Grieg hope renews on Canada megaproject

William Stoichevski

Grieg Seafarms’ USD250 million Placentia Bay salmon-growing project — the largest in Canada with planned capacity of 30,000 tons of harvested fish — has been given a new lease on life, after Environment Minister Eddie Joyce agreed to launch a new EIS, adding that the Court of Appeal will review it’s earlier decision to stop the project.

“The Court of Appeal will review that decision, and the outcome may have implications for the future interpretation of the Environmental Protection Act,” Mr. Joyce said.

In July 2017, Grieg NL Nursery Ltd. and Grieg Seafarms Ltd. could point to the results of outsourced environmental consulting that showed, “No significant (environmental) impact” in the project. Those results will likely form a basis for the new appeal.

The Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador had sided with the environmentalist Atlantic Salmon Federation, when the group earlier in 2017 suggested land-based production plant had not been included in a 567-page EIS Grieg long-ago submitted with expert help. The build plan included site details for land-based juvenile production. Wellboats were part of the production plan.

“Grieg NL will work with the Government … and its assigned environmental assessment committee to develop assessment guidelines,” a company statement said. The need for new guidelines echo the remarks reportedly made by the Mayor of Marystown, who said unclear rules were holding up investment in Placentia Bay’s planned hatchery, nursery and juvenile fish production.

Federal agencies based in Ottawa have, meanwhile, just finished revamping Canada’s aquaculture laws to “streamline” the process of approving projects. Unfortunately, the overhaul coincides with   federal and provincial ministry reorganizations.

“Grieg NL has been advised by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency that based on their review of the project … that an environmental assessment was not required,” a company statement said in July 2017. It was said an EIS “had not been designated” for the Placentia Bay Aquaculture Project.

On-hold: model of the proposed land-based smolt facility for Placentia Bay

Adding to suspicion government agencies have taken a stance against salmon, several product recalls were issued this past week from different manufactures sourcing different salmon from coast-to-coast. Botulism “fears” rather than occurrences of bacteria or illness were the stated reason for the recalls, suggesting federal agencies might be in disarray over which salmon science to believe.

Grieg’s plans to start with the building of land-based facilities worth USD45 to USD60 million are now at least a year behind schedule. The Bergen-based company has offered to work on a new EIS while denying the need for a new one and preparing for court.

On hold is a large, USD42 million Aqua Maof RAS facility to produce 1.8 million land-based smolt and juvenile production of up to 1.5 kilogram. Held offshore up is the building of 11 Aqualine sea sites once thought to be “progressing well” where licensing and permits were required.


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