Environmentalist airs concerns to council about new fish farm rules

Campbell River environmentalist Leona Adams is raising the alarm over new fish farm regulations being proposed

Campbell River environmentalist Leona Adams is raising the alarm over new fish farm regulations that are being proposed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Adams wrote in a letter to council that the new Aquaculture Activities Regulations would, under sections 35 and 36 of the Fisheries Act, allow chemical deposits into the ocean.

“If mayor and council is to support allowing new fish farms, I request you also support the environment and all other industries that depend on our wild fish, by requesting the DFO not pass the proposed Aquaculture Activities Regulations,” Adams wrote.

Those regulations would enable “the deposit of products to control fish pathogens, pets and biofouling; the control of pathogens, pests and biofouling; the deposit of biochemical oxygen demanding matter; the installation, operation, maintenance, and decommissioning of an aquaculture facility; and the killing of fish for the purposes of fish pathogen, pest and biofouling control,” according to a Government of Canada Regulatory Impact Analysis statement.

That report also stipulates several conditions that such activities would be subject to, including that the deposit of any products to control fish pathogens, pests and biofouling occurs in the operation of an aquaculture facility and that “any drug must be prescribed by a veterinarian licensed in the province in which the drug is deposited” and that it be used “in compliance with any conditions specified under the Pest Control Products Act.”

Adams’ letter to council comes on the heels of city council endorsing Grieg Seafood’s application for two new fish farms.

Her letter was before council at its Feb. 10 meeting.

Coun. Charlie Cornfield said he would like some more clarity surrounding the proposed regulations.

“I tried wading through it,” said Cornfield, who previously worked with the provincial ministry of forests.

“I consider myself pretty good at reading governmentese, yet I found it very difficult and wanting a ‘Coles notes’ version of the regulations and what it means.

“I was confused after reading (Adams’) letter which expresses concerns over the proposed regulations and then reading the proposal as written by the government,” Cornfield added.

“Any help in guidance would be much appreciated.”

Mayor Andy Adams suggested council turn it over to city staff for interpretation.

Council agreed with the mayor’s recommendation and approved a motion to refer the Fisheries and Oceans report to the city’s environmental sustainability staff for investigation and a report back to council.