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POFO - Standing Committee

Fisheries and Oceans


Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on 
Fisheries and Oceans

Issue 14 - Evidence - November 20, 2014 - Afternoon Meeting

MONCTON, Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans met this day at 1:35 p.m. to study the regulation of aquaculture, current challenges and future prospects for the industry in Canada.

Senator Fabian Manning (Chair) in the chair.

The Chair: I would like to call the meeting to order and welcome you to the Senate Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans as we continue our study into the aquaculture industry in Canada. I would like to welcome our guests and thank them for taking the time to be here today with us.

Before we give the floor to our witnesses, senators will introduce themselves.

Senator Poirier: Senator Rose-May Poirier from New Brunswick.

Senator Stewart Olsen: Carolyn Stewart Olsen, New Brunswick.

Senator Meredith: Don Meredith, Ontario.

Senator Hubley: Senator Elizabeth Hubley, Prince Edward Island.

Senator Lovelace Nicholas: Senator Lovelace Nicholas from New Brunswick.

The Chair: I understand that our witnesses have some opening remarks. Please introduce yourselves first.

Thierry Chopin, Professor of Marine Biology, University of New Brunswick, NSERC Canadian Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture Network: Thierry Chopin from the University of New Brunswick in Saint John.

Jamey Smith, Executive Director, Huntsman Marine Science Centre: Jamey Smith, Executive Director of the Huntsman Marine Science Centre in St. Andrews, New Brunswick.

Mr. Smith: Good afternoon, everybody, and thank you very much for this opportunity to participate in the discussion today. Prior to the science centre, I served a four-year term working with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in Ottawa as the Director of Certification and Sustainability Reporting within the Aquaculture Management Directorate. Prior to that, I have also served as the Executive Director of the New Brunswick Salmon Growers Association, now known as the Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association and worked in various capacities with that group, and with other industries in the coastal aquatic environment for some 30 years now. I have been fortunate to have my entire career working around aquaculture and in other coastal marine industries. I am a graduate of the University of New Brunswick. In 1985, I received my Bachelor of Science and Marine Biology and then went on to do my Ph.D at the University of Stirling in Scotland on a Commonwealth Scholarship studying specifically aquaculture environment interactions.

I want to give you just a bit about the Huntsman. We are a registered, private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to research and teaching around the marine environment. We were established in 1969 specifically as a consortium of universities, government departments and private sector interests to further research and education. Our history is based on collaboration and people working together. Our overall mission is to inspire stewardship through engagement with the community in the discovery of the oceans and the design and delivery of inspirational, educational experiences and the advancement of marine sciences through collaborative research and development of innovative technical solutions for our public and private sector partners. We have built a great reputation and a great capacity on that history of science and education. We have gone through a very significant development and evolution.

Right now, our campuses cover about 100 acres in St. Andrews. We have an annual operating budget of around $3 million and employ some 40 full-time equivalent people. In the summer months it is up over 50, but generally it is around 40 people. Those are all highly qualified individuals: scientists, technicians, educators.

We have very extensive laboratory facilities, aquaculture facilities, teaching facilities, residences, food service, meeting spaces. We also host the Fundy Discovery Aquarium, which is the largest aquarium facility east of Quebec City, and a very significant tourist attraction for the St. Andrews area. We also enjoy very strong, collaborative relationships with Fisheries and Oceans St. Andrews Biological Station. It was one of the reasons why the Huntsman was established in the first place. We now operate very closely with them through a collaborative agreement with the Atlantic Reference Centre berthing for our research vessel; as well, we share a sea water supply system.

All of that to say that the Huntsman exists within a very significant, world-class cluster of marine expertise in southwest New Brunswick. These longstanding relationships are truly world class. They include the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, various provincial government departments, the Atlantic Salmon Federation, New Brunswick Community College, as well as the many industries in our area including aquaculture, as well as the environmental groups and conservation groups.

I have had the great fortune of working all round the world and what we have in southwest New Brunswick, in our region and truly in Canada, is a world-class cluster of expertise that we need to make better use of.

Canada as a whole is a world leader in aquaculture research and development. We must continue to support and enhance this expertise in order to realize the full potential of our industry. Governments recognize the capacity that exists in academia, government and organizations such as the Huntsman and provide the resources necessary to address key issues. It is definitely true that strategic and timely investments will bring economic benefits to Canadians. I want to specifically note that the economic benefit will come not only from aquaculture production and the support sectors, but actually from science and research and development in and of itself.

I can speak of the Huntsman as a prime example. We are a not-for-profit organization with annual revenues of around $3 million. Therefore, by definition, virtually all of that revenue gets turned back into the community. We have an annual payroll of about $1.5 million. By various statistical estimates, we contribute about $2 million to the provincial GDP. Last year alone, we put about 2,700 students through our facility. We worked with seven different universities, we had over 20 different private sector clients and we welcomed over 2,500 visitors to the Fundy Discovery Aquarium. So our little corner of New Brunswick and the collaborations that we provide bring great economic benefit to our region.

It is clear from these statistics that investments in science, research and development, investments that support aquaculture support the Huntsman and support economic benefits to our community. I would like to leave that message with you and thank you for the opportunity. I look forward to further discussion.

The Chair: Thank you, Dr. Smith.

Dr. Chopin?

Mr. Chopin: Good afternoon, senators. I am very pleased to be here with you this afternoon to talk about aquaculture regulations; the current challenges that we have and also the future prospects. I will use a series of slides to highlight key points. The principal challenge for the Canadian aquaculture industry is an overly complex regulatory system. At the present time, the industry is regulated by what I would call an obsolete, reactive and inefficient Fisheries Act, going back to the time of Confederation. It is time that we look at change with maybe a new aquaculture act, because our existing Fisheries Act was written at the time when commercial aquaculture did not exist. It was not thought of as a modern food production system.

We need a new approach while respecting provincial jurisdictions, but also harmonizing the application of federal regulation nationwide. For example, when we have regulations with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, it should be valid in B.C. or in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and Newfoundland. We need harmonization and we need also a possibility of developing new practices. The new regulations should be flexible enough so that we can try things to evolve in our way of doing aquaculture; with an ecosystem approach and a multi-specific, multi-activity management approach. That is what we need in the future.

If we look at the aquaculture environmental monitoring at the present time, both in freshwater and sea water, I would say it is a case of two extremes. In the marine environment, it is all about sediment monitoring. In the freshwater environment, it is exactly the reverse. Who cares about the sediments? It is all about water colour monitoring. There is no justification for that. There is an historical reason, but it really does not make sense from an ecosystem perspective.

So really, let us start with the marine environment. In the marine environment, we can do all kinds of monitoring, but really at the end of the day, what we want is to dispose of the depots. When we talk about depositional sites versus original sites or moving certain sites, we have to be very careful because, as a matter of fact, we may not be solving the problem but merely shifting it to somewhere else. So I think there is one option, which is biomitigation through IMTA, integrated multi-trophic aquaculture. That is, have the right organism to recapture the inorganic matter directly, and also to convert all the organic matter ultimately back to inorganic nutrients so that the big cycle of nutrients continues on and on and on.

You have a diagram of IMTA. Originally, we thought it was three components. It was a fed aquaculture. So that is the fish that you feed with pellets. Then we thought we had two components; the organic suspension extractive aquaculture with shellfish and the inorganic suspension extractive aquaculture with seaweeds. Now we realize that we also have two other components. Those are deposit extractive aquaculture with invertebrates like sea urchins, sea cucumbers, lobsters. Also, now we realize there is a mineralizing aquaculture component with microbes and bacteria, which is also very important.

We have to be very careful. IMTA is just like a cascade going from the large particle to the smaller particle to the inorganic, but it is not necessarily mission accomplished when we are at the bottom of the cascade. If we want the cascade to continue to work, as you can see on the picture at the bottom right, there are serious pumps and engineering and bioengineering behind all of that. We have to be sure that, if you want, all the little dots at the bottom of my IMTA diagram; all that is at the bottom go back to the algae, so as to be recaptured by the algae.

