Sunday, 27 November 2011


(Note:  This blog entry has been modified from the original at the request of the volunteer it originally highlighted.  I only do so as the volunteer was unaware of my policy with regards to editorial control - my fault.  Future sources and celebrated volunteers will be fully informed.   The issues presented reflect my own beliefs, as do all my blog entriesFuture blog entries will be updated and corrected with regards to facts if errors occur, but editorial control will remain with me.)

Global production of fish from aquaculture has grown substantially in the past decade, reaching 52.5 million tonnes in 2008, compared with 32.4 million tonnes in 2000. Aquaculture continues to be the fastest-growing animal food producing sector and currently accounts for nearly half (45.6 percent) of the world’s food fish consumption, compared with 33.8 percent in 2000. With stagnating global capture fishery production and an increasing population, aquaculture is perceived as having the greatest potential to produce more fish in the future to meet the growing demand for safe and quality aquatic food.  According to FAO [Fisheries and Oceans], it is estimated that by 2012 more than 50 percent of global food fish consumption will originate from aquaculture. (From

(Note:  As always, if you are short of time, you can scroll down to the HOW YOU CAN HELP section, but please do so soon, as some of these actions must take place before Dec. 4, 2011.)

How much do you know about the associated problems of pollution, pesticide use, and the resulting die-off of lobsters caused by open-pen salmon aquaculture? 
One concerned citizen, after hearing a radio broadcast on this issue,  called the Department of Aquaculture and spoke with a government official, who specified that no pesticides were used in open-pen aquaculture – only “medications” (Note:  You may be unaware of the term "linguistic detoxification".   This may be one example.)  She also called an aquaculture industry representative who stated that no pesticides were necessary in Nova Scotia open-pens as the water temperature repels sea lice. (The picture to your left is of Atlantic Salmon infested with sea lice.)  

Save Our Coastal Fishery is one group that is fighting to save the coastal waters in Atlantic Canada.      This is no small issue.  Cooke Aquaculture, Nova Scotia's largest aquaculture company  has been charged with illegally poisoning the coastal waters near its pens (you can link to several sources: newspaper article, or video). They appear in court Dec. 13th, 2011.

This fight is at a critical phase. The Federal Conservative Government has announced that it is "considering" the changes it intends to make regarding the laws of pesticide use in open-pen salmon aquaculture.  You can read this notice of intent here (scroll down to the section labeled "Department of Fisheries", fourth notice down). To make your lives a little easier, here are portions of the notice:

The federal government is committed to reducing or avoiding duplicative administrative requirements, while ensuring that legislative environmental protection objectives are met.
In determining the design of the regulations under consideration, DFO [Department of Fisheries and Oceans] will be examining the scope of legislation governing fish pathogen and pest treatment, and the environmental aspects of regulations, regulatory mechanisms and programs administered by Health Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Environment Canada, and DFO as well as provincial and territorial authorities. The proposed regulations under the FA [Fisheries Act] are expected to complement current federal regulatory instruments, ensuring that fish and fish habitat are protected and healthy aquatic ecosystems maintained in the carrying out of fish pathogen and pest treatments. ...

In Canada, a number of pieces of legislation and regulations administered by a number of federal agencies govern aspects related to fish pathogen and pest treatment, including requirements related to environmental risk assessment and mitigation. Treatment products may be regulated under one or more of the following acts: the Food and Drugs Act (FDA), the Pest Control Products Act (PCPA) and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999). As well, the HAA provides for control measures to prevent the spread and introduction of aquatic animal diseases of concern to Canada and the Fisheries Act has, as a purpose, the protection of fish and fish habitat. 

I encourage you to read the original document. However, in the meantime, there are a few things I would like to highlight. In theory, I actually agree that reducing redundant administration is a good thing - however, having worked in hospitals for years, I can tell you that the 'redundancy' of having medications and dosages checked by nurses as well as doctors has saved thousands of lives. Administrative staff may be highly competent, and yet are still human. Mistakes are made. Safety issues may not be picked up on. A certain amount of redundancy when it comes to safety, toxicity, and environmental protection is actually a necessity. 

One source stated"...even though [the] DFO has regulations, they have never been enforced - resulting in significant pollution in Shelburne Harbour [seen left], Port Mouton Bay, and St. Mary's Bay, NS."

There are a number of excellent sources that provide insight into the destructive aspects of open-pen aquaculture.  One of the best ways of informing yourself is to go to the Save Our Coastal Fishery website (link above).

As a vegan, I already have a number of issues with 'factory farming'.  However, this particular issue speaks to all of us.  The abuse and poisoning of public resources (like coastal waters) is an issue that effects us all.  Elected representatives need to know what we think about these issues.  If the only voices they hear are those of corporate representatives, then we are partially to blame for the degradation of our environment.  If we support these industries through our silence, as well as our dollars, then we are responsible, in part, for their choices. 

If this is an issue that speaks to you, please get involved.  Here are just a few ways that you can help her help save our coastal waters:


1Inform yourself. In addition to the above links, you can visit the following sites:  Friends of Port Mouton Bay, Friends of Shelbourne Harbour.  Additionally, St. Mary's Bay, where the Minister of Fisheries has approved 2 x 100 care open-pen farms in spite of opposition from 80% of the community, has a facebook page.  If you are really interested in this issue, begin to think about water use in general.  While the Council of Canadians tends to focus on water rights with regards to fresh water (see here, and here), use of public water for private gains is clearly a growing issue.

2PEOPLE HAVE UNTIL DEC. 4, 2011 TO SUBMIT THEIR COMMENTS TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT REGARDING THE PROPOSED CHANGES TO PESTICIDE LEGISLATION!  Please make your voice heard.  You can send your comments (make sure to include the reference number CLEAR ref.: 11-01-61095).  The addresses to send your views can be viewed on the Notice of Intent, at the government site linked above.  
3.   If you buy salmon, ask your retailers (and go to managers, and send letters and emails to head offices) about the specifics of the salmon you are buying.  (Note that only 0.5% of salmon sold now is wild, as the fishery industry for wild Atlantic salmon has collapsed - see here).  If you are told that what you are buying is wild Atlantic Salmon, chances are you are being mislead. 

Do not settle for "eco-friendly" or "eco-farmed" labels thrown out without specifics, as there is no third-party certification or government standards for these terms. 

If the stores cannot answer your questions, choose to boycott Atlantic salmon, and make your decision known to these stores. 
5Send the link for this blog, or some of the links provided (I suggest Save our Coastal Fishery) and try to get others to get involved.  You can also contact Save Our Coastal Fishery and ask them how you can help.

6.  Become aware of, and use, the complete list of Seafood Eco-Ratings.  If you choose to eat seafood, help support sustainable harvesting.

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