March 1st, 2020

Minister says municipal resolutions against aquaculture not being considered

BRIDGEWATER - Last week, Keith Colwell, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, told a legislature committee that the department is not giving any consideration to a series of resolutions adopted by municipal councils across the province which explicitly deny social license to companies wishing to pursue aquaculture projects in their communities.

“Municipal councils are the most direct form of democracy available to the people of Nova Scotia. For the Minister to discount these resolutions, which represent the views of people living in these communities, is simply wrong,” said Lisa Roberts, NDP Fisheries and Aquaculture Spokesperson. “Communities like Mahone Bay are trying to be very clear. Companies do not have social license to pursue aquaculture projects in that community.”

A Freedom of Information request received by the NDP Caucus shows that the government does not track the implementation of the recommendations from the Doelle-Lahey report on aquaculture.

“Social license and community input is a key pillar in the Doelle-Lahey report. The starting point for this conversation should have been the full implementation of the Doelle-Lahey recommendations, but the Liberals are cherry-picking from the report and are unable to show significant progress on its recommendations, such as the establishment of green, yellow, and red zones,” says Roberts. “People deserve better than a government that makes decisions that impact local communities without consulting them and listening to them.”

Mahone Bay, Digby, Queens and the Village Commission of Chester have all passed motions opposing aquaculture expansion in their waters. NDP Fisheries and Aquaculture Spokesperson Lisa Roberts will speak at a rally in Tantallon today against fish farms in St Margaret’s Bay.