Thursday, December 30, 2010

TRANSPORTATION: Nova Scotia decides the Yarmouth to Bar Harbor ferry not feasible.

Commission: Current Bar Harbor ferry proposal not feasible
By Ezra Silk | Dec 29, 2010
Bar Harbour Times Soup

Yarmouth, NS — After more than two months spent examining five proposals for providing ferry service between Nova Scotia and New England, the Yarmouth Area Industrial Commission has concluded that none of the proposals are financially viable. The Commission, which confirmed that it was considering a route to Bar Harbor, hopes to support a Yarmouth to New England ferry by May 2012, according to a press release distributed late Tuesday afternoon.

“At this point in time it is the Commission’s opinion that the proposals received do not meet the basic requirement of our RFP [request for proposal] process,” reads the press release.

According to the release, the Commission’s basic requirement is, “Clear confirmation of financial capacity to operate a ferry service.”

The CAT ferry service in Bar Harbor ended in December 2009, putting 120 people out of full and part-time work. According to Bay Ferries Limited, the company that operated the CAT, the route had lost its financial viability because of the struggles of the American economy, the rise of the Canadian dollar, and new U.S. passport regulations.

In the statement, the Commission acknowledged that the announcement might be disappointing to the applicants, as well as others who would welcome ferry service to their community.

“While the Yarmouth Area Industrial Commission shares the frustrations and disappointment of businesses and residents of Nova Scotia, New England and particularly Yarmouth County, we feel that we also have a responsibility to ensure that any service provider is financially capable of starting a new service and sustaining that service into the future,” reads the release.

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AQUACULTURE: Test of Alphamax shows results ... or does it?

The Working Waterfront

Are salmon pen pesticides killing lobsters?
by Bob Gustafson

The Fundy North Fishermen's Association (FNFA), based in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, believes they are, according to Sheena Young, FNFA program director.

But the Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association (ACFFA), based in, Letang, New Brunswick, maintains that the lobsters are dying from other causes, according to Pamela Parker, ACFFA executive director.

Tests conducted in the area by Environment Canada (EC) on October 27 produced the following results, according to their spokesman Mark Johnson. Johnson said, "Environment Canada's environmental enforcement officers were on site October 27, 2010, to monitor compliance with the Fisheries Act during an in-pen treatment of sea lice using tarps and the chemical bath AlphaMax. Enforcement officers used three sets of lobsters to assess the impact of the AlphaMax product on non-target species outside the treatment pen."

He explained, "The first set of 30 lobsters were a negative control group placed outside the reach of the plume resulting from the in-pen treatment using AlphaMax. These lobsters showed no impact from the chemical bath."

Johnson continued: "The second set of 30 lobsters were a positive control placed directly inside the treatment pen. All of the lobsters in this group died following exposure to the AlphaMax treatment."

He concluded: "The third set of 60 lobsters were attached to buoys and drifted with the plume leaving the pen. Ninety minutes after the AlphaMax treatment all 60 lobsters within the plume were classified by a Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) biologist as either dead (70% of them) or dying. The surviving lobsters were taken to DFO's lab in St. Andrews and placed in clean sea water, but they subsequently died overnight."

FNFA's Young said of the Environment Canada's tests, "We express full support for Environment Canada's work."

She added, "We have been told repeatedly by the aquaculture industry and by the Province of New Brunswick that pesticides are ‘used up' by the time the tarps are released and the effluent is not harmful to marine life. We now have reason to doubt this claim."

Young continued, "The lobsters used in the study were 1½- to 2-pound lobsters. Although such a large lobster is generally not found floating or swimming near the sea surface, all stages of lobster larvae live as part of the plankton floating at the surface. Larval and juvenile lobsters are much more susceptible to pesticides such as AlphaMax than adult lobsters. If the pesticide kills adult lobsters it will certainly kill young lobsters."

ACFFA's Parker clearly is not applauding the Environment Canada tests.

"I have been told that Environment Canada enforcement officers did put lobsters directly inside a net pen during a tarp treatment and, following release of the tarp after the treatment was completed, towed lobster in cages behind a boat for over 2 hours in areas where they suspected the treatment product might be present," she said.

Parker continued, "The EC activity was not based on a real life scenario on how we use the treatment product (i.e. We do everything we can to make sure lobster are not exposed to the product) nor on the natural positioning of the lobster (on the sea bed).

She added, "We were not present during this exercise, nor have we been informed on the results, so I don't feel qualified to comment. What I can say is that we are not confident that this project followed the methodology generally accepted and used in sentinel species research. This is research we had intended to conduct again this year (we did this research on farms last year) in collaboration with DFO and the Province of New Brunswick researchers."

Young responded, "These lobsters were not dragged for two and a half hours as Ms. Parker claims. A boat was used to divert the floating buoys away from adjacent cages and then released to float freely again.

As for Parker's criticism that the tests were not conducted in a real-life scenario Young said, "A real-life scenario would likely yield much worse results than what was seen that day."

She concluded, "We applaud Environment Canada for protecting the marine ecosystem and our local fishing communities that depend on its health."

Bob Gustafson is a freelance writer who lives in Eastport.

Monday, December 27, 2010

HISTORY: Is the book 'The Salmon Connection" available?

Dr. John M. Anderson's book, The Salmon Connection is the definitive source of information on the history of Atlantic salmon aquaculture in the Bay of Fundy and northern Gulf of Maine. Anyone know who is selling it?
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Sunday, December 19, 2010

What does the seafloor around the bay of fundy look like?

What does the seafloor around the bay of fundy look like?

LNG survival in Maine hinges on sole proposal

Opponents of a liquefied natural gas terminal say the same forces that stymied Calais LNG will stop Downeast LNG, too.

