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.  Read more >

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

Panel demonstrates the degradation of the ecosystem and prime fishing grounds in Port Mouton Bay by local fish farm

Local fishermen predict disaster

February 25, 2009 - Province House, Halifax, Nova Scotia

“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.

FPMB is supported by over 1500 lobster fishermen from Baccarro Point, Shelburne Co. to Eastern Passage, Halifax Co. They want government agencies to include, rather than avoid community involvement and to commit to a fair and focused analysis of issues affecting the health and economic well being of this coastal community on Nova Scotia's South Shore.

Displacement of the Fishery

The ecosystem and prime fishing ground of the inner harbour of Port Mouton Bay have already been sacrificed to the existing fish farm - Site 0835.

See Survey of Fishers

Locating a second aquaculture site in the basin near Port Mouton Island will result in increased fouling of fishing grounds with decomposing salmon manure. It will also jeopardize:

See: Traditional Ecological Knowledge (PDF)

"The lobster migration route will be ruined and blocked. I can't believe that they would consider taking the Western Channel," said Eugene Broome, fisherman of 67 years experience who holds the unofficial record for the highest haul of lobster on the first day - 3000 pounds. "I fished it all my life...it makes me sick to think about it."

FPMB Science

"All of the scientific experiments we conducted proved the fishermen are absolutely correct," says Dr. Ron Loucks, Oceanographer. "Nuisance algae thrive, and marine habitat is degraded by fish farms in Port Mouton Bay. Low flushing rate is deemed to be at the root of the problems."

At the newly-proposed expanded aquaculture site located in the basin:

Interaction between the two fish farms is expected to multiply these adverse effects. Government officials have chosen to turn a blind eye to mounting evidence.

See: Cumulative Effects of Two Aquaculture Sites in Port Mouton Bay : Feb 2009 (PDF)

Effect on Tourism

"White Point Beach Resort has been a tourist destination on the South Shore of Nova Scotia since 1929. It employs over 170 residents of the local area. Were it not for the pristine beaches, rugged coastal hiking routes and old growth forests, White Point would not have been able to sustain its appeal as a unique destination in an authentically natural setting," says Danny Morton, Manager, White Point Beach Resort. "When a possibility of degradation of environmental integrity is presented by an activity, we will always support a position of caution with a respect for the principles of sustainability."

Tourism Attributes of Port Mouton Bay:

There is no economic excuse imaginable that justifies fouling Port Mouton Bay. Indeed, why degrade the environment to create fewer than 10 jobs?

See: Tourism

Friends of Port Mouton Bay are demanding a moratorium on aquaculture expansion in the Bay. Aqua Fish Farms has failed in its efforts (if any) to operate with minimal impact on the marine environment and existing fishery.

The current status:

Friends of Port Mouton Bay continue to request an all-stakeholder meeting to discuss these critical issues.

Government and its agencies have not been listening. They have been intentionally avoiding the clear science and the community concerns that FPMB submit.

Government appears to be determined to approve aquaculture in a local marine environment that will not sustain a fish farm. In fact, they bend to the pressure of industry, they sidestep democracy, and they ignore good science.

This Bay will suffer irreparable ecological marine life damage, unless we can, with your help, get their attention.

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For More Information, Please Contact:

Friends of Port Mouton Bay
E-mail: friendsofportmoutonbay@gmail.com

Gloria Gilbert, FPMB
Ph: 902-656-3376
turtlevoice@ns.sympatico.ca