Really, on the second page, we should be sure that we have the receptors that are needed for the inorganics generated by bioturbation of decomposition. So if you want, who will be invited to the big table for absorbing all these nutrients, this big nutrient cake. We have to be very careful. If we do not do anything, that could be the nuisance opportunistic algae. We have pictures here of green tides on red tides. Or it can be the commercial opportune algae, the ones that we want purposely to culture. In the picture you have on the right is the same site as where you were Monday, but it is taken in May, June. The seaweeds are not tiny, little things on the rope as you saw, or maybe guessed, but it is one metre and a half, two metres long. So we have to have that in mind for the cycle to continue. We need the photo-synthetic world to complete the cycle.

It means that seaweeds on aquatic plants, if you are in freshwater aquaculture, need to be seriously considered in the Western world. That is a problem of the Western world. In fact, if you look at the world mariculture production, seaweeds represent 49 per cent. But it is not known in the Western world, because 96 per cent is cultivated in Asia. We have the impression that it is fish, but fish aquaculture worldwide is only 9 per cent. So as a matter of fact, we are not aware of seaweeds in the Western world. It means that regulations for seaweeds need to be developed now while we are still in the pre-commercial stage, to be ready when commercialization will occur.

When I went to meetings with both federal and provincial levels, I learned an English expression, which is ''Let sleeping dogs lie.'' Do not make any noise, just as there is nothing happening now. I do not think it is the right approach, because as a matter of fact, we are almost at the level of going commercial and we will not want to spend, four, five years later, the time to develop this regulation to finally be able to commercialize. Now, the pre-commercial time, is the time to do this regulation, to do it well and to think clearly of what we want.

Also, we need a major rethinking of how an aquaculture farm functions. It definitely does not work within the limit of four buoys, and it should be managed following the Bay Management Area strategy, according to the different elements you are talking about. If you are talking about the large particulate organic nutrients, that is management within the site. If you are talking of the small particulate organic nutrients, it is a little bigger footprint but it is within 10 to 30 metres of an aquaculture site. If you are talking of dissolved inorganic nutrients, then it is bay management that you need and the same for the disease vector on the parasites. So depending on what type of nutrients we are talking, we need different strategies. For example, in southwest New Brunswick, we have at the present time 96 finfish sites because of the three aquaculture Bay Management Areas that allow this rotation they are following. This means that two-thirds of the sites should be active, around 64 sites, but only 45 roughly are active. So this means that there are 19, 20 sites that are not active at any time. I think they should become active and that we should consider seaweed in these sites, still integrated within the overall aquaculture Bay Management Area. We cannot stop and say ''No, you cannot do it because it has never been done before.'' We have to go beyond that. Now is the time to prepare the right regulations, before we go commercial.

We also have to think of dissolving organic nutrient sequestration at the Bay Management level. From this map and you can see by ''Bays'' I would put what I would call seaweed and nutrients scrubbing station to develop associated with that the concept of nutrient trading credits, which I mentioned on Monday. So that is for the marine environment.

On the freshwater environment, the story is not nitrogen, but one of phosphorus and how to deal with phosphorus. Generally you can minimize the impact with physical treatments; filters, setting ponds, that sort of thing. The problem is soluble phosphorus. You can change the feed composition but then you are left with chemicals on biological treatment. The chemical treatments are very expensive. It is basically ferric sulfate plus some polymer. You bind the phosphorus and what happens is that the phosphorus is no longer in the water column; it becomes a precipitate at the bottom. So in terms of regulation, you are fine. If you are measuring the water columns, there has been a decrease of phosphorus but you have shifted the problem to somewhere else, to the bottom. For me, IMTA is all about reusing what I call ''nutrients.'' I do not call them ''waste.'' For me, they are nutrients.

Could we do a better job with this phosphorus and other nutrients? I think we can do IMTA also with freshwater. That is what we call FIMTA. We use these nutrients; not waste, but these nutrients as fertilizer. That is what we are doing at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John. We have a pilot scale FIMTA system. You can see that it is at the beginning. Six weeks later, we are seriously thinking of what salad dressing we will use. So it goes pretty fast. I think with FIMTA or MIMTA, we like acronyms, we could have IMTA really from the egg to the plate, which is, in terms of marketing, what the industry would like also to portray.

So I think the need for diversification of the aquaculture industry in Canada is imperative for its competitiveness. Developing IMTA system should not only increase the profitability, because you are cultivating several crops within the same cultivation unit, but also economic diversification, environmental sustainability and societal acceptability.

Another aspect is the climate change impact, and it will have also an impact on aquaculture. For me, the strategy of IMTA with a diverse portfolio of species — fish, seaweed, invertebrates and microbes — is an economic crisis mitigation option. What I like to say is ''Don't put all your salmon eggs in the same basket.'' Diversify your portfolio, it is less risky.

I think the ecosystem services provided by extractive aquaculture should be recognized and valued both by the fed aquaculture and the fish aquaculture, but also society in general, and that should lead to the implementation of nutrient trading credits, which for me is much better than carbon tax. I much prefer to talk about a carbon credit, a nitrogen credit, a phosphorus credit. We shall use this credit as a financial incentive to encourage the aquaculturists that are generally mono-aquaculturists to become involved with IMTA as a viable economic option. We have agronomy. It is about time we develop ''aquanomy'' the same way. Increase responsible aquaculture production through diversification. Regulatory reform on new legislation, maybe a new aquaculture act, will also be positive in terms of impacting the regions, jobs and economic opportunities, especially in rural and coastal communities.

The last slide; I am sorry it is just after your lunch, but it gives ideas on what you can do with IMTA seaweed, mussels, shellfish and fish. Bon appétit.

The Chairman: Thank you, Dr. Chopin.

The first question will come from our deputy chair, Senator Hubley, please.

Senator Hubley: Welcome to both of you and thank you for your presentations today. Certainly we are moving into the realm of scientific research in a big way here. Dr. Smith, your studies have been in aquaculture and the environment for most of your career. Certainly the Huntsman Marine Science Centre seems like a fantastic facility, but also included in your campus is an aquaculture section. I am wondering what is the general feeling from you and the many experts who come through or visit the centre, about whether the aquaculture industry is in fact environmentally responsible and environmentally safe and is doing a good job for the industry?

Mr. Smith: Thank you. A continual stream of scientists has come through and they look at a number of different things. There are a number of reasons why scientists come and work at the Huntsman. Aquaculture is just one of them. Aquaculture is one of the key parts of our research and applied sciences work. We have clients there that do work on nutrition, developing alternate species and developing fish health management techniques as well as environment. I can certainly say with some high level of confidence that all the scientists that are doing work in aquaculture are doing work in relation to the need to continue to move the industry forward.

Perhaps I should not be speaking for them, but I can suggest that they would not be doing that work if they did not think that the industry was sustainable and responsible. So the work that is being done is all about: How can the industry improve? How can feeds be improved? How can fish health management techniques be improved? How can environmental management techniques and monitoring techniques be improved? I think that is a very positive way of moving an industry forward; not to look at it and say ''It is bad. It must be stopped.'' But, ''It is good. It can be improved. How do we improve it?''

Senator Hubley: Since they are sort of at the cutting edge of the environmental relationship with aquaculture, are there areas that we are not familiar with yet that are being studied and looked at as the future sustainability of the industry that you would know of?

Mr. Smith: Sure. One thing that I could touch on a little bit, maybe two things, would be the need for the development of new therapeutants for the aquaculture industry. We have just gotten into some new work for clients, testing the effects of new therapeutants on non-target species. It is work that had previously been done through the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. A change in their mandate created a gap in that expertise. It is a gap that needed to be filled. The need for that kind of research is required and so the Huntsman became actively involved in that. I think a lot of that work happens behind the scenes. It is not seen by the public because the pharmaceutical companies are doing that as their exploratory work, as they are developing new therapeutants. Certainly we are seeing that work taking place, so I think that is a very positive sign that the industry is recognizing that fish health management is an ongoing process and work needs to continue on that front.

