Wrong to Compare Aquaculture to Agriculture

This is in response to a letter to the editor by Mark Lane, executive director of the N.L. Aquaculture Industry Association, where he is supporting the fish farms in the ocean, regardless of the damage they cause and I can understand why, that’s what he is getting paid for.

I too am a proud citizen of this province and grew up harvesting the ocean and the land and the two are as different as chalk and cheese, especially what has happened this year on the South Coast.

When farmers lose their crops due to drought or frost, it just goes back into the soil to further enrich it like the leaves or needles of the trees. When livestock such as pigs, cows and chickens die for whatever reason, they are buried into the earth, not causing a problem.

You have lumped seafood farmers all together, which is wrong. I come from an area of Notre Dame Bay which is the mussel capital of this island and has been in existence for a long time and provided much needed jobs in rural Newfoundland and Labrador. It is quite different from salmon farming, no pesticides, no sea lice, no intermingling with other species and doesn’t have to be fed other fish species. No piles of manure on the bottom of the ocean, in fact very little impact on the environment.

Without what I have seen from the news media (thank God for them), we would never have known what had happened.

I believe what has caused so much condemnation of the cleanup is the way it was handled. When you have huge pumps pumping out dead fish, some rotten, a lot of the fish that was soft and damaged was not going into the hold of the ships but was pumped overboard. This was the pink or red sludge going back into the ocean and destroying the beaches. When fat sticks to rock and sand, it is not easily removed. It will be years before we know the true damage to other life in the ocean in that area.

I am certainly not against fish farming. I believe we have to do it to feed a hungry world only because we have destroyed our ocean resources for the almighty dollar, but we have to do it in a way to protect our environment because if we don’t our children and grandchildren will later pay the price of our folly.

I would not have needed to write this letter if people like Mark Lane and owners of the sea farms and our fisheries minister, Gerry Byrne, had come out with the truth from the very beginning instead of feeding us a pile of bologna and blaming it on past governments.

That should be a lesson to our politicians, be honest with us and take the blame for your errors. We will respect you more and most of all protect our environment and it will protect us.


Wilfred Bartlett
Green Bay, N.L.


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