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Tide Turning?

This from South Coast Today


Cooke gives up on Shelburne fish farm


“In a surprising announcement on Friday by the federal government, Cooke Aquaculture subsidiary Kelly Cove Salmon (KCS) has thrown in the towel in the controversial application for a aquaculture license within yards of McNutts Island in Shelburne Harbour, following Cooke's admission that there is suspicion of the incurable and destructive Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) virus at one of the firm’s several industrial farm sites in the harbour. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has placed quarantine on the suspect site, but Cooke, a New-Brunswick-based, $500 million, multinational corporation, has refused to disclose the location of the deadly virus.


In a news release Sunday from Mayday Shelburne County and Friends of Shelburne Harbour, it was disclosed that the federal employee overseeing the environmental review for three mega-sites being proposed by Cooke told Mayday that “KCS has confirmed that they are no longer pursuing site 1357 (Middle Head)”, near the eastern shore of McNutt's Island and 2.5 kilometres of another large site with a capacity of one million fish. Uncharacteristic of a company known for its aggressive public relations programme, Cooke has given no public notice of the decision and it does not appear on their web site. Cooke PR vice president Nell Halse declined to answer any questions from SCT, saying in an email that she would not elaborate on Cooke's plans not to pursue the lease 'at this time', except to say "we are abandoning our plans."


This could well be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Earlier today Carl Purcell of the Nova Scotia Salmon Association told me that he wrote to Cooke Aquaculture proposing that they discuss differences with a view to improving fish farming methods. Cooke’s response simply stated “If you are against us, you are against aquaculture.”


The company already has the support of both federal and provincial governments so it has no motivation to improve. But fish farm opponents have escalated the importance and scope of this issue to a point where governments might lose more votes through their support of this industry than can be gained by creation of a few jobs. Maybe the tide is turning.


The February 20, 2012 Chronicle Herald has an article titled “Eastern Shore group wants fish farm ban”. MLA Jim Boudreau seems to realize that there is rough sailing ahead for his government, because the article quotes him as saying "I don’t want to see, and I will not support, any initiative that is going to negatively impact upon existing fish stocks. But, at the same time, I think it is important for us to realize that this industry does co-exist in the province and maybe we’ve got to really try to find ways and talk to one another and get the information we need so informed decisions are made."


Why our governments continue to drive through this mine field is perplexing. They could partner with volunteer groups to create a popular sport fishing Mecca in Guysborough County that would support our tourism industry as it once did. Are governments afraid the aquaculture industry might complain?


Donnie Benoit of Merland caught a gorgeous 10 lb. sea-run brown trout last year somewhere in eastern Nova Scotia. The fly he used is a streamer that he created and named in honor of his late wife, Donna. The fly has been given a well-deserved retirement, but Donnie allowed us to photograph it.


Donna Special


Hook:               2X long streamer hook, size 2

Thread:           Black

Tail:                 Red wool, heavy

Body:               Flat silver tinsel, tapered

Throat:            Brown hen hackle

Wing:               White bucktail over moose hair, both sparse     

Head:              Kelly green wool behind black thread


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