Is LNG dead in Maine?
The answer is likely to come in the next year or two.
Since 2003, a succession of proposals to build a terminal along the Maine coast to import liquefied natural gas have failed. The most recent, Calais LNG, withdrew its permit application with state environmental regulators last week. Unable to find new money after a primary investor pulled out, the developer blamed lingering impacts from the global financial meltdown.
Calais LNG was one of three terminals planned for the St. Croix River and Passamaquoddy Bay, on the Maine-New Brunswick border. Following its demise, and with the failure of an earlier competitor, Quoddy Bay LNG, a single project now represents the final hope for bringing a new source of natural gas directly to eastern Maine.
"We always believed we'd be the last man standing," said Dean Girdis, co-founder and president of Downeast LNG.
Downeast LNG has a site in Robbinston, downriver from Calais. It's slowly moving through the regulatory process and hopes to gain federal permits next year, and state permits in 2012. The project's private investors, who Girdis says have spent $17.5 million so far, continue to see unmet, future demand for natural gas in New England that can be satisfied by LNG.
Diverse interests -- including outgoing Gov. John Baldacci, the state chamber of commerce and organized labor -- have rallied behind the terminal proposals. They say LNG is critically important for creating jobs, displacing oil and providing cleaner, less-costly energy for the state's industries.
But advocacy groups and residents in both the U.S. and Canada who are worried about the effects of LNG on tourism, fishing, navigation and the environment disagree. They say Downeast LNG is doomed by the same forces that hobbled Calais LNG: a new glut of natural gas that has reduced the need for imported LNG and has scared away investors.
"LNG terminals in Passamaquoddy Bay just don't have a future," said Sean Mahoney, vice president of the Conservation Law Foundation in Maine.
Newly discovered shale gas deposits in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast states will boost the region's supply, Mahoney's group asserts. Aided by the recently-opened Canaport LNG terminal in New Brunswick and two small, floating terminals off Massachusetts that can feed pipelines in Greater Boston, New England will have an adequate supply for many years, the group says.
But Girdis and other LNG advocates say critics are overlooking a key detail. Two major pipelines through southern New England that can carry gas from the shale basins -- the Tennessee Pipeline and the Algonquin Pipeline -- already are at capacity in the winter and have no room, and no political support, to expand. A consultant's report done last month for Downeast LNG highlighted this conclusion, adding that New England already gets a large share of gas shipped from Europe.
"Markets in the Northeast will be among the last in the U.S. to receive shale gas on a consistent, year-around basis because, for shale gas, the Northeast is still the end of the line, while, for LNG, the Northeast is closer to the middle of the stream," it said.
This is an important distinction, according to Tony Buxton, a Portland lawyer who represents industrial interests in Maine and had worked for Calais LNG. Maine pays a premium for natural gas, Buxton said, partly because of Canaport's ability to influence prices. The wholesale cost of gas also affects the price of electricity, which fuels many of the region's power plants.
If Maine had an LNG terminal with storage tanks and a firm, year-round delivery schedule, Buxton said, that could make it profitable for developers to build lateral lines to eastern Maine mills that now burn hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil every year.
"No one will build a pipeline unless there's a firm, year-round supply," he said.
Nationally, though, the outlook for new LNG import terminals is bleak.
Nine U.S. terminals operate today, including the nation's oldest, in Everett, Mass. More than a dozen have won federal permits, part of a wave of projects planned to meet an expected gas shortage that evaporated during the recession. Only a few are moving ahead now and a couple of them, in Texas, are instead being fitted to ship domestic gas overseas.
But Maine and New England are in a different situation, according to Bill Cooper, president of the Center for LNG, an industry trade group. LNG terminals are designed to operate for roughly 40 years, over many cycles of market conditions. The Everett, Mass., terminal is at capacity and the region's only new facility with storage is in Canada.
"Do you want to base the next 40 years on one new terminal?" Cooper asked. "You can't make long-term energy decisions based on (today's) market."
At Downeast LNG, Girdis is taking that long view. He has been working full-time on the project since 2004. Under the most optimistic timeline, it wouldn't be operating until 2016.
A Boston native who spent summers as a child in the Old Orchard Beach area, Girdis has worked in the LNG sector around the world. Now based in Washington, D.C., he studied 30 possible LNG sites from Connecticut through Maine. Passamaquoddy Bay, with its protected harbors and deep water, ranked highest.
Downeast LNG's prime financial backer is Kestrel Energy Partners, a New York private equity investment firm led by Paul Vermylen, whose background is in the oil and financial industries. Girdis said Kestrel plans to spend $19 million to secure federal and state permits.
Downeast LNG has also drawn interest from an international company that wants to build and operate the terminal, Girdis said, as well as a gas supplier. But nothing can move ahead without permits.
Downeast LNG's attempt to gain a federal environmental permit has been delayed by requests for additional information. That's pushing the process -- and a decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission -- into early next year. If successful, Downeast LNG will need to resubmit permit applications to the state.
Project opponents are hopeful that the obstacles that brought down Calais LNG and Quoddy Bay LNG also will trip up Downeast LNG.
Ronald Shems, a lawyer for Save Passamaquoddy Bay, said the experience of the bay's other two LNG proposals suggests that energy projects aimed for the wrong locations die for reasons other than pure opposition. "We may not have to put the nail in the coffin," Shems said. "The market, FERC and state regulators may do it for us."

Staff Writer Tux Turkel can be contacted at 791-6462 or at:

(Thanks Vivian)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Little border protection from Canadian Coastguard .. but huge development planned for Saint John?

While the US Coast Guard patrols our water, photographs our people, and overhauls boats in our waters, there is still little or no Canadian Coast Guard border protection in Charlotte County. I know we have an agreement of some sort going, but abrogating control of Canadian waters on the border is unwise in the extreme. As for the ability of the RCMP to perform these duties ... well they seem to think that boils down to "highway patrol" on the water.

Congratulations to Saint John, this is the perfect place for headquarters, but an "active" presence on the border is required.

The city is preparing for a final deal which will see Ottawa sell the Coast Guard site on Water Street to clear the way for more waterfront development. Just over 900-thousand dollars have been earmarked in next year's proposed capital budget for the purchase and to begin survey work and environmental assessments.

The five year capital budget projection also includes 2.8-million for repairs to the sea wall on the harbour side - and - another 400-thousand for a pedway from Market Square to the site.

The Hardman Group wants to develop more retail space - a hotel - and - condos in that area.

Turbine pulled out of Bay of Fundy

Last Updated: Friday, December 17, 2010 | 4:20 PM AT CBC News

The damaged underwater turbine in the Bay of Fundy was recovered Thursday by OpenHydro.

The damaged underwater turbine in the Bay of Fundy was recovered Thursday by OpenHydro. (Nova Scotia Power)

The damaged underwater turbine in the Bay of Fundy was recovered Thursday by Irish tidal renewable energy company OpenHydro.

The 400 tonne turbine was removed from the floor of the Minas Channel.

"The turbine is in extremely good condition," said James Ives, OpenHydro's CEO. "All the blades have failed. We have overloaded the turbine. We've underestimated the loadings in the Bay of Fundy. We underestimated the energy in the Bay of Fundy."

OpenHyrdo and Nova Scotia Power first tried to remove it in November.

That attempt was unsuccessful due to a rise in tides. Subsequent efforts to retrive it were hampered by bad weather, including strong winds.

The turbine was deployed in November 2009.

The turbine will now be towed to Cherubini Metal Works in Dartmouth for a forensic engineering assessment.

They will try to extract information on six sensor systems.

Then it will be decided if another attempt to put a turbine in the Minas Channel will happen and if it will be the refitted turbine or a new one.

Read more:

Irving dam criticized after N.B. flooding

Last Updated: Friday, December 17, 2010 | 9:32 AM AT CBC News

Liberal MLA Rick Doucet said many St. George residents are upset over J.D. Irving's handling of the water levels of its Lake Utopia hydroelectric dam.

Liberal MLA Rick Doucet said many St. George residents are upset over J.D. Irving's handling of the water levels of its Lake Utopia hydroelectric dam. (CBC)

Some flood victims in St. George, N.B., are questioning whether the disaster could have been prevented if J.D. Irving had released water from its Lake Utopia hydroelectric dam before the worst of this week's storm.

