Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Bay of Fundy Needs EIA's Before Aquaculture Beaches are Designated

I've had several calls and emails about the announcement that the NB Department of Natural Resources will be creating "aquaculture beach sites" where the industry can haul their cages, boats, barges, and other infrastructure ashore to repair and maintain them. Having started the very first commercial aquaculture sites at Deer Island and Eastport and having been surveying the impact of the industry on the Quoddy ecosystem for almost 30 years, it is certain that these sites will have impacts where they are established and, undoubtedly, will be eye-sores. While the provided map is less than useful, I have been given the names of a couple of these beaches that have unique and important populations of marine invertebrates and have been traditional community beaches for decades and decades.

The timing on this makes it appear that Nature Resources has designed the notice to fast-track the result without proper consideration and public input. While we give lipservice to the value of Quoddy and fight unsuitable development like Pittston, LNG, coastal quarries, municipal pollution and all of those developments that threaten the important and financially valuable Quoddy ecosystem, certain existing government departments seem to be willing to ignore our own regulations and laws. Also we are spending thousands on developing a marine planning approach under Sue Farhquarson`s able leadership. Unfortunately this is not `planning` where the needs of all resource users are taken into account, compromises are made, and the best solutions are sought.

Assigning beaches without public consultation is a travesty. In fact, the delicate nature of some of these beaches screams for Environmental Impact Assessments. Again, no one argues against the need ... it is the arbitrary selection of location and lack of public consultation that rankles.

Come on folks, let's do it right!

At the moment, that's my opinion. What`s yours.