Another example would be in broodstock development. We have our own Atlantic Salmon Broodstock Development Program that we are working on in collaboration with industry. It is a recognition by industry that the management of the fish from a genetic perspective has to continue, has to improve. Again, it is work that sometimes goes on behind the scenes but it is necessary for the industry to continue to evolve.

Senator Hubley: Thank you very much.

Senator Stewart Olsen: Thank you for being here. I have two questions, one for each of you.

How does the research that you are doing at Huntsman come about? You say you have clients. Do they come to you and say, ''We would like you to study this?'' Or do you see issues or challenges within the community of aquaculture that you feel should be studied?

Mr. Smith: We have three different general models of ways that research is conducted at the Huntsman. We have some projects that take place at the Huntsman whereby clients come and essentially rent our facilities and conduct the research on their own. So we have one client that is with us right now that has been with us since the mid-1990s. They use one of our buildings. We supply them water. We have supplied the facility. They come and do their research that is proprietary to their needs, and it works very well for them.

We have another model whereby we develop projects ourselves. We recognize that there is a need for that to serve the industry. Our Atlantic Salmon Broodstock Development Program is an example of that. It is our project. We own the intellectual property that will come from that, but we are doing it in cooperation and collaboration with an industry partner.

Then we have a third class of projects that are kind of in between where a client will come and may rent our facilities, hire our technicians, but will bring their own people on to work closely with us. Examples of those are more closely related to university projects where scientists will come, use our research vessel or our tank space. Our technicians look after their fish or we operate their gear for them. We work very closely with them.

So we are quite flexible in that way and that allows us to work very collaboratively with the community and do some really interesting work. All of our work is entirely fee-for-service based. We do not get any sustaining grant from a government department. We are completely reliant on our own project development skills for staying alive.

Senator Stewart Olsen: Which is good, in a way, because you are not influenced from the outside.

Dr. Chopin, you mentioned a very interesting subject. We have not had time to go into it and I am not sure it really fits in here. That is the subject of seaweed. It does a little bit because if we can grow it and harvest it and use it to help clean up the waste, that is a good thing. I know that the people from the Gaspé who are here are doing some preliminary work on seaweed. Is there anything going on in Atlantic Canada on work on seaweed? To me, it seems like a natural fit for production and usage.

Mr. Chopin: I am the Scientific Director of CIMTAN, which is the Canadian IMTA Network. We have 16 projects. Two projects are on the seaweed, on the plants. We are just at the level of pre-commercialization.

You saw three rafts on Monday. Each raft has the capability of producing 16 wet tonnes, so 1.6 tonnes. We are going towards commercial levels. What we do at the present time is the strategy of what is called the ''bio-refineries.'' I do not like the term because people always imagine pipes and oil. It is more of doing different things with the same material.

At the present time, with seaweed, we are working with three restaurants; two high end, one middle level — so for human food. We are working on cosmetics with a company in Monaco. We are working also with Cooke Aquaculture as the seaweeds are going into feed tries for salmon. It is the partial substitution of protein because, you know, why use the little fish to feed the big fish? Why consider only protein from land plants when plants from the sea have also a lot of proteins?

Then we also do organic certification. Our seaweed was certified organic last June. We do also bio-char, which is making a kind of charcoal from seaweeds that we use for the aquaponic or freshwater IMTA.

Senator Stewart Olsen: So would you see this as coming under the umbrella of aquaculture? It is really farming of seaweed.

Mr. Chopin: The funny thing is in the Western world, I would say, both in North America and in Europe, people know very little. As a matter of fact, 96 per cent of the seaweed industry is mostly concentrated in China, Korea or Japan. It is a huge industry. It is 19 million tonnes. It is around a $6 billion industry. Nobody knows about it in the Western world and we are just trying to get a little piece of it. For me, we have to diversify, not do only one thing. Also, I am not interested in going after the Asian market because it is saturated. That is why I develop the North American and European market.

Senator Stewart Olsen: Thank you very much.

Senator Meredith: Senator Stewart Olsen asked a question with respect to the economics and your client base and so forth. Given further support, how could Huntsman grow in terms of more clients? What happens to that data, that information that is gathered? Sometimes research just gets shelved. How can we then take that to market? Elaborate on what your strategy is along those lines.

Mr. Smith: That are a couple questions there of how could we do more work, how could be do better work? We are definitely constrained by the facility. We do work very closely with the St. Andrews Biological Station and have always had a great partnership with them. We do share our saltwater system with them. We share our facilities, we share people. I think there is a great opportunity there for the Huntsman and the Biological Station to enhance that collaborative work, to think a bit more proactively about the priorities, mandates that the station has and limitations that they face in being able to fulfill that mandate. We can provide opportunities to bring non-government partners to the table to do some good collaborative work. Looking at all of our facilities and sustaining and growing them in the future, we have a great opportunity. Again, with the cluster of expertise that is around us, we can bring a lot of people together. But that requires facilities and water. We really need to look at growing those.

The second part of your question, Senator Meredith, was with regard to getting the information out into the world. Like I said to Senator Stewart Olsen, the three models that we work under provide different opportunities for disseminating information. As to the work that we are doing with private sector clients, a lot of times they are coming to us specifically because of the confidential nature of their work, work that is proprietary to them and their own business interests.

Then we have other work that is necessary for it to be in the public domain. Our scientists do publish regularly in peer-reviewed journals. We speak regularly at conferences and workshops.

Also, with the Fundy Discovery Aquarium, we have a fantastic opportunity to disseminate information to the public. Last year, we saw 2,700 visitors through the aquarium. We have displays in the aquarium specifically about aquaculture and about other industries in our area; about conservation efforts in our area. The Atlantic Salmon Federation has a display within the aquarium. So we are getting information out to people who come through the aquarium and through our ability to speak with students. We have a Grade 2 program, a Grade 4 program, a Grade 6 program, a high school program, university programs. The very nature of the Huntsman really facilitates us communicating with the public in a very proactive way.

Senator Meredith: We talked earlier with the first panel in terms of a shortage of labour that exists and how we attract young people to aquaculture. Is this part of your program as well? When we look at young people, they are always looking at ''What is in it for me?'' They may be asking in terms of just the dollars or in terms of entrepreneurship. Do you go into that in some of the programs that you offer at Huntsman?

Mr. Smith: Yes, we do. We work very closely with universities at one level and also with the New Brunswick Community College, with their aquaculture program. So of the universities that come through with us, we have the University of New Brunswick. The University of New Brunswick has just finished their 16-week Marine semester program where they stayed in residence at the Huntsman. We have McGill, Guelph, Western, Waterloo, University of Moncton. There is one other I cannot remember right now. All of those students take tours of our facilities, they see aquaculture in practice. They are directly exposed to it. We have a Grade 6 program called the Ocean Discovery Program and virtually every Grade 6 class in southwestern New Brunswick comes through our program. There is a bit in that on aquaculture as well. We have a lot of really great opportunities to disseminate information in a very proactive way.

Senator Meredith: Mr. Chopin, with respect to the IMTA, my colleague has already alluded to the aspect of other industries or products that could potentially be developed through the aquaculture industry itself? What are some of the properties with respect to fertilizers. We look at regular agriculture and the runoffs, environmental impacts that some fertilizers have had? With regard to this particular strain of seaweed that you are testing, what are some of the properties that you have garnered from it and what is the comparative?

Mr. Chopin: What we are doing with IMTA is growing the extractive aquaculture, so the seaweeds but also the invertebrates; shellfish and sea cucumbers, sea urchins, et cetera. So really we are talking about components that extract from the environment compared to fish aquaculture or shrimp aquaculture where you provide feed. Here, you do not have to do anything. You let them absorb the nutrients. Seaweeds have high levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon. These seaweeds are, as a matter of fact, rich in nitrogen which also means rich in proteins, which also means they have nutritional value. That is why we try to put them in the salmon feed.

For example, the cosmetic industry in Monaco is very interested in products for skin application because of the micro elements. They are interested because there are properties and then there are also good stories. IMTA Organic Certification is also very good in the cosmetic business.