Residents in the southwestern New Brunswick community say they believe the company left water levels too high at the dam.

Citizens formed a local committee to examine the high water levels several years ago.

Liberal MLA Rick Doucet said corporate officials with J.D. Irving actively participated in those meetings. But Doucet said not much has came from those meetings.

"We've worked with Irving, they've been at the table, we've had some great discussions, [the Irvings are] telling us what they're going to do, but it's not happening," Doucet said.

"I think people have had it now, and people are going to want some action on this."

The company operates the southwestern New Brunswick dam to generate electricity for its mill.

A spokesperson for J.D. Irving told CBC News on Thursday that it manages the dam according to the weather and water level information it was given earlier this week.

'As a result, when we do get something like this [rain storm], we're behind the 8-ball before we even start.'— Bruce Jackson, St. George resident

The company's spokesperson said they were caught off guard when the storm exceeded all expectations.

Officials with the province's Emergency Measures Organization said this week that they have never seen water levels rise so quickly in the community.

The community's concerns with the high water levels did not just start this week when the area was hit by flash flooding.

Even in normal weather conditions, Bruce Jackson, who lives in the community, said the water levels at the dam are a concern.

"What has consistently been the concern is that the water has left at an artificially high level — by [one-], two-, three-feet high — to generate [electricity]," Jackson said.

"As a result, when we do get something like this [rain storm], we're behind the 8-ball before we even start."

Environment Canada said 172 mm fell in St. Stephen earlier this week.

Southwestern New Brunswick was among the regions hardest hit by this week's floods.

Read more:

N.B. flood damage 'beyond imagination': Alward

Number of flooded N.B. roads down to 70 from 120 earlier this week

Last Updated: Friday, December 17, 2010 | 10:02 PM AT Comments115Recommend66
CBC News
Charlotte County has been one of the New Brunswick areas hardest hit by flooding.
Charlotte County has been one of the New Brunswick areas hardest hit by flooding. (CBC)
The damage left behind by this week's flood that hit parts of southwestern New Brunswick is "beyond imagination," Premier David Alward said on Friday.
Many communities along stretches of southern and western New Brunswick saw extensive damage to roads, bridges and houses following the floods, with Charlotte County the hardest-hit place in the province, according to the Emergency Measures Organization.
The destruction inflicted on many of the communities is "sad," Alward said.
"It is really beyond imagination especially in parts of southwestern New Brunswick and Charlotte County. Many homes covered up to their rooftops, vehicles under water, many people displaced," Alward said.
"Throughout much of the St. John River Valley and southwestern New Brunswick and Charlotte County, many roads and the rail system has been breached."
At one point during the flood, 120 roads were partially or fully flooded, but that is now down to 70.
Bonny River flooded
All roads and bridges leading into the southwestern community of Bonny River, which is near St. Stephen, were either washed out or underwater.
The Canadian Red Cross set up shelter at the Bonny River Fire Department to help residents who lost their homes in the flood.
The main commute to and from Bonny River in recent days has been by boat, such as those operated by Cooke Aquaculture, which has been helping by ferrying people and supplies.
Many roads were fully hidden by water except for the tops of stop signs, while the local landscape was filled with broken porches and waterlogged houses.
'I love my spot on the river but as I've always said, to have the best spot,
there are prices to pay, but I think this price is too high.'— Angela Steen, Bonny River resident
Nicole Norman, who lives in nearby Second Falls, said she finally got a chance to assess the damage to her home on Thursday, and saw the inside was a disaster.
"I saved some of my daughter's Christmas gifts, that's about it. Everything else is ruined," Norman said.
Angela Steen, another Bonny River resident, said she fared a little better.
Her basement is completely flooded but she managed to save some items.
Steen said after what happened during the flood, she can't imagine living in her home much longer.
"I love my spot on the river but as I've always said, to have the best spot, there are prices to pay, but I think this price is too high," said Steen.
Steen said she is relieved the water has finally crested, but she said it will be a long time before things are fully back to normal in her community.
Relief offered
Alward toured the area Wednesday after announcing the government would extend various forms of relief to people affected by the rising waters.
The plan outlined by Alward includes complimentary reconnection of electrical services and free water testing.
Gary MacDonald wades through a flooded parking lot to get to his vehicle near the St. John River on Tuesday in Fredericton. G
ary MacDonald wades through a flooded parking lot to get to his vehicle near the St. John River on Tuesday in Fredericton.(David Smith/Canadian Press)
The premier said the government will also help with health and safety inspections and that citizens can register for funding through the disaster financial assistance program by contacting Service New Brunswick.
Alward said the government is offering residents $4,000, which will help people start taking care of their immediate needs.
Federal cabinet minister Keith Ashfield said the government is willing to help the provincial government fund efforts to rebuild after the flood.
Alward and Transportation Minister Claude Williams have estimated that millions of dollars worth of repairs need to be done to infrastructure across the province because of the floods.
A complicating factor is some road work will have to wait until the spring because the full repairs cannot be completed during the cold and snow of winter.
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Friday, December 17, 2010

LNG: Calais LNG drops lump of coal in Quoddy's Xmas Stocking!

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While groups and individuals around the Passamaquoddy Bay area celebrate the withdrawal of State of Maine applications for the development of an LNG Terminal at Devil's Head in Calais, Maine, CLNG dropped a lump of coal into their Christmas stockings today by requesting the further indulgence of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

See the entire letter at:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Quoddy Anthology–A great Christmas gift!

By Art MacKay, View this Author's Spotlight

Paperback, 52 pages


(1 Rating)

A Quoddy Anthology



Ships in 3–5 business days

Quoddy is considered to be the “ecological engine” that drives the Bay of Fundy and northern Gulf of Maine ecosystems and, ultimately, our valuable and important fisheries, aquaculture, tourism and other coastal industries. This book covers a complete range of topics: the tidal forces that shape the Bay, the nutrient cycles that produce an astounding kaleidoscope of life, the Great Migration that has taken place over 10,000 years and continues today, the wars and skirmishes that live on hundred of years later, the special resource-based industries that bring in nearly a billion dollars each year, industrial development that threaten the very foundation of the Quoddy "Eco-economy", and the steps that must be taken to protect this special place.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

BREAKING NEWS: Calais LNG withdraws State of Maine applications

In a letter to the Maine State Board of Environmental Protect, Calais LNG, LLC withdrew its applications. The entire text follows:

December 14, 2010
Susan M. Lessard, Chair
c/o Terry Dawson
Maine Board of Environmental Protection
17 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333-0017
Beth Nagusky
Acting Commissioner
Maine Department of Environmental Protection
17 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333-0017 

Re: Calais LNG Project Company, LLC and Calais Pipeline Company, LLC 

Dear Chair Lessard and Acting Commissioner Nagusky: 

It is with deep regret that, by this letter, I am notifying the Board of Environmental Protection
(“Board” or “BEP”) that Calais LNG Project Company, LLC and Calais Pipeline Company, LLC
(“Calais LNG”) are withdrawing the following permit applications previously filed with the
Maine Department of Environmental Protection and currently under the jurisdiction of the Maine
Board of Environmental Protection: 
  • NRPA Application: #L-24843-TG-B-N, #L-24843-IW-C-N, #L-24843-L6-D-N,
  • Site Location of Development Application: #L-24843-26-A-N;
  • Air Emission Application: #A-1029-71-A-N;
  • Waste Discharge License Application: #W-9056-5O-A-N; and 
  • Water Quality Certification. 

