Broad-Based Coalition Forming to Fight the Installation
CORNWALLIS PARK, NS, June 21, 2016 /CNW/ - A group calling for a halt to the installation of tidal turbines in the Bay of Fundy pending further environmental assessments denounced a decision yesterday by the Nova Scotia government to allow the turbine installation to proceed.
Colin Sproul, a fifth-generation lobster fisherman and spokesperson for the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fisherman's Association, criticized the government approval, saying it is "the Environment Minister's job to protect the environment, not to rubber stamp energy projects."
The group has repeatedly voiced concerns that the installation of two five-story-tall, 1,000-ton steel turbines in the Bay of Fundy's environmentally-sensitive Minas Passage could wreak havoc on the Bay's marine life. Sproul said the plan was developed without consultation from key stakeholders and argued that the decision to place unshielded tidal turbines in the narrow Minas Passage will turn the turbines into "killing machines on the floor of the most fertile and ecologically sensitive region in Canada." Added Sproul: "It's an eco-disaster in the making."
Sproul described the Minas Passage as an environmental "no go zone" and said it should never have been given the green light as a turbine test site. The group believes the turbines will have a devastating impact on numerous at-risk species, as well as lobsters and large mammal species such as harbour porpoises and whales. The area is a warm-water breeding ground for lobster and other species, which together represent a $750 million per year industry.
The turbine installation is being driven by Cape Sharp Tidal, a joint venture between a Nova Scotia energy company, Emera, and OpenHydro, a company specializing in the manufacture and installation of marine turbines. OpenHydro is a subsidiary of DCNS, a multi-billion dollar, French-based naval defense and energy conglomerate.
The Bay of Fundy Inshore Fisherman's Association is spearheading a growing, broad-based coalition that involves fishing groups, environmental groups and First Nations communities concerned about the turbine installation. "We're not opposed to tidal power or renewable energy, but not at the cost of damaging the environment or destroying the natural resources that feed our families and contribute enormously to our economy," said Sproul. "The poorly thought out decision to place the turbines in the Minas Passage was done without conducting a proper assessment of the marine life in the Bay and the impact these turbines will have on this precious resource."
Sproul noted that the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans has already stated that the current assessment of marine life in the Passage is "grossly inadequate" and therefore any efforts to monitor environmental impact following the installation of the turbines will be largely ineffective without first conducting a proper baseline study.
About Bay of Fundy Inshore Fisherman's Association
The Bay of Fundy Inshore Fisherman's Association is the largest association of fishers in Nova Scotia, representing more than 175 small businesses along the Fundy Coast involved in the fishing industry. The Association has been recognized for its sustainable harvesting practices by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans as well as by numerous environmental organizations.
SOURCE Bay of Fundy Inshore Fisherman's Association
For further information: Colin Sproul, Spokesperson, Bay of Fundy Inshore Fisherman's Association, Email: [email protected], Tel: 905-251-2325