All I would say in terms of growth, the thing is to be very careful. The location is very important. Where do you put your shellfish? Where do you put your seaweeds to recapture these nutrients? When they are located at the right place, we see increased growth of both seaweeds and invertebrates. That is why I much prefer to talk about nutrients than always saying ''waste.'' At the same time, nutrients are just like chocolate. A little chocolate is good; too much chocolate and I am sick. You have to find the right medium .

Senator Meredith: Find the balance. Thank you.

Senator Poirier: Thank you and welcome to both of you.

My question is for Dr. Chopin and it is actually again on seaweed. In your presentation, you mentioned that regulations for the seaweeds need to be developed now. You also mentioned a phrase of ''let the sleeping dog lie'' as the kind of response you are getting on the idea of developing the regulations. You talked about both federal and provincial levels. I have two questions. My first one, do the regulations need to come from both or can they come from one more than the other? The second, has industry shown an interest? Are people interested in aquaculture interested in pushing development of the seaweed and going in that direction?

Mr. Chopin: I will answer the last question. Yes, at the present time we are involved with Cooke Aquaculture in doing seaweed experimental growths and pre-commercialization. Cooke Aquaculture does, I would say, 85 per cent of the aquaculture on the East Coast of Canada.

Senator Poirier: They have asked you to do this research?

Mr. Chopin: Yes. It is a joint research endeavour. We have always been interested, and that goes with the regulations. I never wanted to do seaweed and shellfish research only in labs. In the labs it is very easy to do that research in a little tank of 50 litres, and then you multiply and multiply and everything is wonderful. I always wanted to test it on the scale of reality, and that is why we went with an aquaculture company. We were initially with Heritage Salmon, which was acquired by Cooke. Cooke said, ''We are continuing the program of Heritage.'' So we are doing it with Cooke Aquaculture. All sorts of companies are interested. I think people are waiting to see how it goes. If it develops well then I think there will be more people.

In terms of regulations, typically in Canada you have the two levels, provincial regulation and federal regulation. In a number of provinces, there are memorandums of understanding. I would say it is a joint effort to harmonize the regulations. We see at the different levels some discrepancies. For example, I cited Monday one company that does IMTA on the West Coast, on Vancouver Island. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency gave them the green light for 12 extra extractive spaces, 12 at a time. Boom, it was done. In New Brunswick, we do one at a time. It is extremely time consuming. It takes a lot of time. So for me, if it is a Canadian Food Inspection Agency, we should have nationwide regulations.

At the present time, there are a lot of fish aquaculture regulations. There are fewer with regard to shellfish. For seaweed, there is nothing. My attitude is more, ''Let us do something now so we can save time.'' If not, when we finally reach a commercial scale, suddenly we will have to spend four, five years developing new regulations. Let us do it now so that we progress together. That is when I get this attitude of ''Hmm, do not make any noise.'' So for me, I don't understand it because it would be much better to sit at the table now — provincial, federal, industry, academics — together to develop good regulations instead of in four, five years when suddenly there is a rush and the regulations will not be necessarily very good. Now is the time to do good work.

Senator Poirier: We visited a plant in Gaspé yesterday that is experimenting with seaweed. Would that mean that that company would be under provincial regulation to be able to do something now, or are they still in the experimental stage also?

Mr. Chopin: I think they are experimental, too, but they will be facing the same situation.

Senator Poirier: Thank you.

The Chair: Senator Lovelace Nicholas?

Senator Lovelace Nicholas: I did not have a question.

The Chair: We want to thank our witnesses for their testimony here today. It is a different side of the industry that you are looking at, certainly bringing forward some great concerns to us. If at any time you feel that there is some additional information that the committee could use as it prepares for its report, we would ask you to please forward it to the clerk or the analyst. Thank you for your time.

I want to welcome our next panel of witnesses and thank them for taking the time to join us here this afternoon. Please introduce yourselves before we begin.

Teresa James, Mayor, Village of Blacks Harbour: My name is Teresa James. My friends and family call me Terry. I am the Mayor of the Village of Blacks Harbour in southwestern New Brunswick.

Stan Choptiany, Mayor, Town of St. Andrews: I am Stan Choptiany and I am the Mayor of St. Andrews. It is a pleasure to be here and thank you for the invitation.

The Chair: I understand you have some opening remarks.

Ms. James: I will go first. I just have a brief presentation to give you an idea of life in Blacks Harbour.

Before aquaculture, New Brunswick southwest was the poorest region in New Brunswick. After the local air force and military bases closed in the late 1940s, the traditional fisheries economically sustained the people.

Since the late 1800s, Blacks Harbour has been very fortunate to be the home of Connors Brothers Limited, now Clover Leaf Seafoods, and they are known as the largest sardine processing plant in the world. Many have said that the Great Depression never touched those who lived and worked in Blacks Harbour. The company looked after the wives and the children of those honourable veterans of many wars by keeping them employed and they provided affordable housing. Yet, as generations pass, many of the young people shun the labour intensive fish processing factory, and young sons declined to accompany their fathers on the lobster fishing boats, preferring to either further their studies or leave the area for Western provinces.

For many years, the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, economic development was at a virtual standstill in Charlotte County until aquaculture came to our shores in about the late 1980s. Now, one out of four jobs in Charlotte County are directly or indirectly related to the aquaculture industry, driving millions of dollars into our local economies, and as a result of this certainty of consistent, year-round employment that the aquaculture industry offers, young families are purchasing homes and buying cars and generally pumping their disposable income into our local economies. Further, I am certain many of those dollars find their way to the economies of Saint John, Moncton and Fredericton.

Equally important is the positive impact aquaculture is having on our communities. Workers benefit from generous health care plans that include vision and dental benefits. Children who can go to school and see properly through new glasses or who are not distracted by toothaches, do better both socially and academically in school. Serious illnesses typically do not financially ruin people who can afford costly prescriptions. The cultural diversity of our temporary foreign workers employed in this industry has been and is very welcomed in our communities, with many long-lasting friendships formed.

We are so fortunate to have Cooke Aquaculture in our community. When the village needed a new roof on the arena they were the first to offer a dollar per dollar contribution up to, well, it actually totalled well over $40,000. In 2010, when flooding ravaged nearby St. George, the company stepped in hugely, rescuing people from their homes in their company boats and they were supplying relief stations with necessary products. Most recently, when Hurricane Arthur struck this summer, ice and water were delivered almost immediately to our community.

Industry representatives can be found coaching teams, local teams, they are volunteer firefighters, school mentors, and they contribute financially to our recreational and cultural facilities.

In my view, the aquaculture industry promotes healthy, sustainable communities in their entireties, and it is my hope that all levels of government assist this industry in their regulatory processes so that communities such as ours can continue to experience both social and economic growth and development.

Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you, Ms. James, for a fine presentation.

Ms. James: Thank you.

Mr. Choptiany: Well, again, thank you for the opportunity to address the honourable senators. I am hoping to be able to speak to about three points and then hopefully we will also have a chance to expand on them. It is a pleasure to be here with Terry. I see her as a friend.

The interesting thing about Charlotte County, when you look at the aquaculture as well, is that it is a family, and we do not do things in isolation. So what is good for St. Andrews is good for Blacks Harbour and vice versa in a lot of ways. The projects that we work on we work on together. So it is quite different from when I worked and lived in Ontario. You do things in this community, and I think in this province, with people and through people and for the benefit of people. So I think it has been a wonderful opportunity.

The thing that I wanted to address specifically, I will get to my written brief in a moment, is that we have a long history of science in the Charlotte County or St. Andrews area, well over a hundred-year history of extraordinary science.

The second thing I wanted to talk about, and certainly Dr. Chopin talked a little bit about it, is the concept that you cannot do anything environmental in isolation. You can't pick it apart, it is all related, and we are certainly finding those things out in St. Andrews in numbers of ways, and I will relate to that.

The other part that I think is critical is that the whole concept of aquaculture and the aquaculture industry has to be seen as an equal partnership with research. The two complement each other. It is not an adversarial or a competitive situation, it is a situation that is synergistic, both do well and do better because there is a relationship.