Calais LNG recognizes that you, Chair Lessard, the rest of the Board, and Board staff, as well as DEP management and staff, all have made extraordinary efforts to move these applications through the DEP and BEP process in an expeditious fashion, and we are extremely disappointed that this project cannot proceed with its state applications at this time.

While we believe that it is in Calais LNG’s best interest, as well as in the best interest of the State of Maine, for the companies to withdraw their applications at this time, it is worth noting that this is being done now as a result of a significant force majeure event that has impacted all of America – the meltdown of the financial markets. It is our firm belief that, but for the extreme turbulence of the capital markets, Maine would be well on its way toward having an LNG facility in Washington County that would be capable of providing stable and secure natural gas prices for Maine’s industrial, commercial and residential consumers. 

A tremendous amount of work has been done to position this project for successful permitting, construction and operation. Millions of dollars worth of high quality scientific research and study has been undertaken with regard to the project site, the pipeline route and the Passamoquoddy Bay / St. Croix River waterway. As you may know, the project recently received a very favorable Waterway Suitability Report from the U.S. Coast Guard. We have also received all necessary local permits for the project from the City of Calais. 

Further, the Calais LNG project has enjoyed broad public support throughout this process. The City of Calais has worked with the project team from the inception of this effort. The Maine State Chamber of Commerce and its members have been stalwart supporters, as have been the Industrial Energy Consumers Group, the Professional Mariners and Waterway Users of Passamoquoddy Bay Region, Citizens for Clean and Secure Energy, Inc., and Maine Workers for a Healthier Environment. Their efforts are much appreciated by Calais LNG and, given the importance of this project to the State of Maine, we hope that their support will remain strong as Calais LNG re-groups and subsequently re-files its DEP applications.

Based upon all of those positive results, the strong support of the Community and other interest groups, the interest in this project currently being shown by various energy companies, and the general continued forward momentum of the project, we are very optimistic that we will be able to satisfy the requirements necessary for permitting in the near future, at which time Calais LNG fully intends to re-file its applications.

It has been a pleasure working with you and your very capable staffs and we look forward to continuing that positive relationship upon re-filing of the applications in the near term. In the meantime, please direct all further correspondence with regard to these matters to:

Harold Ian Emery
Calais LNG Project Company, LLC
Calais Pipeline Company, LLC
1863 Cutler Road
Cutler, ME 04626

Again, on behalf of the entire Calais LNG project team, including Arthur Gelber and myself, we
thank you and your staffs for your efforts on this project to date.

Harold Ian Emery

cc: Arthur Gelber
BEP Service List
Eliza Townsend, DOC

Monday, December 13, 2010

AQUACULTURE: Study shows sea lice not to blame for collapse of BC salmon populations

Male and female Lepeophtheirus salmonisImage via Wikipedia

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Public release date: 13-Dec-2010

Contact: Sylvia Wright
University of California - Davis

UC Davis study: Wild salmon decline was not caused by sea lice from farm salmon
Study is first to combine 10 years of farms' sea-lice counts and 60 years of wild fish counts

A new UC Davis study contradicts earlier reports that salmon farms were responsible for the 2002 population crash of wild pink salmon in the Broughton Archipelago of western Canada.

The Broughton crash has become a rallying event for people concerned about the potential environmental effects of open-net salmon farming, which has become a $10 billion industry worldwide, producing nearly 1.5 million tons of fish annually.

The new study, to be published online this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, does not determine what caused the crash, but it acquits the prime suspect: small skin parasites called sea lice.

The study's lead author is Gary Marty, a veterinary pathologist and research associate at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. An expert in fish diseases, Marty has been studying the health of pink salmon since the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska.

"For anybody concerned about the effect of farm salmon on wild salmon, this is good news," Marty said. "Sea lice from fish farms have no significant effect on wild salmon population productivity."

The new study is the first to analyze 20 years of fish production data and 10 years of sea-lice counts from every salmon farm in the Broughton Archipelago and compare them against 60 years of population counts of adult pink salmon.

The study concludes that farm fish are indeed the main source of sea lice on the area's juvenile wild pink salmon, but it found no statistical correlation between lice levels on the farms and the lifetime survival of wild pink salmon populations.

Pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) are the most abundant wild salmon species in the Broughton Archipelago. When they are a few months old, juvenile pink salmon leave the streams where they were born. They mature at sea, then return to their native streams to spawn and die two years after their parents.

Because of their two-year lifespans, the pink salmon born in odd-numbered years are genetically different from those born in even-numbered years. In the 60-year record, both lines of pink salmon have had tremendous, unexplained population swings, even before fish farms were established in the late 1980s.

Sea lice are natural parasites of adult pink salmon. The adult louse, about the size of a small watermelon seed, attaches itself to a fish's skin and feeds on its host. Minor lice infestations are not harmful to pink salmon, but a severe infestation can weaken or kill the smallest fish (those about the size of a paperclip). On fish farms, veterinarians treat the fish with medicated feed when lice populations become too high.

The Broughton fish farms raise Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in net-sided pens in the water. Wild pink salmon are separated from the farm fish only by the mesh of the net enclosures. Lice freely pass from wild fish to farm fish, and vice-versa.

Record high numbers of wild pink salmon returned to spawn in rivers of the Broughton Archipelago in 2000 and 2001, but only 3 percent of that number returned in 2002, and only 12 percent in 2003.

Also, in 2001, the first examination of Broughton juvenile pink salmon found that more than 90 percent had lice. In the next two years, when the salmon numbers plummeted, the hypothesis arose that sea lice from fish farms were to blame.

Calls went up for the farms to move the fish from open-net pens to closed containers. And government regulators ordered farmers to use stricter anti-lice treatments.

In the new study, Marty and his colleagues were able to see, year by year, how many lice were on the farms when the young pink salmon went to sea, and how many of those salmon returned to spawn. The results were surprising.

"The salmon that returned in such low numbers in 2002 were exposed as juveniles to fewer sea lice than were the salmon that returned in record high numbers in 2001," Marty said. "Sea lice from farm fish could not have caused the 2002 wild salmon population crash."

Marty's co-authors are Sonja Saksida, director of the British Columbia Centre for Aquatic Health Sciences in Campbell River, and Terrance Quinn, professor of fish population dynamics at the Juneau Center of the School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Quinn is a world authority on mathematical modeling of fish populations. Saksida is a veterinarian and the first researcher given access to confidential records from all the Broughton aquaculture companies.

