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NDP calls for transition to closed-containment aquaculture

For immediate release

October 3, 2019

NDP calls for transition to closed-containment aquaculture

“Something stinks and it’s not just the rotting fish,” said NDP Fisheries Critic Jim Dinn.

Dinn is calling on the provincial government to transition to closed-containment, land-based aquaculture for finfish. Dinn says government should suspend future open-net sea pen finfish aquaculture licences and develop a plan to phase out current projects.

The most recent CBC report on the Northern Harvest salmon die-off on the south coast exposed that the event was much larger and more serious than originally reported and emphasizes the serious threats posed by open-net finfish aquaculture.

“It’s clear now that Minister Byrne downplayed the enormity of this catastrophe,” said Dinn. “The images of boats pumping fish slurry into the ocean are disturbing.”

Last week, the NDP Caucus called for an independent review of aquaculture regulations and for legislation to enforce them. The latest news demonstrates the need for the government to transition to closed-containment, land-based aquaculture. Closed-containment provides a physical barrier between the fish and the sea so that sea lice cannot enter, fish cannot escape, and warm water, when it occurs, can be cooled.

Dinn says it’s reckless and irresponsible for the Fisheries Minister to encourage operators in British Columbia to relocate to NL.

“It’s time,” said Dinn, “for Minister Byrne to stop pretending that open-net pen aquaculture for finfish is based on science, when we know it’s motivated by profit. It’s time for the aquaculture industry to stop promoting the fiction that millions of fish in sea cages being fed pellets is somehow more natural than being raised on land. It’s time for government to follow the lead of their federal counterparts and BC and transition to a closed-containment, land-based finfish aquaculture model that is sustainable and based on science.”

In addition to the environmental benefits, the NDP believes that transitioning to land-based aquaculture for finfish will protect our wild fisheries, create construction jobs, and provide NL the opportunity to be an innovative leader in this technology.

“Closed-containment will provide more sustainability and predictability for both processors and fish plant workers,” Dinn said.


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

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