My background is that I first came to St. Andrews in 1980 to teach the first high school credit courses in marine biology at the Huntsman Marine Science Centre which at the time was, and it still is, a private not-for-profit research and education consortium. At that time, there were 19 universities involved. There are fewer specifically involved now. Some of my work involved collaboration with the St. Andrews Biological Station. I had 37 students the first summer I worked in St. Andrews. We had guest speakers just about every night, and often it was guest speakers from the Biological Station. They were able to tell about and discuss the current state of the fisheries and the research programs in the new field of aquaculture.

So, go back to 1980, and I look around to some of you; you were pretty young. For me, it doesn't seem that long ago, but when you think of almost 35 years of aquaculture history, it was in its infancy in 1980. The work was being done in those early years primarily at the St. Andrews Biological Station, although the Huntsman was involved at that time too. Back in 1980, it was very different if you went around St. Andrews and Blacks Harbour. We would take our students to Deer Island. There were canning factories there and there were lobster pounds, more than one. St. Andrews had a canning factory for herring until 1976 when it burnt. We now have, as Terry said, one facility. Now, it is huge but we have gone from dozens to one.

The fishery focused on herring and lobster. The concept of salmon or aquaculture was unheard of in 1980 except for the tanks that were in the St. Croix River run by the biological station.

We did have a tuna plant at Bayside — you may have driven by it — and at the time in the 1970s and 1980s, it was a major employer, over 400 people. It processed and packaged tuna, not only from P.E.I., but from around the world, and there were ships coming up the St. Croix from Chile and from the Northern Pacific.

One of the things that was interesting for me, as an Ontario person who came during the summers to work and eventually to live, was that we had Russian factory ships in Passamaquoddy Bay and they bought the excess herring at that time. It was a different situation and, of course, it was a situation that was in decline. The herring fishery was becoming more and more limited. The ground fishery was disappearing, and there was nothing to take its place until we developed the aquaculture.

So, from the beginning, the economic viability and the protection and innovation of aquaculture were augmented with fundamental toxicology and regulatory research, primarily developed by Fisheries and Oceans at the St. Andrews Biological Station. I would argue that the present day aquaculture industry is based on work done by DFO scientists, and to a diminished degree, some aquaculture research continues today. When I say diminished, I mean at one time we were full tilt. There were numbers and numbers of research scientists. It is thrilling to see Dr. Chopin and Dr. Robinson as well at the Biological Station continuing, but compared to what there was, there is room for more, let's put it that way.

Now, in terms of the town, the Town of St. Andrews has prospered for over 100 years in that relationship primarily due to the contributions of the scientific community. The Biological Station goes back, I believe, to 1899 and we are now 115 years down the road, so it's been a long relationship.

For the Town of St. Andrews and Charlotte County and, indeed, New Brunswick, the St. Andrews Biological Station has meant much more than marine research. It has been a highly respected world-class marine research facility of which all of Canada can be proud. I can tell you that my next door neighbour is a scientist who is now 86 and he still gets people from around the world coming to his house. So it is not unusual, sometimes there are RCMP escorts, depending upon which country they come from, but other times it is just people who are key researchers and wanting to continue that relationship, and that is typical of pretty well all of the scientists who are there.

It has attracted marine research scientists and institutions from Canada, the U.S. and around the world. This centre has attracted the Atlantic Salmon Federation and the Huntsman Marine Science Centre and an aquaculture program at the New Brunswick Community College, thus creating a marine sciences hub, and that was spoken about previously. The economic spin-offs are so important to a small town in a rural community in a rural province. In 1980, when I first came to St. Andrews, there were 21 research scientists supported with a staff of 88 for that particular year and they supported the key fisheries research. I did also mention that most of those scientists had graduate students in programs with not just the University of New Brunswick but with many of those other universities. So, when it came to training, it was a situation where the Biological Station and, to some degree, the Huntsman and the Atlantic Salmon Federation, had students. It was like having a mini pool of future scientists but that has been diminished.

Those 109 staff, with their families, in St. Andrews, a town of 1,800 people, represented about 10 per cent of our population. That direct impact from the Biological Station helped sustain our schools, our local economy, our tax base.

Dr. Smith talked about the amount of money that the Huntsman provides. Well, I guess we were lucky because so did the Biological Station and, to a degree in a different time, so did the Atlantic Salmon Federation. But they helped to sustain our schools, our local economy and our tax base. Today though, there are just seven research scientists at the Biological Station, three of whom are nearing retirement. They have a total staff of about 50 and, obviously, strictly speaking from a town standpoint, that is a threat to a resource that will have ramifications for the town specifically.

The foundation of the station is in question and so is the fundamental economic contribution to St. Andrews, the larger community and, I would argue, to the fishery. The Town of St. Andrews has benefited from and is hugely dependent upon the St. Andrews Biological Station and its continued success. SABS, as we know it locally, attracts well-educated people and their families to good paying jobs to live in St. Andrews and work at an internationally renowned marine research facility. It provides and strengthens the stable economic and cultural community. The combined work of the community college, the science-based collaboration with the Huntsman including its lobster research centre, the Atlantic Salmon Federation, the Biological Station all help ensure the fisheries has a viable future.

Mayor James alluded to the economic importance. New Brunswick seafood exports in 2012 were valued at $967 million, almost a billion dollars; $210 million of those exports was farmed Atlantic salmon, which did not exist in 1980. The aquaculture has been a Godsend to us. We look at salmon aquaculture but we look at the sturgeon aquaculture, we look at a number of other species that are being introduced. The wider the introduction and the broader the spectrum, the more stable that whole industry can be.

New Brunswick was ranked the largest exporter of seafood in Canada. Combined fisheries and aquaculture create about 8,000 jobs, mainly in rural New Brunswick. If I compare the fisheries to the total New Brunswick tourism GDP — some of you came to St. Andrews, and I appreciate that, and we seemed to be known as a tourist town and I think it is great what we do — fisheries trumps it dramatically. In terms of the revenues for the town itself, even though we have the marvellous Algonquin Hotel, the generation of incomes is primarily from the fisheries industry and the aquaculture. So, even though GDP for tourism is big, we have to keep things in perspective, and we do that in St. Andrews with the knowledge that the fishery is our key employer.

With the challenges to traditional fisheries, the seafood aquaculture is more important than ever. New Brunswick lobster had an export value of $475 million in 2012. There was a note in last week's paper that 308 lobster boats left the docks. Those people will employ directly 924 people with an indirect number of 1,848 jobs. The lobster research done at SABS has provided information for DFO to create a management plan that has maintained a healthy and productive lobster industry and harvest. Now, you consider aquaculture but you cannot consider it in isolation. The lobster fishery and the aquaculture work hand in hand. What happens to one, affects the other, and it is that understanding of the integration that is key.

Clearly, marine science research boosts a marine-based economy while protecting the marine environment. To protect this valuable industry, the resource must continue. As water temperatures increase, the water ability to carry oxygen decreases. Can genetics develop a strain of salmon that may require less oxygen than our ocean presently contains? How can infectious salmon anemia, sea lice and other challenges to farm salmon be understood? What chemical treatments can safely be used in what proximity to the other species? Can genetics develop a strain of salmon more resistant to those challenges? By mentioning those things and many others, including the acidification of the inshore ocean, there are challenges. The viability of the aquaculture goes hand-in-hand with the research. It is that kind of concept. The work that is done in research to promote and to predict some of the future effects is critical. Again, I and many people look at it as a positive relationship.

Small towns in Charlotte County are one extended community. Schools, shopping, recreation facilities and health care are all dependent on a strong, vibrant community made possible through a strong economic base. While many people would state that tourism is the foundation of St. Andrews' economy, it is the integrated fisheries that provide the main jobs and income.

In southwest New Brunswick and in St. Andrews, we have a marine-based economy dependent on a healthy marine environment, a productive traditional fisheries and a successful aquaculture industry. All of the economic successes are dependent upon the balance provided by continued government marine scientific research centred on the St. Andrews Biological Station, the Huntsman Marine Science Centre and the Atlantic Salmon Federation.

Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you.

Our first question is from our deputy chair, Senator Hubley.

Senator Hubley: Welcome to both of you. You are bringing to our committee another perspective, that of mayors of communities that are impacted and are impacting aquaculture in Canada.

Mayor James, I really enjoyed your presentation because you brought it down to the family level and the importance of having the jobs and the schools and the parents at home looking after the children and job opportunities, and I think that is really important.

You also touched on the cultural diversity that foreign workers bring to your community. I think one can only be impressed that you are treating the industry with a great deal of respect and the industry is treating the community with a great deal of respect and, because of that, it is a success story, and I think that is probably key to many of the problems we are seeing these days.

Mayor Choptiany, I thank you for your presentation, a little different tracing St. Andrews through its history.

I had a sense after listening to both of you, obviously rooting for the same community which is larger than both of you, that there is a culture of fishing, a culture of aquaculture and a sense that you are a fishing community. There is a heritage there of working in the sea and making your living by that. I think we can find that in a lot of rural communities. It may be perhaps dormant right now but maybe aquaculture will be one of those industries that will refresh our communities.

I have a couple of questions on the decline of the scientific activity in St. Andrews. I believe you mentioned that you were down to just a fraction of the number of scientists that used to work there. It seems to me it should be going the other way, because we are discovering that aquaculture, especially, is a growing industry with great potential. There are major problems, there can be major problems within the industry, and it is now critical that those be addressed. You cannot let the industry suffer for want of scientific information. I am just wondering how you feel about that. Can you identify why the number of research scientists in the community seems to be declining, can you point to anything in particular?

Mr. Choptiany: I can maybe answer with a bit of a preface. When we look at the work historically by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the science there has been long term with a way of adjusting to issues as they developed without necessarily a specific time line. They can look long range. As we are seeing, for instance, with the acidification — there is more carbon dioxide in the air, it is now going into the water, the water is becoming more acidic — in the long term, that is the kind of research that will impact all species. It impacts the salmon because they thrive at a pH of eight, and it is less than that now, it is more acidic. We can start asking are there other ways to look at that direction.

In terms of why we have lost programs, many of the decisions — I can't give you all of the answers because this is a little bit outside my field — have been decisions made at a higher level, and they have either restricted funding or limited the direction of research. Most recently, a toxicology and contaminants lab was closed. That lab had been doing research for a long time. It was continuous and they were looking at a broad spectrum of chemical contaminants in the marine environment that could affect the aquaculture industry.

Interestingly, some of the work they did was on oil spills. When they had the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico, some of our research scientists were the first on the field there because they had international reputations, and even in retirement they are still consulted. I did not understand that decision, but it was a decision made higher up in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. It was a disappointment.

In my sense, there are so many things that could be addressed and should be addressed, and I will give you just two other examples. In St. Andrews, a lot of the work that we are doing right now in the town relates to the fact that we are faced with a sea level rise of about a metre in the next 80 years. So if the water goes up, it also goes in. We are looking at very detailed information on what parts of the town flood. It is an historic town, so 240 or 250 years of history could be washed out. There are areas that are going to be impacted. That sea level rise will have impacts on all of the marine systems, whether it is coastal erosion, aquaculture, currents, or a number of other things.

Another example is our drinking water, which we get from a lake. In the last four years, we have had the appearance of cyanobacteria, and this particular cyanobacteria produces a toxin that, so far, has not been a health risk. We used to work hand-in-hand with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on the solution. We lost that fresh water biology person from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. So, we are missing a piece of our support system as a town, and I can tell you as a mayor, drinking water is number one. If you cannot drink the water, you do not have a town. That is another case where Fisheries and Oceans was doing research that was helping us, and we have lost that. I cannot tell you the whys, I can only tell you that it has happened, and I would argue that there is room for lots more research.

Senator Hubley: Thank you.

Senator Poirier: Thank you both for being here and sharing a point of view from the municipal aspect.

I guess that is where I want to go. We have heard from places where they do not have this problem, and other places where they do have the problem, and I am talking about aquaculture sites being set up in communities. In some areas, the local people seem to have concerns about zoning issues, where they should be allowed to be set up and different things like that. In one of the places we visited a little while ago, actually it was on the Island, if I remember right, a witness said that when he went to build his business, which was a land-based farm, the municipality or the community first asked, ''What is your building going to look like and how is that going to affect things?'' The person answered, ''I will worry about the inside, you worry about the outside. You tell me what you want and I will do it.''

I am wondering, when the aquaculture business developed in your area and became so important to your community, did you face any challenges like that or were the people just happy to have the jobs? Did St. Andrews, being a tourism area, provide any feedback as a community? If yes, how did you deal with it? As a municipality, were there restrictions on rezoning or zoning areas where they could or could not set up, different things like that?

Ms. James: I would first like to address the land-based aquaculture. In our community, we do not have any. There is a site out at Lake Utopia and we do not zone on the waters so those issues really have not impacted Blacks Harbour. However, when aquaculture first started, we were a traditional fisheries community, and there were some rumblings down at the wharf between the fishermen and the aquaculture people; the sharing of the wharf, space, storage, boats, issues like that and it was rough for a few years. I have a lobster fisherman in my family and I remember some of the grumblings and, of course, some of our weir fishermen had objections saying that these sites were driving the herring away from the weirs. They have since found I think that it was not as true or as important as was first believed.

Once the lobster fishermen started catching lots of lobsters out by the cage sites, they stopped complaining so much. They were happy with their catch and everybody seemed to be happy. As it has evolved over the years, not only have our lobster fishermen experienced increase in catches, but because of the close working relationship between the traditional fisheries and aquaculture, we have seen major investments in our harbour, in our wharf, so that we have the wharves that are big enough to accommodate both. If you were to go down to the Brunswick Street wharf in Blacks Harbour, on the left you would see salmon boats unloading and loading, and on the right you would see your traditional fisheries, and then maybe a little further over you would see pleasure craft moored. It was rough at first but people just came to realize that their kids were staying home and getting half decent jobs, that they were not leaving our communities and they were buying houses and having families and that grandparents were able to be grandparents to their grandchildren and not by computer but by actual physical contact, and they were benefiting from the high lobster catches, and as a result those grumblings soon just faded away.

Today in my community they share wharves. We have four wharves in our community — one is coastal transports, I guess that does not count — so three wharves. Lobster fishermen, herring fishermen and aquaculture fish farmers all use the same wharves. They all talk and slap each other on the back going up and down the wharfs.

Our coast neighbour, Beaver Harbour, as well has really overcome many of those animosities. I really credit the aquaculture industry in our area for their Bay Management Plan of leaving sites fallow. You do not get on someone's nerves because your site may be active for one or two seasons, but then is fallow for one or two seasons and it rotates all around the Bay of Fundy. That has helped relieve tensions as well.

It's not all flowers and chocolates, but it is really a fairly good and amicable working relationship between all of them.

Senator Poirier: Good.

Mr. Choptiany: I can respond in two ways. We only have one wharf. From our standpoint, I wish we did not because we own it. Because we own it we have to repair it, and right now we are looking at a $1.2-million repair to the first part of it. If you drive down the wharf you need to go fairly quickly on the first third. The commercial part of that wharf is for aquaculture. Aquaculture boats tie up and load fish year-round. They are the one economic year-round resource for our wharf as an entity. During the summer we certainly have very active tourism with whale watching and then we have a local yacht club.

When I started doing teaching and research in 1980, the bay was different than it is now. It has gone through evolutions as the aquaculture industry got better and better at what they did. There was less waste, much better utilization of foods, and we are now into the multi species integrated aquaculture approach, so we will be looking at utilizing whatever foods we have in a much better way.

Terry talked about what you used to do with farming, leave the field fallow for a couple of years and then move on. That happens with the bay, being one of the three major sites where they rotate. So, the impacts are monitored well.

The other issue, I guess, is that for a variety of reasons, the herring aren't coming into the bay as often as they used to. So, we used to have herring weirs all the way around the bay and now we only have a few that are active.