Marty is also the fish pathologist for the British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture and an affiliate faculty member of the University of Alaska School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences.

Marty said that even though the trio used much of the same fish and lice data used in previous studies, they reached a different conclusion for two reasons: First, the fish farmers gave Saksida their records, and second, the old and new data were analyzed using methods common in veterinary medical science that were not used in many of the previous studies.

"The major lesson of this study is that we cannot settle for simple explanations for wild-animal population declines. There are very complex interactions among disease, environment and animal population health. Sustainability studies must engage all the science specialties to pursue a better understanding of these relationships," Marty said.


None of the authors received compensation from any source for this analysis. Quinn has never worked for any fish farm company. Marty has never worked for any fish farm company in Canada; in the United States, he consulted for the industry in 2000 and 2001. Since 2004, Marty has analyzed fish-farm samples for the British Columbia provincial government, which is paid a fee for those services by the farm companies. Saksida, as part of her private veterinary practice over the past 15 years, has done contract work for all three fish farm companies that operate in the study area.

About UC Davis

For more than 100 years, UC Davis has engaged in teaching, research and public service that matter to California and transform the world. Located close to the state capital, UC Davis has more than 32,000 students, more than 2,500 faculty and more than 21,000 staff, an annual research budget that exceeds $679 million, a comprehensive health system and 13 specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and more than 100 undergraduate majors in four colleges -- Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Biological Sciences, Engineering, and Letters and Science. It also houses six professional schools -- Education, Law, Management, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.

Friday, December 10, 2010

AQUACULTURE: 33,000 farmed salmon escaped to the Bay of Fundy

Published on: December 8, 2010

Edward Peter

The Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) is calling on government and the aquaculture industry to provide transparency and compliance in reporting escapes from open net cages in the Bay of Fundy.

Recently, the industry reported escapes of 13,000 off Deer Island and 33,000 off Grand Manan. The number of escapees that showed up at monitoring facilities in the fall, before these reported escapes occurred, indicate that there were significant earlier escapes that were not reported by the industry in contravention of the reporting requirements of the NB Breach of Containment Governance Framework for Marine Salmon that came into effect in August 2010.

ASF's Director of Research and the Environment Jonathan Carr stated, "By mid October, 17 escapees had been detected by personnel at the Mactaquac facility on the St. John River. This number alarmed me as only six escaped salmon have been detected at Mactaquac in the last 5 years. At ASF's own monitoring station on the Magaguadavic River in the heart of the salmon aquaculture industry, 28 escapees had turned up before October 28. We would expect far fewer than 1% of the escaped fish to successfully make it to rivers following an escape incident, due in part to domestication. The numbers of escapees that did show up at Mactaquac on the St. John River and the Magaguadavic River indicate that large unreported escape(s) have occurred."

The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) recently assessed the wild Atlantic salmon population segments in the outer Bay of Fundy as endangered. These salmon are located in rivers that are adjacent to the Bay of Fundy aquaculture industry. The Inner Bay of Fundy populations were listed as endangered under SARA in 2003. In its report, COSEWIC cites "negative effects of interbreeding or ecological interactions with escaped domestic salmon from fish farms" as being key threats to these segments of wild salmon populations.

The fact that escapees are being picked up at the Mactaquac dam indicates it is likely that some may have entered and potentially spawned with wild salmon in the many river systems of the lower St. John River because there are no facilities to intercept, identify and remove them. The rivers in this situation include the Keswick, Oromocto, Canaan, Nerepis, Salmon, Hammond, and Kennebecasis. "These rivers are critical to establishing self-sustaining wild populations in the St. John River, the largest river in the outer Bay region whose populations were assessed to be endangered by COSEWIC. It is unacceptable that these salmon populations are exposed to this risk," said Geoff Giffin, ASF's Director of Programs for New Brunswick.

"The need for expedient detection and reporting of escapes is fundamental when it comes to protecting wild Atlantic salmon from the impacts of escaped farm salmon. The industry must be held accountable for the threats to wild salmon by being responsible for intercepting, identifying and removing escapees from each and every river system that is exposed. If this became a requirement of industry, there is no doubt that the costs associated with current open sea-cage aquaculture would rise considerably. In fact, it could make land-based closed containment aquaculture more economically feasible. For the industry to continue to operate in a manner that does not include complete recapture and removal of farm escapees, or better yet, total prevention of escapes using closed containment solutions, is irresponsible," concluded Mr. Giffin.

Breaking News: BEP Chair Recommends Against Extending Calais LNG Deadline

12/10/2010 05:37 PM ET

The chair of the Maine Board of Environmental Protection has recommended against allowing Calais LNG any more time in it efforts to establish a liquified natural gas terminal near Calais in Washington County.

In a memo to the board, Susan Lessard says the company has not provided enough financial or technical information on the project, nor does it have title to much of the land on which the facility would be built.
Sean Mahoney of the Conservation Law Foundation, which opposes the project, cautiously welcomed the news. "Obviously it's the board chair's recommendation to the board as a whole so it's not final until the board meets next Thursday," Mahoney sys. "But, as we've said all along, we don't think that this project is the appropriate project, both on its location, as well as on the need for an additional LNG facility in the region.
Calls to Calais LNG were not returned.


Maine's electricity prices to drop

While Maine's standard offer electricity prices will be decreasing 6% beginning in March, neighbours in New Brunswick continue to see rate increases required to cover growing government debt and the fiasco created by the attempted sale of NB Power to Hydro Quebec. Read this article and weep.

in reference to:

"standard offer electricity prices decrease 6% beginning"
- Power rates for small businesses to drop | Mainebiz (view on Google Sidewiki)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Welcome to Fundy Wonders

There are so many wonders along the shores and on and under the waters of the Bay of Fundy, that it is impossible to experience them all in one lifetime. But maybe together we can come close! Be sure to register for this blog and send your words and pictures about YOUR special Fundy
Wonders. Let the world know what Fundy is one of the 7 Natural Wonders of this World!

in reference to: Explore … | The beauty and mystery of Canada's Natural Wonder (view on Google Sidewiki)

ENERGY: "Tell Calais LNG to go back to the drawing board"

Editorial - Bangor Daily News

LNG Clean Slate

12/8/10 06:28 pm Updated: 12/8/10 10:29 pm

It’s time for a fresh start for Calais LNG. The company’s bid to develop a terminal for importing liquefied natural gas along the St. Croix River is in limbo. But it is a self-imposed limbo, arrived at through requests to delay a Board of Environmental Protection hearing on the project. BEP would do well to tell Calais LNG to go back to the drawing board.

There are larger issues at stake — what strategies Maine employs to address declining sources of oil and gasoline and how it embraces emerging energy sources. Though it is important that these policies be sound, there is an urgency to the process. Even if the federal government charts a clear way forward, states will be competing as producers and handlers. Maine’s challenge, as a likely exporter of electricity and pass-through for natural gas, will be to draw benefits from both.

