Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Project puts wild salmon at risk - The Telegram

Letter to the editor of The Telegram
Published Article:

Something sinister to our future is trying to sneak into our province and destroy what we hold dear, including our wild fish.

It comes under the guise of a so-called harmless fish farm expansion in Placentia Bay by Grieg Newfoundland AS of Norway that uses job creation to lure supporters, including our scarce taxpayers’ dollars.

What they try to diminish, even hide, is that this project will inject more than 10 million (7 million annual production) imported European origin salmon into the waters of Placentia Bay. And this is only the beginning! The total wild stock in all of Canada is less than 1 million.

Moreover, the entire south coast (more than 50 rivers facing an endangered species listing) has less than 25 per cent more fish than what typically escapes or “vanishes” a year from the current numbers of open net pens — without this doubling of open net pen production.

If allowed to expand under the proposed plan, these imported salmon will live in supposedly escape-proof cages. Obviously there are no such cages and fish will escape. Supposedly, they will all be sterile females, but once again this will not be the case and is merely PR spin-doctoring.

Escaped fish can roam thousands of miles and will eventually end up in all of our salmon rivers. There is no “safe distance” for an operation like this from salmon rivers.

Even sterile fish that attempt to spawn will have a very negative impact on the reproduction of wild fish. Also, farmed fish are a proven major vector for various diseases which will infect wild populations.

I don’t think it is exaggeration to say that the future of wild salmon in Newfoundland and Labrador is at serious risk from this project. That is on top of the problems around the cage sites of massive waste and disease problems and pollution of pristine waters with chemicals and antibiotics.

Placentia Bay rivers will be  an immediate write-off for sure. Garnish River in Fortune Bay has already been invaded by thousands of escaped farm fish and DFO in 2014 quietly netted out a pile and dug a hole and buried them. The salmon cages over in Fortune Bay are a drop in the bucket compared to the Grieg proposal. Anglers I talked to last summer on Cape Roger River told me that Garnish River is going down fast.

Grieg and its supporters will try to convince us that there is a safe distance for these cages from salmon rivers. There isn’t. They will also say that sterile female fish will not interfere with wild salmon spawning if they do get into salmon rivers. Also not correct. What if there are escapees that are fertile? What if some are males?

Despite the billions of Norwegian dollars behind them, salmon farms were recently turned down in Iceland. See

What Grieg is proposing is the largest introduction of a genetically foreign species to our province, ever.

I would urge everyone to write to Environment Minister Perry Trimper and ask that this proposal by Grieg receive a full and extensive environmental assessment with a full environmental impact statement as per section 51(b) of the Environmental Protection Act, and an environmental impact statement per sections 53(b), 55, 57-67 of the Act. In other words, as comprehensive a review as we saw, for example, in the Terra Nova oilfield environmental review chaired by the late  Leslie Harris

In closing, I offer the words of our Court of Appeal on the role of environmental assessment in Newfoundland and Labrador. In Friends of the Oldman River Society vs. Canada (Minister of Transport), 1992, Justice Gérard V. La Forest described the environment’s protection “as one of the major challenges of our time.” In this statement, the Supreme Court of Canada encapsulates the critical need of reconciling the use of the earth’s natural resources with the protection of the environment.

This is the responsibility of all who care about our future.

Bill Bryden


Thursday, 10 March 2016

Major Escape of Farmed Salmon from the Clare Island Salmon Farm

Open Letter to Minister Simon Coveney
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney
Dear Minister Coveney,

It has been confirmed to Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages (GBASC) by the Marine Institute in Newport that they were made aware on the 19th February by your Department of a major escape of farmed salmon from the Clare Island salmon farm around that date. GBASC were first made aware of this escape by an anonymous letter which I received on the 4th of March. We are furious that your Department or any other Government agency failed to notify the public through the media of this escape. This smacks of a cover up by Government agencies so as not to embarrass the salmon farm industry.

The public should have been warned not to eat the escaped salmon if captured, as they may have been dosed with toxic pesticides to kill sea lice shortly before they escaped, making them unsafe to eat, due to the fact that at the time of their escape they wouldn't have gone through a withdrawal period. These escaped salmon could end up in any river along the coast as they may follow the wild spring salmon that are now running the rivers. Scientific research from around the world shows that interbreeding between farmed and wild salmon can seriously damage the genetic integrity of the wild population in a river system which also has escaped farm salmon.

Escaped farmed salmon have, over the years been caught on the Corrib river here in Galway but no one could tell us where they escaped from, this is why we call for all farmed smolts to be microtagged before they are transferred to the salmon farms.  
Minister, could you please let me know the exact date when the escape occurred, how many salmon escaped, what size they were, and had they been dosed with pesticides before they escaped.
It is incidents like this escape, that are kept secret from the public, which reinforces our view that all open sea cage salmon farms should be taken out of the marine environment and transferred to on land Closed Containment Systems.

Yours sincerely,
Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages 

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Closed Containment is the way Forward for Salmon Aquaculture

Closed containment is the future of salmon farming in B.C. Sea lice infestations, farm waste, disease and escaped farmed salmon could be distant, unpleasant memories if the salmon farming industry switches from open-net cages to closed containment technology.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Food Safety Authority Ireland upheld complaint against misleading labels of farmed salmon

Food Safety Authority Ireland upheld complaint against misleading labels of farmed salmon. FSAI says.. "We agree that they are in breach of legislation since they are are not clear in specifying which country the fish was farmed and both labels are misleading due to graphic which suggest the fish were caught at sea" 

Monday, 21 December 2015

Victory to Everyone Who Protested Against Galway Salmon Farm Proposal

BIM The agency had sought an aquaculture licence to construct a farm off the coast of Inis Oirr in 2012.