There is one specific situation. At our drinking water source, Chamcook Lake, we had for a little over a year, a sturgeon freshwater aquaculture commercial development and it was using the facilities of the Atlantic Salmon Federation. That year I know that there were some other climate effects, but that was the year that we first saw the cyanobacteria. It was also the year that the lake level went down four feet. No one had ever seen that before. There was only one place to point the finger, but they did not have meters on the water so we could never say that they were taking all the water There was a lot of water going through those enclosed cages, and that had an impact. Subsequently they moved not far from Blacks Harbour into an area that has natural aquifer and are using a different source of water. That was the first year that we did see this harmful blue-green algae. It is really hard to say there is an exact line of connection but it happened.

So, there have been effects. It is a learning process for us because I certainly hope that we do have other freshwater opportunities, but don't choose a drinking water lake. But we do have the research and with the other capacities in the area we have a very vibrant freshwater aquaculture potential.

Senator Poirier: Thank you.

Senator Meredith: Mayor Choptiany, you are living testimony of Ontario's contribution to the Maritimes. We were talking earlier with respect to garnering support from Ontario, that the province doesn't have the sprawling coastlines like the Maritimes. So, to that point we thank you for the great work that you have done as the Mayor of St. Andrews.

We heard earlier from witnesses that there is a shortage of labour. What have you done in terms of attracting people to fill some of these voids? As you said, Mayor James, young people are moving out of the communities even though there is this need for employment. Have you collaborated with, say, Ontario in terms of potentially getting people to relocate here to take advantage of some of these jobs?

Ms. James: There have been problems with shortages of labour, and a lot of those positions have been filled through temporary foreign workers programs. In our community, we are challenged to provide housing for small families and single people, and these are typically young people who you would find working in the industry. Most of the homes, if not all of them, are owned. We only have a few rentals, so that becomes a challenge for people in itself.

From a municipal perspective, we currently have a project underway with Habitat for Humanity. We have two projects that are in the preliminary stages, one is multi-unit and one is a single family home, but it is a help.

In my community, we are restricted in our water consumption. Our water source is owned by the company and we are allocated 100,000 imperial gallons per day, and it is very difficult to measure it to figure out if we are using up to our capacity or not. So, we have unique challenges in that way. We couldn't okay a massive housing development because, according to our agreement, we cannot provide water. So, that is a major problem for my community.

Yet throughout eastern Charlotte, there is ample opportunity for housing development. In St. George nearby, it is about 15 kilometres away, there are apartment units and we have some single person units in the community, but I wouldn't stay there, personally.

Senator Meredith: Thanks for the warning.

Ms. James: I just wouldn't be comfortable in that kind of environment. I would need more room, I guess.

What are we doing about it? We are always trying to find ways to partner with industry. There are vacant buildings in my community. We are lobbying hard for them to be transformed into housing, but I am sure it is like everything else; money is tight and, quite probably the companies are looking for some sort of financial assistance to do that. That is a real challenge, and other than working with Habitat for Humanity and our own efforts in partnering with industry to develop some housing, it is about all we can do.

Mr. Choptiany: There is a number of things that have an effect in bringing people to the industry. I think you have to look at all ends of the spectrum. At the community college in St. Andrews there are 400 students in housing. The aquaculture programs there attract people primarily from Atlantic Canada. I do not know that they actively recruit in Ontario. Those programs have run for years. They are full and well received. It gives a person a leg-up in terms of understanding how you can work as a technician or move up in the industry. It's a tough industry. It's great in August; it is brutal in February. You do not want to be out in those cages in a storm, but you have got to feed the fish every day. So it is a tough way of life.

Certainly, as Terry has talked about, when you are attracting people to an industry, you have to have the whole package. We do have good schools. We have issues with transportation; we are working on it. We have issues with housing; we are working on it. Those things are important.

In many ways, the Biological Station used to do some of it but the Huntsman does an extraordinary job. DR. Smith already talked about how just about every student in New Brunswick goes through the Huntsman program, either for a day or a longer period. Maybe it is a little bit of a seduction here, but it's another way of falling in love with the ocean and the Maritimes. Once you start understanding it and are no longer afraid to pick up the seaweed or look under a rock, you find a whole world under there. As I mentioned in my opening remarks, there used to be an association of 19 universities, many of those were Ontario universities. So our seals that are in the aquarium used to go back and forth every year to Guelph. They would pack them up in October and put them in a truck and drive them to the aquarium. The students who came down from Guelph, Queen's in Kingston and other universities and community colleges, as well as from high school programs, were able to take a look at the job opportunities. Again, it is a spectrum. It is not just working on the cages. That is a small part of it. It's the research; it's understanding how to better and more efficiently run your cage operation. When I look back 20 years ago to how a cage was operated and compare it to now, and then if I think 20 years from now how it is going to be operated, it is and will be totally different. There will be new challenges but, again, the opportunities in education and in higher learning to become leaders, the hub exists there and I think it is an untapped, under-utilized resource but, boy, it has great potential with some fabulous people who are overseeing it.

Senator Meredith: With respect to the industry, and we have heard the challenges and concerns, what are the top three recommendations that you would put forward to our committee to see changes made expeditiously to move this industry forward, creating the kind of jobs that you want to see, the sustainability and so forth? Perhaps both of you can comment on that.

Ms. James: First of all — I am not privy to all the details, but I do know the industry struggles in getting their regulatory processes passed in Ottawa. Without those being expedited, it ties up and hinders the growth and development of the industry in our area. That would be probably my number one concern, that this industry gets the attention that it deserves because it has a great impact on our people and a lot of people in communities outside our own.

Second, I would encourage, support and endorse the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. We have lost a lot of young people to out West. Our community — I do not want to make it, like I said, sound all roses and chocolates — welcomes these foreign people. We have a very active multi-cultural association. I was on the original board, and when we have multi-cultural festivities, typically, there are more Canadians there than foreigners because they want to talk to people, they love their food. In the workplace, they are very helpful, friendly.

In all my years as mayor, I have probably heard one or two negative, racist remarks — they don't want them here, they are taking someone's job. But they are not taking anyone's job. They are helping keep the industry going.

So, any way that you could streamline or enhance the Temporary Foreign Worker Program for this industry would be a help. I know that there have been problems with it nationally, through other industries, but that is not us. When you are looking at that program in your committees and hearing about some of these problems, it is not a ''one-size-fits-all.'' It might be for certain industries, but it certainly is not for our industry. So, I would encourage you to help them.

Third, I would ask that, through some sort of programming — I can't really speak to exactly how it could be fixed — we need help getting affordable housing so that these people can stay in our communities and live, work and play. We have a beautiful community. We have an exceptional school. We have parks, playgrounds, seniors complex, health centres, stores, you know, like a grocery store and a regular store with gas and what not, a couple of specialty shops. These people add to the fabric of our community.

For example, back in the late 1980s or early 1990s, Connors Brothers were one of the first people to bring in Vietnamese foreign workers. To this day, they are still in our communities. They have bought homes, they are great neighbours, and they have settled in Blacks Harbour. They have brought their family members from Vietnam or wherever they come from to reside in Blacks Harbour; so much so that we have had to have trilingual signs, for example, at our healthcare facility — French, English and Vietnamese. The people at the health centre approached the municipality; they wanted to know how many Vietnamese people were in our community. We had quite a few going through as outpatients, and we had no way of telling them because of confidentiality. We could not get the figures from the company and we could not access that information anywhere, so it was kind of hard. Eventually, we realized there were so many that we needed to have trilingual signs. You might see it in Ontario but you do not see it too often in southwestern New Brunswick.