The letters LNG first greeted Mainers in 2003 when a company proposed building a terminal in Harpswell. In a referendum that followed an emotional and community-dividing debate, residents defeated the plan. Other sites in Casco Bay were reported to be under consideration, but nothing firm materialized. Then news broke that an advance firm for an LNG company was eyeing state-owned Sears Island for a terminal. After the battle in Harpswell, Gov. John Baldacci asserted that no community should have to allow a terminal over the objections of its residents. At an annual town meeting, Searsport residents voted to block any such terminal in their town.

After Harpswell and Searsport were off the board, LNG developers continued to explore possible sites along Maine’s coast, and five years ago, three proposals on Washington County’s Passamaquoddy Bay and St. Croix River were unveiled. Those proposals, under the corporate names Downeast LNG, Quoddy Bay LNG and Calais LNG, have languished for various reasons. Quoddy Bay LNG does not have any application pending before the state, nor does Downeast LNG, though it has applications before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Calais LNG has been in the headlines for requesting extensions of BEP’s hearing schedule since July. The latest request — the fourth — seeks a postponement until mid-January. The company no longer holds a valid option to purchase or lease the land it wants to use for the project, and it has not provided BEP with evidence of financial backing. These two failures should compel the board to declare the application dead in the water. Calais LNG, if it is able to pull together its plans, can then return with a fresh application.

While private enterprises are free to consider such projects, the state could take a much more active role in identifying appropriate locations for LNG terminals. Passamaquoddy Bay may not be the best location, as opponents have noted. Beyond environmental and marine considerations, the best location also would be appropriate for a consumer of the fuel, perhaps to produce electricity.

The energy world is changing fast. Maine can’t afford to watch it pass by.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

ENERGY: Calais LNG application remains in limbo

12/7/10 09:45 pm Updated: 12/7/10 09:48 pm
By Sharon Kiley Mack
Bangor Daily News

MACHIAS, Maine — The status of the proposed Calais Liquefied Natural Gas facility at Red Beach remains in limbo, as state and federal officials react to the company’s loss of its land lease and its request for an extension of time on its permit applications.

Citing complex financial negotiations, CLNG recently asked the state Board of Environmental Protection for an extension to Jan. 15. CLNG originally asked for the process to be expedited but has since asked for five time extensions.

Meanwhile, interested and affected parties, including the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, have been weighing in against extending the permitting process.

In a letter to CLNG dated Dec. 3, FERC’s director of Office of Energy Projects gave CLNG 10 days to provide information on its land lease and financial status.

Jeff Wright wrote to CLNG that his office “will be assessing whether it remains appropriate for the commission to continue to process your application.”

On the state level, BEP analyst Cindy Bertocci said Tuesday that BEP chairman Susan Lessard is still assessing CLNG’s situation and the letters written by intervenors.

These include objections by a number of groups who feel that CLNG has had plenty of time to prepare and that the company was less than truthful when it lost its land lease Sept. 1 and failed to notify either FERC or the BEP.

Maintaining an option, title or interest in property is a requirement for both the state and federal application processes.

Robert Godfrey of Save Passamaquoddy Bay, which objects to any LNG facility on the bay,

Sunday, December 5, 2010

BUSINESS: Calais LNG reaches another "Tipping Point"

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Cursed by their own rush to push through applications with the Maine Board of Environmental Protection and the FERC, Calais LNG LLC has lost their principal investor Goldman Sachs and the option on the land at Devil's Head where their terminal was to be built. While deadlines have been extended numerous times to accommodate this well-connected company, new deadlines set by both agencies may finally determine the future of this proposed development.

It seems likely that Calais LNG is in a state of chaos since reporters seem unable to make contact with key staff, their website still shows Goldman Sachs as their principal investor and the last update on their home page was January 27, 2010. As one wise investor said, "When the lawns are untended ... beware."

If you are interested in the history up to now, this is available at or follow the links below.

Calendar > 2010 December
Dec 13 — FERC deadline for Calais LNG to provide a schedule for re-establishing TRI and financial capacity.

Documents > Environment & NEPA-related > Maine Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) > LNG proposal — Calais LNG > Letters > 2010 December
Dec 2
Calais LNG to BEP, admitting the applicant's lack of TRI and financial capacity
Dec 3
Maine State Chamber of Commerce comments on Calais LNG delay
Roosevelt Campobello International Park comments on Calais LNG delay

Maine LNG Terminal Development Failure History> 2005–2010 > City of Calais > Location: Calais Village of Red Beach > Developer: Calais LNG Project Co. > Anti-LNG Organizations: Save Passamaquoddy Bay 3-Nation Alliance > Results
2010 Aug 31 — Calais LNG failed to renew its option to purchase the land required for its proposed terminal by this deadline, losing title, right, or interest (TRI) required for Maine and FERC permitting;however, at the Sep 15 Board of Environmental Protection meeting regarding the project, the company failed to inform the BEP of this lapse.
2010 Nov 17 — Owners of the land required for Calais LNG's terminal notified the BEP that Calais LNG had not renewed its option to purchase upon expiring on Aug 31; meaning, Calais LNG no longer holds the required TRI for state permitting.
2010 Nov 23 — Calais LNG wrote to the BEP that if the BEP were to recommence the permitting process, the applications would be appropriately and summarily dismissed, due to lack of financial capacity and TRI.
2010 Dec 3— FERC wrote to Calais LNG, indicating FERC's awareness of Calais LNG's lack of financial capacity and TRI. FERC demanded Calais LNG provide a schedule by Dec 13 to when the company would secure TRI and financial capacity.

BEP Hearing Schedules > Calais LNG project BEP Hearing Schedule > 2010 July 19–23

[Historical information added]
2010 Jul 13 — Calais LNG notified the BEP that the company's state permits were incomplete,requesting delay of the permit hearings.
2010 Jul 14 — The BEP granted Calais LNG's request to delay the hearings.
2010 Jul 21 — Calais LNG indicated it had lost its financial partner, GS Power Holdings, a subsidy of Goldman Sachs.
2010 Aug 31 — Calais LNG failed to renew its option to purchase the land required for its proposed terminal, losing Title, Right, or Interest (TRI) in the land. TRI is required for Maine (and FERC) permitting.
2010 Nov 17 — Owners of the land required for Calais LNG's terminal notified the Maine Board of Environmental Protection that Calais LNG had not renewed its option to purchase upon expiring on 2010 Aug 31; meaning, Calais LNG no longer holds the required TRI for state permitting.

FERC > FERC LNG Project Review Process > eLibrary Dockets > eLibrary Docket Comment Submissions >Formal Filing Docket Comment Submissions > Calais LNG — CP10-31 & CP10-32 > 2010 > December

> Dec 3
Filed By: Save Passamaquoddy Bay — Requesting FERC dismiss Calais LNG's permits for failing to have the requred TRI and financial capacity. Issued By: FERC OFFICE OF ENERGY PROJECTS — Demanding that by Dec 13, Calais LNG provide a schedule for re-establishing TRI and financial capacity.

