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Aquaculture infrastructure damaged in Jordan Bay: Residents find it hard to believe fish would not have been lost

A photo taken on Jan. 10 shows the damage to one the finfish pens in Jordan Bay that was damaged in the Jan. 4 weather bomb.
A photo taken on Jan. 10 shows the damage to one the finfish pens in Jordan Bay that was damaged in the Jan. 4 weather bomb. - Contributed

JORDAN BAY, N.S. – Residents in Eastern Shelburne County are “finding it hard to believe” there was no loss of fish from the Kelly Cove salmon farm in Jordan Bay, given the damage sustained to the site during the Jan. 4 weather bomb.

“With the damage that’s washed ashore here it would be hard to believe there would be no loss of fish,” said West Green Harbour resident Ricky Hallett.

“After the storm 17 of the 20 cages had the bird nets off of them. From the shore you could see huge structural damage to the site,” said Hallett. “For the community its hard to believe no fish escaped or died just from the volume of material that came ashore and looking at the state of the site itself after the storm.”

Another area resident, Kathaleen Milan, in email correspondence, says she witnessed much debris after the storm, so much so that she thought at the very least a boom should be constructed around the entire site to keep all of the debris from floating out to sea or washing ashore.

Chuck Brown, Communications Manager for Cooke Aquaculture, parent company of Kelly Cove, confirmed there was damage to the aquaculture infrastructure at one of the grow out finfish sites in Jordan Bay but he says there was no loss of fish.

“Some of our infrastructure was damaged, however, the containment systems were not breached and we did not experience any escapes,” said Brown via email.

“Repair work and cleanup – both in the water and on shore – is continuing and, as part of our Farm Management Plan, we are in constant communication with the Provincial Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture,” he added. “We have also provided updates to residents via a Community Liaison Committee. We are following our Farm Management Plan and repairs are progressing well.”

Both Nova Scotia Environment and N.S. Fisheries ands Aquaculture have visited the site, said Rachel Boomer, spokesperson for the environment department.

Environment staff visited the site by boat on Jan. 8 to determine the extent of the damage, she said, and whether there was any violation of regulations.

“On Wednesday, Jan. 10, Fisheries and Aquaculture staff did an overview of all the mainland finfish sites by helicopter. On Tuesday, Jan. 16, DFA staff – including a veterinarian – did a follow-up visit, again by boat,” said Boomer.

Boomer said N.S. Environment holds the legal authority to regulate.

“Our investigation showed no evidence that regulations were breached,” said Boomer. “There are regulations for all companies to report breaches, damage to equipment and mortalities and there are serious consequences for not reporting. Monitoring of the company’s activities to repair the damaged site and secure all gear will continue until complete.”

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:

FISH LOSS STORY FLUCTUATES LIKE THE WEATHER

AQUACULTURE DISASTER

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