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Public shut out again in Fisheries Act changes


Changes to the Fisheries Act that the Liberals are trying to push through will be devastating for coastal communities and do not resemble at all the recommendations of an exhaustive panel study conducted by Doelle-Lahey.

The report, which supposedly was even supported by the marine-based fin-fish industry, acknowledged the many concerns of all the stakeholders and called for a complete overhaul of the regulatory system and a change of attitude in government whereby community concerns would be heard throughout the regulatory process.

The report also acknowledged that no trust would ever be built between communities and the industry and government, which has acted as one, unless the voice of Nova Scotians was heard.

Communities are again blocked out by this bill. The government is still promoting the industry with complete lack of regard for their regulatory role and the health of coastal communities.

The minister has called on lease holders of over 160 dormant sites to again make application without meaningful review and public participation. Many of these sites are not operating as they are failed experiments.

To add insult to injury, the government is proposing that the public has no right to know about fish health from the provincial government because they believe this would be a breach of business confidentiality rights.

We have the right to know how an industry impacts on the health of our communities, our water and the food we eat. You cannot grow healthy food in polluted harbours. And we cannot sustain a healthy lobster and tourism industry when our harbours are used as dumping grounds.

 

Wendy Watson Smith, Association for the Preservation of the Eastern Shore

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