LNG Developers > Developer #3: "Calais LNG Project Company LLC"
> Aliases
Updated North East Energy Development (NEED)
> Partners in Calais LNG Project Co. and/or North East Energy Development LLC
Updated partnership information

News Stories & Editorial > Dec 4 [For faster page loading, go to our Latest News page.]
US Natural Gas Production Foils LNG Imports
LNG exports from US a real possibility; hurdles remain (Dec 5)

Media Credit:

Thursday, November 25, 2010

CREATURES: Any smart animals around the Bay of Fundy?

Find out here!

20 Smartest Animals in the World
Posted on November 15, 2010 by admin

Are parrots really smarter than a 3-year-old child? Do pigs really sing to their young? Do elephants really bury their dead and visit the graves of their relatives? Humans have always considered ourselves the smartest creatures on Earth, but new research has revealed that other animals are much smarter than we ever thought possible. Here are the 20 smartest animals in the world: More here ...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sister Blog "Fundy Whale" Honored

No videos or pictures in your ILQW email? See them at

Our sister blog "Fundy Whale" has been chosen as one of the "Top 101 Blogs to Inspire You To Protect Endangered Species". 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

AQUACULTURE: Salmon farmers temporarily allowed use of pesticide

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Fishermen complain that deltamethrin not only kills sea lice, but lobsters and other crustaceans. (Photo: Alexandra Morton)
Monday, October 25, 2010, 02:00 (GMT + 9)

New Brunswick (NB) has obtained permission from Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency for fishers to use a restricted pesticide against sea lice in Atlantic salmon farms as an emergency use between 15 October and 31 December 2010.

The main chemical ingredient of the pesticide Alphamax is deltamethrin, which some worry will kill lobsters and other crustaceans in addition to the sea lice. Lobster fishers were therefore dismayed by Health Canada’s decision.

The farmed salmon industry intends to begin the use of Alphamax in the Bay of Fundy this week on farmed fish infested by sea lice.

Health Canada said Alphamax treatments can be used only on tarped cages or contained areas also known as well boats. The salmon is placed in the boats before being bathed in a concentration of Alphamax and then transferred back to the cages with the bath water.

The industry ideally wishes to be allowed to apply a rotation of pesticides so the sea lice do not get a chance to become tolerant to any of the particular chemicals, said Nell Halse of the Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association, reports CBC News.

"That whole process, from our farmers' point of view, takes too long," she explained. "We needed these treatments, a whole suite of them, in the spring when sea lice first started showing up on our farms.”

"If we'd had three to four different treatments that we could rotate around to deal with the different stages of sea lice, we would've been in good shape last spring," she added.

But the industry has been having a difficult time trying to contain an especially burdensome sea lice infestation due to the high ocean temperatures in the summer. Health Canada’s approval of the use of Alphamax in the farms followed an extended risk assessment, Halse told.

Meanwhile, the Traditional Fisheries Coalition made a verbal request to the federal organisation to suspend the use of chemicals in the Bay of Fundy, reports The Telegraph-Journal.

"All treatments need to stop given that the lobster are at a very critical point and that the juveniles in the water are everywhere ... this isn't acceptable," said Melanie Sonnenberg, project manager of the Grand Manan Fishermen's Association, which belongs to the Coalition.

Further, Matthew Abbott, a member of the Fundy Baykeeper Project, believes the industry is to blame for its sea lice troubles because they are linked to the long-term use of pesticides in the farms. Consequently, implementing more chemicals is counterproductive.

"I think it goes to show that the problem isn't being solved," he said. "Instead of funding sustainable practices that don't lead to these massive sea lice outbreaks, they just keep adding new chemicals."

By Natalia Real

AQUACULTURE: Fish farms ask for another study on pesticide

Lobster TrapImage via WikipediaLast Updated: Friday, October 29, 2010 | 12:21 PM AT Comments26Recommend11
CBC News

Lobsters were found dead after being exposed to a pesticide that is being used to battle sea lice in fish farms. (CBC)

The Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association is asking Environment Canada to launch a second study on lobster exposure to deltamethrin in the Bay of Fundy.

The chemical is the active ingredient in the pesticide Alphamax, which had been approved for use for a limited time on fish farms in New Brunswick.

Earlier this week the federal department shut down use of the pesticide in open fish farm cages after some lobsters died on the first day of a trial.

Environment Canada officials carried out their own study in which they released lobsters in a tarped cage undergoing pesticide treatment, then towed the lobsters through the water as the pesticide dissipated.

Some lobsters died in the trial, and as a result the federal department halted the use of Alphamax treatments in open water.

Pamela Parker, the executive director of the Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association, said the test scenario they put the lobsters through isn't realistic.

"I was frankly shocked that they put lobster directly in the net pen, and not surprised they died," Parker said.

As well, Parker said, the lobsters weren't properly assessed for their health.

This development comes just days after groups from new Brunswick and Nova Scotia came together to form the Atlantic Coalition for Aquaculture Reform.

While the pesticide can no longer be used in the salmon cages, Environment Canada is still allowing Alphamax treatments of farmed fish to be done in contained areas called well boats.

Scientists with the provincial government have also been monitoring the tests and the use of the pesticide.

Matthew Abbott, a spokesman for the Fundy Baykeeper, an environmental organization, said he's concerned about the effects on smaller lobsters, considering the result of the testing.

"If large adult lobster are killed by this, one can imagine what it can do to lobster larvae," Abbott said.

The fish farmers association wants Environment Canada to try the experiment again by placing lobsters in a more realistic scenario, underneath and around the cages during treatment.

There's no word on whether the federal department might grant that request.

Read more:

ENVIRONMENT:Bay of Fundy's Grindstone Island becomes Nature Preserve

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Grindstone Island now a nature preserve

Published Saturday October 30th, 2010


A historic partnership between Nature Trust of New Brunswick, the Parish of Sackville and the Anglican Diocese of Fredericton has ensured the preservation of Grindstone Island, the only island in the upper Bay of Fundy and a bird sanctuary, for generations to come.

The creation of the Grindstone Island Nature Preserve will be announced officially today at the Cape Enrage Nature Preserve during the annual meeting of the Nature Trust of New Brunswick.

The 50-acre island that once served as an important stone quarry for building projects as far away as Moncton and acts as site of an important lighthouse station is also recognized as ecologically unique. The island is recognized internationally as a component of the Shepody Bay Important Bird Area, the Shepody Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network and the Shepody Wetland of International Significance.

It serves a nesting area for the peregrine falcon population that has been restored to the Bay of Fundy and home to the largest great blue heron colony in the province of New Brunswick as well as a small colony of nesting eider ducks, breeding herring gull, great black backed gull and double-crested cormorant, said wildlife biologist Colin MacKinnon.

The partnership comes after years of negotiation and discussion to conclude with a conservation easement agreement with the Nature Trust that requires development of a management plan to monitor the fragile environment and set limits on activities on the island.

