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The Association for the Preservation of the Eastern Shore was formed on the evening of 17 February 2012 at the Lion's Club in Sheet Harbour, Nova Scotia, by more than 130 residents of the Eastern Shore who had come together to discuss their concerns about three open pen salmon farm proposals by Scottish company Loch Duart and its Canadian subsidiary, Snow Island Salmon.

Loch Duart/ Snow Island Salmon have applied to install large open pen salmon feedlots in Shoal Bay, Spry Harbour and Beaver Harbour on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia. (You can examine detailed information, plans and maps for all three of those proposals here:

Nearly two weeks earlier, on February 6, when representatives from the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture and managers of Loch Duart and Snow Island Salmon had presented their plans to the community in the only mandated community consultation meeting for all three licenses, more than 300 residents had packed the hall.  Many did not get to ask their questions; others did not feel that their concerns were appropriately addressed. When residents wanted to vote on whether to call for a halt to the granting of these licenses, the moderator refused to allow such a vote to take place. It was obvious to most people in the room that if citizens were going to be heard, they were going to have to organize themselves, educate themselves, and speak up loudly on their own behalf, because no one else was going to do that for them.

The Association for the Preservation of the Eastern Shore (APES) is an unusually broad-based organization consisting of hundreds of concerned residents and business people from a variety of sectors on the Eastern Shore, including the Sheet Harbour Chamber of Commerce, tourism operators, people in the building trades, fishermen and international marketers of lobster and other wild species, as well as representatives of various parks and wilderness groups. 

APES is concerned that the proposals by Snow Island Salmon/Loch Duart do not meet basic standards set out by the aquaculture industry itself in consultation with the provincial and federal governments (Stantec 2009, Hargrave 2002), and as a consequence, may put a number of existing and potentially healthier sustainable industries on the Easter Shore at risk.  Members of the organization are also concerned that an overwhelming number of peer-reviewed international and national scientific studies readily and repeatedly show a variety of serious environmental harms directly attributable to such poorly sited open pen finfish farms, yet provincial politicians and bureaucrats seem willfully to ignore such evidence, and to dismiss residents' concerns. Likewise, clear evidence does not seem to support aquaculture industry claims for jobs and community benefits; on the contrary, open pen finfish lots would seem likely to contribute to environmental degradatoin and net job losses.  (See "Where are the jobs" in the Aquaculture Chronicles for a summary of this problem:

APES has, since its formation in mid-February, held two well-attended public educational forums, written thousands of letters to Premier Dexter (who has, as yet, to answer), to Minister Belliveau, and to Eastern Shore MLAs Jim Boudreau and Sid Prest, as well as to officials at various federal and provincial licensing and review boards. The group's petition calling for a moratorium on the granting of open pen finfish feedlot licenses has more than 3100 signatures at this writing; its facebook group has more than 800 members, and they have joined, with more than 50 other groups from across the province in calling for a moratorium on the granting of further open pen finfish aquaculture licenses in the province of Nova Scotia.

The group has repeatedly urged politicians to take a precautionary approach towards open pen finfish aquaculture in Nova Scotia's waters.  APES' members believe that, as residents and business people on this shore, they can develop better, more sustainable employment opportunities in their communities than the high-risk low-wage prospects outlined by Snow Island/ Loch Duart. 

APES is not, however, anti-aquaculture.  As members of the group have repeatedly pointed out, Nova Scotia could clearly be a leader in the aquaculture industry, not a follower. APES thus supports appropriately sited closed pen aquaculture when 1) the communities affected have been properly consulted; 2) when stringent independent Environmental Assessments have been made; and 3) when the government’s own guidelines have been properly utilized.  Such a finfish aquaculture program could be environmentally sustainable, labour intensive and ahead of the curve of the market demand for healthy, sustainable seafood.  It would also address most concerns about harms to the environment and existing wild catch and tourism industries, and ensure that the pristine qualities of the Nova Scotia coast remain for future generations to enjoy.

Copyright APES 2012 Website by Ionsign Online