It planned to run a 15,000 tonne operation there.

The proposal met with widespread opposition among sections of the local fishing community. 

In a statement this afternoon BIM said it was withdrawing the licence application in light of a new Sustainable Aquaculture Development strategy.

This sets limits regarding the scale of offshore salmon farms and was contrary to the size of the proposed development in Galway Bay.

The decision has been welcomed by groups who had opposed the BIM plan.

Enda O'Conghaile, chairman of the Inis Óirr co-operative, said islanders had raised concerns about the proposal on a number of fronts.

Residents said the location for the development had not been properly analysed, they questioned BIM data regarding the impact and danger from sea lice and said the staffing levels on the farm were "way in excess" of industry norms.

Islanders are particularly pleased because they say the integrity of Galway Bay as a spawning ground for wild fish and its importance for shell fish has been safeguarded by Bord Iascaigh Mhara's decision.

A spokesperson for BIM said it would review its options in the next 12 months. The agency estimates in the region of €500,000 has been spent on the plan to date.

Brian Curran, Spokesperson Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages, welcomed today's decision by BIM and believes it was influenced, in part, by the campaign against the fish farm.

Speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime he said he hopes the application has now been totally withdrawn.

Mr Curran said fish farms cause devastation to salmon wild stock and there are no controls and very little regulations. 

He said millions of euro and a lot of jobs have been lost in the Connemara area because of the salmon farming industry. 

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Report into salmon farm accident 'being withheld' - - Source Irish Independent

 A leading environmental group has accused the Government of withholding a report into a salmon farm accident which resulted in one of the largest-ever losses of fish in Ireland. Almost 230,000 fish were lost when storms battered a salmon farm in Gerahies, Bantry Bay, Co Cork, in February 2014.

Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) have sought the departmental report into the incident, so as to clarify the regulatory regime governing such salmon farms. However, the Department of Agriculture, Food, and Fisheries has informed the group that the report will not be completed until December 31. FIE successfully appealed the department's refusal to release preliminary reports and correspondence.

The department had claimed that the release of any parts of the deliberative process of advising the minister what action to take would be "premature".

It also argued that the public interest would not be served by the release of material in this manner. However the Information Commission ruled against the department on both grounds. In his ruling last July, the Information Commissioner ordered the State to release a detailed report into the accident.

Peter Tyndall said that the department's arguments for refusing to release the information were not justified. He insisted there was a strong public interest in maximising "openness and accountability" in relation to how the Department of Marine and the Marine Institute carries out their functions. He said it was difficult to follow the logic of the department's claims that the release of the information could be potentially harmful to the regulatory process.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Farm Salmon Linked to Cancer Chemicals


The Food Standards Agency has urged people to keep eating Scottish farmed salmon after a scientific report claimed it is so full of pollutant chemicals it should only be eaten a maximum of three times a year. Levels of 14 toxins were significantly higher in both European and North American farm-raised salmon than in fish caught in the wild.

The pollutants, which come under the banner of organochlorines, included chemicals which persist in the environment and are potential cancer triggers. Four of the most hazardous - PCBs, dioxins, dieldrin and toxaphene - were used to calculate consumption safety guidelines. The researchers recommended that only a half to one meal - defined as eight ounces of uncooked meat - of farmed salmon bought from supermarkets in London and Edinburgh should be eaten per month. This was the maximum amount that could be consumed before boosting the risk of cancer by at least one case in 100,000.

The same guidance applied to salmon bought from Frankfurt, Paris, Oslo, Boston, San Francisco and Toronto. The most contaminated fish came from farms in Scotland and the Faroe Islands, Denmark. For these, the monthly limit was a mere quarter of a serving, equating to three servings per year.
Wild salmon, on the other hand, could be consumed at levels as high as eight meals per month.
But the Food Standards Agency pointed out that the dioxins and PCBs found in the study were within safety levels set by the World Health Organisation and European Commission.

FSA chairman Sir John Krebs said: "This study shows that the levels of dioxins and PCBs in salmon are within internationally recognised safety limits and confirms previous studies by the FSA. Our advice is that people should consume at least two portions of fish a week - one of which should be oily like salmon. There is good evidence that eating oily fish reduces the risk of death from recurrent heart attacks and that there is a similar effect in relation to first heart attacks."

Monday, 26 October 2015

Appeal Cites Records Showing Company Refused to Cooperate with Audits by the Department of Agriculture and by the Marine Institute

An appeal has been lodged against the Norwegian multinational Marine Harvest’s application for a salmon farming expansion in Bantry Bay that claims the applicant is not a ‘fit person’ to hold a licence.

The appeal cites records showing the company refused to cooperate with audits by the Department of Agriculture and by the Marine Institute in 2013 and 2014.

The claims are based on records released to Friends of the Irish Environment recently by the Commissioner for Environmental Information after the Department of Agriculture had cited ‘public interest’ for refusing them.

Read the Appeal here

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Salmon Confidential, Documentary About Salmon Farms in Canada & Diseased Salmon

This shocking documentary by film maker Twyla Roscovich and biologist Alexandra Morton discovers British Columbia's wild salmon are testing positive for dangerous European salmon viruses associated with salmon farming worldwide and how a chain of events is set off by the Canadian government to suppress the findings contained within this documentary.