A portion of the island is already protected by Environment Canada's Canadian Wildlife Service and the adjacent Shepody National Wildlife Area.The Parish of Sackville retains ownership of the island.

"From the beginning of our negotiations with the Nature Trust, the Parish of Sackville was motivated by the concept of stewardship. The Parish took the view that stewardship takes many forms and that we are called to be active in environmental preservation as well as the pastoral, social justice and spiritual work with which the Church is more frequently associated," said Reverend Canon Kevin Stockall.

Monday, November 1, 2010

ENERGY: Sackville not shutting door on oil and gas

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Detail of Tower for drilling horizontally into...Image via WikipediaBy Katie Tower, Transcontinental Media

Source: The Sackville Tribune, October 29, 2010

[SACKVILLE, NS] — Sackville may have denied a gas exploration company the rights to drill on municipal-owned land but that doesn’t mean town officials are willing to close the door on other opportunities that could come their way if the industry is successful in other parts of the region.

Councillor Merrill Fullerton said the town needs to be ready to take advantage of the benefits of an oil and gas exploration sector that is about to emerge strong in the province.

Responding to residents’ concerns over comments made last month by Sackville’s director of economic development, who commented that the town needs to position itself for oil and gas industry development, Fullerton said the municipality has no intention of targeting the sector itself but should be open to other possibilities.

“There’s certainly no one on this council who is advocating for drilling or processing,” he said. “But what we do need to understand, as a community, is the economic spin-offs that could come from this. We’re not going to bury our heads in the sand.”

Although Petroworth Resources Inc., a Toronto-based exploration company, officially confirmed this month that they will not test for natural gas deposits on town-owned land, Fullerton said the company has obtained 159 permits to conduct seismic testing in areas surrounding the community.

He pointed out that there could be plenty of benefits for local firms and contractors, who could provide all types of services and maintenance work, if natural gas is found in Tantramar.

“We can sit back and pretend that we want nothing to do with the industry but I think we’d be doing a great disservice if we did.”

Fullerton noted that the oil and gas industry is a sector that could create employment and increase the tax base in the municipality and shouldn’t be overlooked as an economic development opportunity.

“This supply chain is quite large and we need to understand the opportunities that come with that.”

Councillor Virgil Hammock agreed with Fullerton, noting that councillors are certainly concerned over the drilling process used to mine for natural gas, but they need to be open-minded if they want to benefit from any potential finds.

“I do have problems with the industry and the fracking that’s going to happen outside our community,” he said. “But we can’t completely close our minds to what’s going on around us.”

Sunday, October 31, 2010

ENVIRONMENT: Upper Fundy land returned to saltmarsh

Anyone living in upper Bay of Fundy is quite aware that large tracts of our coastal land are currently protected from tidal inundation by dykes. The original dykes were built by Acadian settlers over 350 years ago to convert salt water marshes to farm land.

Although these converted salt water marshes or "dykelands" remain some of the region's most fertile agricultural land, much of it today is underutilized: 15% of dykeland in Nova Scotia and 41% of dykeland in New Brunswick is no longer being farmed. 

It's estimated that 85% of the saltmarshes in the Bay of Fundy were lost due to dyking. With the pressures of climate change and rising sea levels, there certainly appears to be case to be made returning some of these unused dykelands to the Bay as salt marshes.

Ducks Unlimited launched an interesting project this week in upper Bay of Fundy: it intentionally returned 16 hectares of farmland to saltmarsh and will closely monitor how the restored saltmarsh can act as a buffer to rising sea levels and storm surges. It's also expected that salt marshes may ease the pressure on remaining dykes. 'Twill be interesting to watch...


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

AQUACULTURE: New Coalition squares off with Fundy aquaculture operators

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New coalition wants major changes to aquaculture methods Published Tuesday October 26th, 2010


Fishermen, environmentalists and coastal residents on the Bay of Fundy have banded together to voice serious concerns about the impacts of fish farming on marine life.

Scott Dougan/NB Images
The Atlantic Coalition for Aquaculture Reform is calling for wholesale change in the way the industry operates.

The Atlantic Coalition for Aquaculture Reform is calling for wholesale change in the way the aquaculture industry in the region operates to lessen its impact on traditional fisheries and the marine environment.

"Large-scale salmon aquaculture in the Bay of Fundy is known to have a negative impact on the water through excess waste, fish feces and excess food with antibiotics and colour," said Matthew Abbott, project co-ordinator with Fundy Baykeeper.

The current sea lice outbreak in New Brunswick salmon cages has also added toxic pesticides to the mix, he said.

"We're concerned about the impact these pesticides have on traditional fisheries and the marine environment," Abbott said.

The coalition aims to raise awareness about the possible side effects of fish farming and encourage sustainable reform in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

"We're not trying to sink the aquaculture industry," he said. "But we can't allow it to operate to the detriment of the marine environment and others on the water."

Pamela Parker, executive director of the Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association, said she welcomes the collaboration of stakeholders.

"We have been operating in the Bay of Fundy for over 30 years," she said. "During that time we have managed to work closely with the traditional fishing sector, tourism and others that share our working waterfront and we're proud to be recognized as world leaders in sustainable and environmentally responsible salmon production."

Parker said there is a misconception that the stocking density of salmon is too high.

"We grow our fish in the most natural way possible," she said. "Salmon, as any fish, are schooling animals and we farm them in a way that they are comfortable with because salmon simply will not grow if they are stressed. So our stocking density is based on fish health and environmental sustainability."

"We're criticized for being too intensive, but the entire production capacity of our industry would fit into an area about the size of Yankee stadium," she said.

Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Mike Olscamp said the traditional fisheries and aquaculture industry are both important to the Bay of Fundy region and to the province's economy as a whole.

"We are committed to ensuring that the two sectors operate in a manner that supports a sustainable co-existence," he said on Monday. "I have had the opportunity to speak to representatives from both industries and it is paramount that channels stay open so that we can continue the dialogue as we move forward."

According to the Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries, the aquaculture industry generates an estimated $159 million in farm gate sales a year. There are a total of 95 fish farms in the province that provide up to one in five jobs in the Fundy Iles - more than 1,500 positions in total.

Melanie Sonnenberg with the Grand Manan Fishermen's Association said the fish farming industry is hurting traditional fishing. Last year the association reported dead and dying lobsters in their traps to Environment Canada.

"We would like to all co-exist," she said. "But if they need to use toxic chemicals to continue to survive that is a tremendously big problem."

Sea lice outbreaks do require the use of pesticides, Parker said, but she said New Brunswick companies only use chemicals that have been approved for use.

Use of the illegal pesticide cypermethrin found recently in the Bay of Fundy is under investigation.

Last week Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency to approve deltamethrin, sold commercially as AlphaMax, to kill sea lice in floating salmon cages delighted fish farmers but angered traditional fishermen.

The move flew in the face of a request by the Traditional Fisheries Coalition, including the Grand Manan Fishermen's Association, to suspend the use of chemicals in the bay.

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