The salmon farming centre that Grieg intends to develop in Newfoundland. (Image: Aqua Maof)
Grieg's USD 186 million aquaculture project faces new legal challenge
Wednesday, March 08, 2017, 01:20 (GMT + 9)
Conservation group Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) has appealed the Newfoundland and Labrador government’s decision to release Grieg's planned salmon hatchery from further environmental assessment.
Sister companies Grieg NL Nurseries and Grieg NL Seafarms presented a proposal to build a massive aquaculture industry in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, including what the company calls 'escape-proof' sea cages, CBC News reported.
However, court documents reveal that the federation has complained the project application did not include its on-land processing facility and has argued that the then-Environment and Climate Change Minister Perry Trimper should not have released the CAD 250-million (USD 186.7 million) project — in which the government is considering investing CAD 45 million (USD 33.6 million) — without an environmental impact statement.
Given these facts, the federation wants a Supreme Court judge to quash the decision.
Media sources consider that this legal challenge could send the aquaculture project “back to square one.”
For his part, Steve Sutton, the ASF's co-ordinator of community engagement, said that without the full project being included, all of the potential environmental impacts cannot be evaluated.
“Clearly it's not a full project description if they've put forward a project that has no way at the moment to get their fish processed and to market,” pointed out Sutton
"In this case, only the hatchery and grow-out facilities have been described," he added.
The ASF leader insisted that salmon in Placentia Bay have been assessed as 'threatened' by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Species in Canada, which, in his view, is rather concerning.
"One of the reasons cited by DFO as to why they're threatened is the aquaculture that's already on the south coast, so we're concerned about another aquaculture project, the largest one in Canada, coming in on top of that already-threatened population and the impact," stressed Sutton.
Meanwhile, Perry Power, Grieg's human resources manager, declined to respond to the lawsuit and said plans are moving ahead.
"We're still involved in the due-diligence process with the province and hoping to have a resolution of that soon," he concluded.