The following statement was issued today by the Honourable Gerry Byrne, Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources.
I am responding to comments from Opposition Leader Ches Crosbie from earlier today related to the recent mass salmon mortality at Northern Harvest Sea Farm sites on the south coast.
In 1988, under a previous Progressive Conservative administration, the federal-provincial Memorandum of Understanding for aquaculture was developed. Licensing conditions for aquaculture were also developed under a previous Progressive Conservative administration. Our government is committed to making the aquaculture industry safer and is reviewing and has implemented new policies and procedures, including strict regulations to compel companies to disclose disease and mortality events in a timely manner.
When Northern Harvest Sea Farms first reported the mass mortality event to the department and other stakeholders on September 3, the department pressed the company to disclose the event publicly. As a result, the department is changing regulations under the Aquaculture Act to compel aquaculture companies to disclose information publicly when a major mortality event occurs.
On October 2, the department arranged for an independent, third-party review of the recent salmon mass mortality event. The review will be conducted by Memorial University of Newfoundland’s Marine Institute, which is autonomous and operates at arms-length from government, a status enshrined and guaranteed under the Memorial University Act.
Despite Mr. Crosbie’s unfounded political attack, this administration is focused on solutions that strengthen policies and practices, and ensure public transparency is ever-present, reassuring the women and men in rural communities who make their living in aquaculture that together, we will overcome our present adversity.
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Fisheries and Land Resources