A broad-based coalition is calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to halt proposed changes to federal aquaculture regulations, warning they could damage the environment and existing businesses. The proposed amendments to the federal Fisheries Act would exempt the aquaculture industry from provisions that \"prohibit the release of deleterious substances into water frequented by fish.\"
Coalition members are worried the changes will result in pesticides routinely being dumped into the Bay of Fundy and remove Environment Canada\'s role in aquaculture activities, said spokeswoman Maria Recchia, the executive director of the Fundy North Fishermen\'s Association.
The coalition wrote an open letter to Harper on Tuesday, with 120 signatories, including business leaders, commercial and recreational fishing associations, scientists, lawyers and environmentalists.
\"In essence, in the end, we are going end up with the aquaculture being essentially self-regulated and self-monitored,\" said Recchia, who is based in southwestern New Brunswick. \"And I think we\'re going to have a much worse style of management than we have now and it\'s going to be a lot more problematic for the marine environment.\"
Stewart Lamont, owner of Tangier Lobster in Nova Scotia, agrees. \"The value of our industry is based on a pristine, non-polluted marine environment,\" Lamont said in a statement.
\"We have already dealt with the impacts of pesticides, and see federal fines levied on something that would now become legal. To have DFO authorize pollution from a coastal industry is simply baffling,\" he said.
[Source: CBC News. Full article]