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Marine Institute not independent enough to investigate salmon die-off, Premier needs to get involved

For immediate release

October 11, 2019

Marine Institute not independent enough to investigate salmon die-off, Premier needs to get involved

The following is a statement from Jim Dinn, NDP Critic for Fisheries and the Environment and MHA for St. John’s Centre:

Is it independent, arms-length, or even appropriate, for one partner in the Liberal’s The Way Forward - On Aquaculture Sector Work Plan to ask a second partner to investigate a third partner?

That’s the question I’m asking in light of Minister Byrne’s announcement that he has engaged the Marine Institute to investigate the massive salmon die-off at the Mowi/Northern Harvest sea farms on the province’s south coast.

The Way Forward identifies the Fisheries and Marine Institute, Memorial University, as one of the partners of the sector work plan along with the Government of NL, the Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association, the Government of Canada, and the College of the North Atlantic.

According to The Way Forward, “The Aquaculture Sector Work Plan includes actions that each of the partners will take to achieve the collective goal of growing the aquaculture industry and stimulating new private sector employment.”

Compounding the problem, Dr. Cyr Couturier – Chair of the Marine Institute’s aquaculture programs, research scientist in its Centre for Aquaculture and Seafood Development – is, according to his staff bio, “a project leader on several research and development projects with partners in the shellfish and finfish culture industries in Newfoundland, and elsewhere.” Dr. Couturier is also a current board member of the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance.

Again, there are too many connections to the aquaculture industry for the Marine Institute to be considered an independent and arms-length investigator of the die-off.

The Minister is not demonstrating the leadership required to handle this debacle. It’s critical that the Premier step in, take action, and restore public trust in government’s ability to protect the marine environment and regulate a sustainable aquaculture industry.


For further information, contact Zaren Healey White, Director of Communications, NDP Caucus at 729-2137 (office), 693-9172 (cell), or

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