melville - Comments on Environmental Assessment for St. Mary's Bay Aquaculture Site

December 11, 2011

Governmental approval for two large aquaculture sites in St. Mary's Bay was given to Kelly Cove Salmon (owned by Cooke Aquaculture) in June 2011. The decision was not applauded by many with concerns about aquaculture. In July 2011, a coalition of groups from St. Mary's Bay have launched a court case to stop the development.

In this open letter, Dr. Melville, Marine Ecosystem Scientist, shares his views on the shortcomings of the environmental assessment process for this project. He also cites examples the harm salmon aquaculture activities cause lobster. We invite you to read his thoughtful analysis.

DFO Seeks Input on: "Treatment and Control of Fish Pathogen and Pests in Aquaculture"

November 25, 2011 (updated Dec 7, 2011)

In early November 2011, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced it was seeking public input on DFO's intention to develop regulations for use of "responsible treatment and control of fish pathogen and pests in aquaculture facilities" (Read full notice).

Friends of Port Mouton Bay have submitted a response to this request. We have expressed our strong concerns about the impact of these "treatments" not only to the farmed fish, but other marine life such as lobsters that share the same waters.

Thoughtful responses from others concerned about this issue have also sent in responses. Read some of the thoughtful responses below. Deadline for comments was: December 4, 2011

Study Of Geochemical and Faunal Sediments in Port Mouton Bay (Sampling 2009 and 2010)

November 5, 2011

Friends releases second sediment study of Port Mouton Bay. The latest report includes analysis of samples collected in 2009 and 2010, 3 months and 15 months after the start of the fallowing period.

This research was conducted by a team led by Dr. Jon Grant of Dalhousie University's Department of Oceanography. Friends of Port Mouton Bay (FPMB) facilitated and coordinated the field surveys, with the cooperation of Cooke Aquaculture.

Mary Mouzar, a long-time Friend of Port Mouton Bay, Passes Away

October 28, 2011

In Memoriam - Mary Mouzar

We are sorry to learn of Mary's passing on September 30, 2011

Mary Mouzar

Mary Mouzar (Photo Courtesy of Chandler Funeral Service)

Mary provided the Friends of Port Mouton Bay with our first media coverage through her website, Queens County Times (QCT). Mary had a wide readership locally, and among Queens County folks living away. Seasonal residents relied on QCT to keep in touch with their summer community.

She published stories, articles, letters and pictures for the Friends of Port Mouton Bay, and announced our meetings. Mary's late husband Barry regularly contributed photographs to the QCT website. He initiated a daily journal, recording weather and changing seasons. Both Mary and Barry were true Friends of the Bay, watching over calm or stormy waters from their seaside home.

We are grateful for Mary's contribution to our work.

Friends of Port Mouton Bay

Friends Releases Latest Sediment Studies and 2011 Lobster Trap Survey

September 7, 2011

The Advance : Fish farm effects still felt after two years

August 30, 2011

Nick Moase, The Queens County Advance, reports on Friends science findings presented to the community on August 25, 2011. Fish farm effects still felt after two years.

Coastal CURA - Field Trip to Port Mouton Bay

July 7, 2011

Port Mouton Bay hosted a field trip for delegates attending a conference in Halifax called: People in Places, Engaging Together in Integrated Resource Management. The community rallied together and put on a fabulous day. Check out the details and watch the videos!

New “Friends - Protecting Our Bay” Sign Ready!

December 20, 2010

New sign hot off the presses! Pickup your new sign in Liverpool, at DvL Publishing, 154 Main Street (across from the Liverpool Pizzeria); phone: 902-354-5411. Donation of $2 per sign requested!

Port Mouton Bay Lobster Trap Survey - May 2010

July 22, 2010

In May 2010, Friends of Port Mouton Bay completed its fourth lobster trap survey. Local fishermen recorded data on lobster catches in various locations in Port Mouton Bay. The results of this study, compiled with results for 2007, 2008, 2009, are now available. Note: Report updated to include 2011 data. Read Port Mouton Bay Lobster Trap Survey - May 2011 (Data from 2007 to 2011 inclusive) (PDF)

Site Recovery and Far-field Effects of Spectacle Island Salmon Farm Site in Port Mouton Bay (Sediment Report)

July 22, 2010

A study of sediments in Port Mouton Bay was begun in October 2009 by a team led by Dr. Jon Grant of Dalhousie University's Department of Oceanography. Friends of Port Mouton Bay (FPMB) facilitated and coordinated the field surveys with the cooperation of Cooke Aquaculture. This report has been updated in 2011. Please read updated report (which includes samples from 2009 and 2010) Study Of Geochemical and Faunal Sediments in Port Mouton Bay (PDF)

Trace Metals in Sediments of Port Mouton Bay

July 22, 2010

In addition to the Sediment Report (above), Friends of Port Mouton Bay, have released the results of trace metals found in sediment near the existing fish farm site, and beyond. Note: This report has been updated in 2011. Read the updated report: Trace Metals in Sediments of Port Mouton Bay (2011) (PDF)

Oceanographic View of Spectacle Island Finfish Site, Port Mouton Bay

July 22, 2010

To illustrate the the physical properties of the marine waters around the existing Spectacle Island fish farm site, and the Bay, Friends of Port Mouton Bay have prepared the following document: Oceanographic View of Spectacle Island Finfish Site, Port Mouton Bay (PDF).

