• Environment and Climate Change Canada Reluctant to Enforce Regulations against Aquaculture Operators

    Logo_glow.pngConservation Council.jpg
    For Immediate Release - Sept. 26, 2017

    Environment and Climate Change Canada Reluctant to Enforce Regulations against Aquaculture Operators

    K’JIPUKTUK/HALIFAX - A retired Environment Canada employee and conservation and environmental law groups are calling for action from the federal government after Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) confirmed certain aquaculture activities result in a disposal at sea, likely violating the federal Disposal at Sea Regulations. Despite this confirmation the activities appear to be continuing without any enforcement action by ECCC.

    Aquaculture companies use a variety of drugs, disinfectants and pesticides in response to sea lice and disease on salmon, issues that come along with farming fish in the open ocean. Chemical residues and pesticides are released into the ocean after use despite limitations under the Disposal at Sea Regulations and the serious risk of harm these chemicals pose to the marine environment and wildlife.

    In February 2016, retired Environment Canada employee Bill Ernst launched a formal complaint about the practice to ECCC. In his complaint, Ernst identified specific companies but noted that an industry-wide investigation was needed.

    After more than a year of reviewing the complaint and undertaking investigations of activities taking place in New Brunswick, officials from ECCC confirmed to Mr. Ernst on April 25, 2017 that they had a reasonable belief that the companies he identified were violating the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 and that the department would take ‘appropriate’ enforcement action.

    Yet, despite repeated requests from Ernst on how ECCC will enforce the Disposal at Sea Regulations, no clear enforcement action has happened. The aquaculture industry’s widespread practice of discharging chemicals into the marine environment continues.

    Ernst, East Coast Environmental Law, West Coast Environmental Law Association, Conservation Council of New Brunswick, Ecology Action Centre, Living Oceans Society, and Friends of the Earth Canada are calling for an industry-wide investigation into the chemical dumping practice.

    “I continue to be concerned that by the Government’s inaction. Minister McKenna is abdicating her responsibility to protect the marine environment and, in doing so, is giving the impression that the Government of Canada is willing to promote the aquaculture industry at the expense of other industries and environmental sustainability,” says Ernst.

    Adds Lisa Mitchell, Executive Director with East Coast Environmental Law: “Aquaculture may be a valuable economic driver in the Atlantic Canadian economy, as are many other coastal industries, but to ensure these industries remain viable, the laws that protect the environment upon which they depend must be applied fairly and effectively. Private citizens should not bear the burden of enforcing those laws.”

    “We commend Mr. Ernst for his efforts to ensure that the laws to protect our environment and coastal fisheries are being enforced,” says Matthew Abbott, Fundy Baykeeper with the Conservation Council of New Brunswick. “It is disappointing that ECCC has not taken the opportunity provided by Mr. Ernst’s complaint to comprehensively investigate pesticide and other chemical use on aquaculture sites in Canadian waters. An industry-wide investigation is needed.”

    The ECCC report regarding Mr. Ernst’s complaint can be viewed here.

    For more information contact:

    Bill Ernst

    Environment Canada retiree

    Wrernst1@gmail.com, 902-865-5771

    Matthew Abbott, Fundy Baykeeper

    Conservation Council of New Brunswick

    matt.abbott@conservationcouncil.ca 506-458-8747

    Lisa Mitchell, Executive Director

    East Coast Environmental Law Association

    lisa@ecelaw.ca 902-670-1113

  • First of Its Kind Study on Value of Wild Atlantic Salmon Underway

    Atlantic Salmon Federation




    First of Its Kind Study on Value of Wild Atlantic Salmon Underway

     For immediate release                                                                                           

    June 15, 2011                                                                                   

    St. Andrews….The Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) has engaged Gardner Pinfold Consulting Economists Ltd. to carry out the most comprehensive study of the economic benefits of wild Atlantic salmon to eastern Canada ever undertaken.  The results are expected by mid summer with a September media launch.

    ASF has long-term plans to share the study’s findings with the general public, anglers, First Nations, community leaders, elected officials and politicians, government officials, Legislative Committees, fisheries critics, and internationally, through the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO).

    The study is a past, present, and future analysis, the scope of which includes the worth of wild Atlantic salmon to recreational fishing, First Nations, tourism, conservation and education, and the existence and other non-use values of the species.

    Bill Taylor, President of ASF, said, “Federal funding for the restoration of wild Atlantic salmon has collapsed.  Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s priority appears to be towards developing commercial ventures, such as the salmon aquaculture industry, rather than to restore wild Atlantic salmon. This is driven by the view that the aquaculture industry has measurable contributions that appeal to elected officials and communities.  Government needs to understand that the recreational and First Nations food fisheries for salmon are important industries that provide economic benefits, jobs, and have significant cultural importance.  We hope that the data that Gardner Pinfold provides will convince government to put more money into conservation and restoration of this species, and we will embark on a long-term plan to convince government leaders to do so.”

    Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) publishes economic surveys on the value of all recreational fishing in Canada, including Atlantic salmon, every five years.  “The Gardner Pinfold study may provide additional data that gives a fuller picture, resulting in a higher value for the recreational salmon fishery than is reported by DFO, ” continued Mr. Taylor, “but the trend that the DFO reports portray, regarding a loss of benefits from the recreational salmon fishing industry since 1995, is alarming and cannot be ignored.”

    The 1995 DFO survey indicated that the revenues from recreational salmon fishing in Quebec and Atlantic Canada at that time was $191 million.  That value had decreased to only $62 million by 2005, according to the DFO survey.  This is a 68% drop in the value of the recreational salmon fishery in terms of today’s dollars. 

    According to the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), recreational salmon catches in Canada were about 30% higher in 1995 than in 2005.  “It is reasonable to conclude that even restoring salmon runs to 1995 abundance will help restore about $100 million in annual revenues through recreational fishing alone,” said Mr. Taylor.  He continued, “Other benefits to First Nations and the general public reinforce the need for attention to wild salmon.”

    The study components are a review of existing data and literature, two surveys (one of anglers and one of the general public), and interviews with key informants such as First Nations, private camps, and non government organizations.  It also includes case studies of the local salmon economies of four rivers: the Grand CascapediaQC, the Miramichi NB, the Margaree NS, and the Exploits NL.  The study will take into account the value of the conservation movement and restoration activity by volunteers and the corporate sector, and provide a value for salmon fisheries when salmon populations are restored.

    Mr. Taylor concluded, “ASF expects the study to provide valuable information on the true worth of the species now and when restored, information that should help strengthen government policy and actions to conserve wild Atlantic salmon.”

    The Atlantic Salmon Federation is dedicated to the conservation, protection and restoration of wild Atlantic salmon and the ecosystems on which their well being and survival depend.

    ASF has a network of seven regional councils (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Maine and Western New England).  The regional councils cover the freshwater range of the Atlantic salmon in Canada and the United States.


    ASF Contact:  Muriel Ferguson, Communications  506 529-1033 or 506 529-4581



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