The proposed Placentia bay aquaculture project is suppose to use netting and gear that is ice proof, however the designer of the equipment says it’s never been tested for our ice conditions.
Here is what a long time resident of Placentia Bay has to say about ice. As we have proof now that farmed fish are mating with wild Salmon, one more farmed Salmon escape is too much. SPAWN believes land based aquaculture is the only viable option for Newfoundland.
The sea ice situation in Placenta Bay is a huge consideration. Many winters (not all, but most) the formation of local sea ice is a huge factor in Placentia Bay. It moves everything in its path like moorings and mobile gear and infrastructure goes with it. I have seen local wharves with substantial foundations shifted and often destroyed. Furthermore, there has been at least 5 years in the last 35 where the Labrador Current has taken huge bodies of Arctic sea ice and Labrador sea ice right down the coast, around Cape St. Mary’s and right up into Placentia Bay on the East side and then drifted out the Central Channel and out the Western Side of the Bay. Everything in its path like navigational buoys and mobile fishing gear that was not removed in time, went with it. Even more ominous within the large bodies of ice has been the famed ice bergs, which spare nothing in their path. An inordinate amount of resources are dedicated to removing oil installations from the path of icebergs in the oil fields off the East Coast of NL. Large and expensive ocean-going towing supply tugs are on constant standby to perform the duties of towing icebergs out of the path of oil installations. To think that aquaculture nets moored in Placentia Bay would not endure the same fate is the proverbial “head in the sand” syndrome. And, if a sea ice event starts to occur at any given period in the future in Placenta Bay, removing pens from the path of drifting sea ice and icebergs with millions of salmon contained in them is NOT an option. Guess what happens after that!
I have lived in the northern most section of Placentia Bay for the last 36 years in the community of North Harbour. I have stood witness to these effects. I have also been a professional Marine Traffic Regulator, stationed at one point in my career with the Canadian Coast Guard at Placentia Traffic in Argentia. It was my business to understand the effects of sea conditions brought on by wind, heavy seas, tides and currents and my training reinforced this. My experience in Placentia Bay tells me it is one of the most volatile sea bodies on the planet. Future climate change trends giving rise to hurricanes and its collateral effects in areas like Placentia Bay is another situations that layers an already ugly picture brought on my ice. The future of open pen aquaculture in Placentia Bay does not look good against this backdrop.