Application of a Traffic Light Decision System for Marine Finfish Aquaculture Siting Assessment in Port Mouton, Nova Scotia - by B. T. Hargrave

July 22, 2010

In evaluating sites for aquaculture projects, DFO Maritimes developed the “Marine Finfish Aquaculture Decision Support System, (MFADSS)”. Renowned expert in the field, B. T. Hargrave, applied the MFADSS system to Port Mouton Bay. The detailed results of this analysis, released to FPMB, are contained in the reports below.

Lobster Deaths in New Brunswick

February 18, 2010

Reports of an illegal pesticide found on weak and dying lobsters on the Fundy coast raised the alarm for fishermen in New Brunswick. These lobster were found near fish farms. Read the various news reports:

For further reading on pesticide use at fish farms see our “Aquaculture Management Practices” section on our Links page.

Pathways of Effects for Finfish and Shellfish Aquaculture - Report Published

January 2010

In October 2009, a workshop was organized in Ottawa by the DFO Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat (CSAS) to examine environmental effects of aquaculture. The final report from the workshop will be used to develop a framework for regulation of the aquaculture sector in Canada.

Ron Loucks, representing Friends of Port Mouton Bay, participated in this workshop. Other attendees included representatives from government, industry, non-governmental organizations and First Nations.

Port Mouton Bay - Boat Rally

July 10, 2009

Local fishermen and Friends organized a rally of fishing boats to demonstrate where the second fish farm had been planned. Check out the gorgeous aerial photos of the rally and the Bay!

Friends of Port Mouton Bay - Winners of Tooker Gomberg Media Award

June 23, 2009

“Friends of Port Mouton Bay” are delighted to be recipients of Tooker Gomberg Award. The award, given by the Ecology Acton Centre (EAC) is given to person or event that “most creatively and brilliantly ‘made the news’ in the past year”. See Ecology Action Centre Awards Page for more information.

EAC also announced that Dirk Van Loon and Anne Gray were winners of the Bubby Mooers Award for their work in establishing the Harrison Lewis Coastal Centre in Port Joli, Queens County. See more details.


Moratorium on Finfish Aquaculture Announced!

On March 12, 2009 the Premier of Nova Scotia, Rodney MacDonald, announced an “indefinite” moratorium on more finfish aquaculture operations in Port Mouton Bay. The announcement, made at a Queens County Chamber of Commerce event, was met with a great round of applause.

Read the press coverage:

Sincere THANKS to our many, many supporters for their hard work, and unflagging determination over the past two and half years!

As long as the moratorium is in place, we have achieved ONE of our TWO goals. One goal remains - closure of the fish farm off Spectacle Island. So while we celebrate this success, we know our work continues!

Local Fishermen, Community Leaders and Scientists Meet to Discuss the Future of one of Nova Scotia's Fragile Ecosystems

February 25, 2009

“Friends of Port Mouton Bay” (FPMB) have called an emergency press conference to discuss and demonstrate the increasing pollution and resulting degradation of Port Mouton Bay since Aquaculture Site 0835 (Spectacle Island) was established in 1995. Read the complete News Release.

Media Coverage on our Press Conference

Many members of the press attended our press conference. In addition to excellent coverage by CBC Radio, and Global TV today, the following articles have been published:

Rural Delivery - The Fight for Port Mouton Bay

June 5, 2008

Rural Delivery publishes an article, The Fight for Port Mouton Bay (PDF), (by Jennifer Ford) about our ongoing opposition to the proposed fish farm expansion; opposition based on our own research, and experience with the existing fish farm.

A fishy questionnaire from Queens County

August 31, 2007

The Queens County Advance is holding a questionaire on the Port Mouton Bay fish farm. Everyone is invited to respond and comment on the existing fish farm and proposed expansion plans.

Divers Kathy and Dave Brush : What They Found in Port Mouton Bay

August 21, 2007

Listen to an interview of Kathy and Dave Brush about their dives in Port Mouton Bay. And view their underwater pictures.

The Advance - Eyewitness account debated over aquaculture farm

August 18, 2007

Read Leanne Delong's article, Eyewitness account debated over aquaculture farm, on Kathy and Dave Brush, and their dives in Port Mouton Bay.

