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Letter: Where is the benefit from fish farms?

Fish farm cages.
Fish farm cages.

None

There is a big error in your reporting $139 million in revenue to Nova Scotia from production of farmed salmon in 2013. The NS Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture website statistics show $39 million. For sure, to those of us who are unaccustomed to dealing with such big amounts, a discrepancy of a hundred million is not even meaningful. Even $39 million is an incomprehensible number. 

So, let's apply some healthy skepticism and Grade 6 math to the data and try to enhance our understanding. $39 million is a gross revenue figure. This is clear when you divide the  $39,000,000 total by the tonnage of fish produced (6,404,917 kilograms). The value per kilogram is close to $6. That would be a pretty accurate wholesale price for salmon over the 2013 market year.

...but government and industry are claiming a $39 million benefit to Nova Scotia. Where is it? 

The smolts are hatched and reared in NB, trucked here from NB by an NB trucker. Cage engineering and component construction is carried out by NB firms, feed is produced in NB, harvest boats come over with a specialist crew from NB, and the harvested fish go to NB for processing and marketing and pocketing of profits. It would not be surprising if New Brunswick also claims a big fraction of the $39 million as GDP. Is this called double-dipping, or just smoke and mirrors?

The actual benefit to Nova Scotia is in the labour required to feed fish and maintain sites. These are low-wage dangerous jobs. When automated feeding is installed, layoffs are common.

I'll write to our editor again next week on production challenges and how many sites might be required to bring the harvest numbers up and justify a processing plant on this side of the Bay of Fundy. In the meantime, enjoy some lobster for supper and celebrate an industry that does belong to Nova Scotia.

Gloria Gilbert

Shelburne County

 

There is a big error in your reporting $139 million in revenue to Nova Scotia from production of farmed salmon in 2013. The NS Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture website statistics show $39 million. For sure, to those of us who are unaccustomed to dealing with such big amounts, a discrepancy of a hundred million is not even meaningful. Even $39 million is an incomprehensible number. 

So, let's apply some healthy skepticism and Grade 6 math to the data and try to enhance our understanding. $39 million is a gross revenue figure. This is clear when you divide the  $39,000,000 total by the tonnage of fish produced (6,404,917 kilograms). The value per kilogram is close to $6. That would be a pretty accurate wholesale price for salmon over the 2013 market year.

...but government and industry are claiming a $39 million benefit to Nova Scotia. Where is it? 

The smolts are hatched and reared in NB, trucked here from NB by an NB trucker. Cage engineering and component construction is carried out by NB firms, feed is produced in NB, harvest boats come over with a specialist crew from NB, and the harvested fish go to NB for processing and marketing and pocketing of profits. It would not be surprising if New Brunswick also claims a big fraction of the $39 million as GDP. Is this called double-dipping, or just smoke and mirrors?

The actual benefit to Nova Scotia is in the labour required to feed fish and maintain sites. These are low-wage dangerous jobs. When automated feeding is installed, layoffs are common.

I'll write to our editor again next week on production challenges and how many sites might be required to bring the harvest numbers up and justify a processing plant on this side of the Bay of Fundy. In the meantime, enjoy some lobster for supper and celebrate an industry that does belong to Nova Scotia.

Gloria Gilbert

Shelburne County

 

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