Beverley Ware, The Halifax Herald

July 28, 2007

Beverley Ware, The Halifax Herald, spoke to Ron Loucks and Ruth Smith about the proposed fish farm in Port Mouton Bay, and the studies that have been done by the community. Read her article titled: Experts: Fish farm should be stopped (PDF).

Letter from Gerald Keddy, MP

July 18, 2007

Gerald Keddy, MP could not attend the July 18th community meeting. Read his letter to “Friends” restating his opposition to the fish farm expansion.

Community Meeting - Port Mouton

July 18, 2007

“Friends” held a well-attended community meeting at the West Queens Rec Centre to review the status of the fish farm application, and present research collected by “Friends”. Full meeting details including presentation slides.

The Chronicle Herald

April 28, 2007

In his article, Battle of Port Mouton Bay: trouble in fish farming (PDF), Ralph Surette expresses his views on the proposed fish farm, and government's promotion and regulation of the aquaculture industry.

CKBW Radio

March 25, 2007

Listen to Sheldon MacLeod speak with Blair Davis about the proposed fish farm. Listen now (Windows Media File, 1.3Mb)

Friends of Port Mouton Bay - Rally

March 18, 2007

About 150 enthusiatic people attended the rally at South West Port Mouton Beach to show opposition to the proposed fish farm. Local lobster fishermen participated by forming a parade of boats just off the beach.

The crowd, waving "Fish Farms put Port Mouton Bay at RISK" signs, listened to Darlene Norman, Vicki Conrad, MLA for Queens, and Darrell Dexter, leader of the Nova Scotia NDP declare their opposition to the proposed fish farm.

View rally photos and video.

Global Maritimes TV

March 15 and 18, 2007

Watch news clips produced by Global TV Evening News, one before the rally, and one at the rally. Watch now: March 15 (Windows Media File, 14.4Mb) and March 18 (Windows Media File, 11.5Mb).

CJCH Radio

March 15, 2007

Listen to Rick Howe discuss the proposed fish farm with Blair Davis of Port Mouton. Radio spot supplied courtesy of "The Hotline with Rick Howe, 92/CJCH". Listen now (Windows Media File, 500k)

Community Meeting - Port Mouton

March 4, 2007

More than 60 people attended a Sunday afternoon meeting at the West Queens Rec Centre called to review the status of the proposed new fish farm project. Fishers, lawyers, politicians, oceanographers and teachers were among the many who reiterated the importance of the natural quality of the area to many local and thriving industries.

Meeting attendees asserted their commitment to vigorously bringing their concerns to government officials. Future meetings to deal with strategy for a public hearing and possible protests are being planned. (See picture of meeting)

Aqua Fish Farm posts Navigable Waters Protection Announcement

February 26, 2007

Under the Environmental Assessment Review process, projects like Aqua Fish Farm's project are assessed for their impact on marine navigation. This public comment period for has now closed. View details and related documents.

Premier visits Port Mouton

November 28, 2006

Premier Rodney MacDonald met with Queens County locals, including those who oppose the proposed fish farm expansion in Port Mouton Bay.

Debate in the Legislature on resolution opposing the application

November 22, 2006

The Friends of Port Mouton Bay were in the gallery during a discussion on Resolution 1024 put forward by the opposition. The Resolution reads:

"Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly support the efforts of the community and the members of The Friends of Port Mouton Bay in their working to preserve Port Mouton Bay from the proposed expansion of Aqua Fish Farm's current development."

The Ministers of Fisheries and the Environment met with the group following the sitting of the Legislature.

Read the Hansard transcript

Presentation by Inka Milewski

November 15, 2006

Inka Milewski, marine biologist, spoke about the environmental, sustainable and economical aspects of salmon farming. See photos and slides.

Queens Progressive Conservative Association

November 16, 2006

The Association takes a stand against the application.

Open House hosted by Aqua Fish Farms

November 13 and 14, 2006

Two open house sessions held by the company were well attended. The company presented Information on their proposed project, and fielded questions from attendees.

Aqua Fish Farms address Region of Queens Municipality Council

November 15, 2006

Representatives presented information on their company, and the proposed expansion to their salmon farm operation in Port Mouton Bay. Councillors and the Major posed many questions to company officials.

Further discussion on Aqua Fish Farms in the Provincial Legislature

November 14, 2006

Read the Hansard transcript

Discussion on Aqua Fish Farms in the Provincial Legislature

November 1, 2006

Read the Hansard transcript

Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture address Region of Queens Municipality Council

October 24, 2006

Officials from the provincial department made a presentation describing aquauculture as "The Blue Revolution"; a rural-based industry that is environmentally and economically sustainable.

Region of Queens Municipality vote on Aqua Fish Farms application

August 21, 2006

The Council votes unanimously to oppose Aqua Fish Farm application to expand its operations. Read the letter sent to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.