In another effort, I was trying to help a Russian doctor to get her credentials here in Canada, and one of the things that surfaced was the fact that she could not access English language training unless she had status. We lobbied heavily and eventually succeeded in getting language training for foreigners who come, regardless of status. We do not care if they learn English and then go back; at least they have learned English while they're here. But while they're here, they can communicate at the grocery store, in a restaurant, and it makes them feel more welcome in the community just simply by being able to speak English. In my community, we had kids bringing forms to the school, trying to decipher government forms for their parents because their parents could not speak English and the kids were being taught it in school. When you have little seven-year-old Johnny and you have this form — and I couldn't even fill it out — we realized there is a problem. So, after we got the English language training for them, that is when we really started looking at having a multi-cultural association. It is the first in Charlotte County. Of course, I lobbied hard, I wanted it for my community, but it went to nearby St. George because of the numbers. It serves the whole of Charlotte County, St. Stephen and St. Andrews as well, but it is housed in St. George. Through that we have settlement services and other things and it is quite well utilized.

These are things that we have done trying to aid the industry in their problems and it would be great if you could help with the regulatory processes and the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. We don't have McDonalds and we don't have those kinds of businesses that were abusing the program. Aquaculture is not abusing that program, and the people, when they come, we love them and we love to have them and they love being here.

We have some who have started businesses and are opening and serving us through their efforts. Maybe their status had changed from temporary foreign worker to landed immigrant — I am not sure of the logistics there, but suffice it to say that they are an integral part of our community, we love having them and we do not have any kind of racism towards them. Most people are very welcoming.

Do you have anything to add to that, Stan?

Mr. Choptiany: Certainly the concept of regulations is front and centre, but the concept of regulations has to be balanced with food safety. If you are going to do a regulation, make sure that you understand the whole picture. There is much more than just one particular industry here. What affects herring, shrimp, lobster, seaweed or aquaculture are all slightly different, and you have to have a complete understanding of what you are regulating and how you are regulating so that there is not a negative impact. That food safety concept is big.

The second thing is what I have tried to say today: There is a synergistic, positive development when you have industry and research working hand-in-hand. It is better if they are working together and each one helps the other, but it is a mindset, not one or the other.

The third thing that I would add is that, in many ways, we already do have the best in the world in terms of aquaculture and science research and the work that is being done. We are not bragging enough. In the spring there was a world aquaculture conference at the Algonquin Hotel and I gave an opening address. I sat beside the fellow who was from Food and Agriculture of the United Nations. He is the head of aquaculture for the world. I thought that was pretty neat. It turns out my older son, who works with Food and Agriculture and is working right now in Africa, worked out of the same building in Rome as he did. I thought, ''Do you know my son?'' and then, ''Well, there are 7,000 people in that building,'' so I didn't. He came to St. Andrews because what we have done over the last 35 or 40 years is some of the best in the world. That needs to be celebrated, enhanced, promoted and supported. So, you support the industry, you support the people who are working with the industry. It is a good news story and it is a story that puts Canadian science and Canadian industry back on the world stage where it needs to be.

Senator Meredith: Thanks to both of you. I know there are challenges, but certainly I urge you to continue to move forward, and as we put our report together, we will absolutely ensure that we take these recommendations into consideration going forward.

Ms. James: I just wanted to add one more thing. Last year I accompanied industry officials to Scotland and Norway, and there we looked at Meridian Salmon Farms facilities, and another company there in Norway. As a mayor, I was really encouraged by the exchange of information and the close working relationships between the industry in my municipality and these ones overseas. They have many of the same challenges that we have here in terms of, for example salmon lice, but they have a natural predator — cutter fish I think they are called — that they can put right into the cage without using anything. It eats the lice off the fish and there are no pesticides or anything like that. When I spoke to the regulatory process and looking at these things, I understand that we cannot have them in Canada because they are not native to our waters. Yet, it is the same ocean, just the opposite side, and, in my mind, why can't we have these fish here? There are things like that and initiatives like that that we should, in my opinion, explore. I am not a scholar, but I would think that we would try to see best practices, what works over there might very well work over here and address some of the problems, but that goes back to the regulatory process that the aquaculture people have to go through. Anything that can be done to help them along that way would be most beneficial, not only to the industry but to the communities as well. Thanks.

The Chair: Thank you to our guests, and thank you to Senator Meredith. He is involved with youth advocacy. Certainly if he was in Blacks Harbour tonight, he would attend the youth group meeting this evening at 7 o'clock at the Wesleyan Church. I just wanted to let you know that and it is great to see that you are involved with the youth and bringing them together in the community. I think it is a great initiative.

I want to thank our guests for your contributions to the discussion here this afternoon. It is great for the perspective to hear from mayors of communities that are not directly involved in the industry but see the direct benefits they provide. It always does us well.

I would like to welcome our next panel of witnesses. We are delighted that you have taken the time to join us and to share with us your concerns and your ideas, or whatever you want to bring forward. Now is your opportunity.

I would ask that you introduce yourselves before we begin. I understand you have some opening remarks. We will begin with those, following which we will have questions from our senators.

William Ernst, as an individual: My name is Bill Ernst, Willy Ernst. I am a recently retired Environment Canada employee. During the approximately 34 years I worked with Environment Canada, I was responsible for primarily researching the fate and effects of toxic chemicals in the environment, including aquaculture chemicals. I also had some experience with the administration of environmental protection legislation, including the Environmental Protection Act and the Canada Fisheries Act.

Inka Milewski, Science Advisor, Conservation Council of New Brunswick: My name is Inka Milewski. I am the Science Advisor for the Conservation Council of New Brunswick. For the last 20 years I have been looking at the environmental impacts of finfish farms on the environment, as well as looking at regulations for the industry to make the industry more sustainable.

Jonathan Carr, Executive Director, Research and Environment, Atlantic Salmon Federation: Good afternoon. My name is Jonathan Carr. I am the Executive Director of the Research and Environment Department at the Atlantic Salmon Federation, located just outside of St. Andrews. One of my portfolios over the last 20 some years has been looking at interactions between wild and farm salmon.

The Chair: It looks like we have much experience at the table, so we are looking forward to hearing what you have to say. I am going to ask Ms. Milewski to take the floor.

Ms. Milewski: Again, thank you, Senator Manning, for this opportunity to speak today. As this venue has no services for projecting slides, I have printed the slides that I will be referring to in my brief opening statement.

By way of an introduction, I would like to say a few words about the Conservation Council of New Brunswick. We were founded in 1969. We are one of the two oldest citizen-based, non-profit environmental groups in Canada.

Since the beginning of aquaculture development in New Brunswick more than three decades ago, the Conservation Council has been pursuing a new framework for sustainable aquaculture; one that respects the limits of nature, does not degrade the ecosystem and is in harmony with other economic, social and cultural activities that use the same resources.

Let me say at the outset that we do not support the creation of a new federal aquaculture act. We do not believe it is the solution to the regulatory certainty and investment security that the aquaculture industry seeks. The aquaculture industry often blames in their words, and I am quoting Ruth Salmon from the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance in her opening remarks to you on June 4, 2013 in Ottawa. She said,

It is a complicated set of regulations that are reactive and inefficient that basically has flat lined growth in the industry.

We see no evidence that the aquaculture industry is over-regulated.

The first slide in your handout is a comparison of the Canadian federal acts regulating aquaculture in other resource sectors, such as forestry, mining and livestock operations and the acts regulating the aquaculture industry in Scotland. As you can see, aquaculture regulation is on par with the regulation of livestock operations in Canada, as we would expect given that salmon is a food like beef or pork and it requires regulations to protect consumer and animal health. In Scotland, aquaculture is regulated by both Scottish and U.K. legislation, as you heard from Willie Cowan, the head of Performance in Aquaculture in Scotland when he testified before this committee in Ottawa on June 12, 2014. Even though Scotland has an overarching national aquaculture and fisheries act much like our Fisheries Act, aquaculture is still governed by 15 acts and many government departments. They are also governed by European Union Legislation, as you will see in the next slide in this handout.

Provincially, aquaculture in Canada is governed by far fewer acts than either mining or forestry. Compared to livestock operations, there are 10 times the number of acts that govern livestock operations in Ontario, at least in Ontario, than aquaculture in New Brunswick. As you can see, there are 23 acts that govern livestock operations in Ontario. Aquaculture is governed by seven in New Brunswick. As for Scotland, aquaculture is subject to 29 European Union regulations and directives. Clearly, the aquaculture industry in Canada is not over regulated either federally or provincially.

Representatives of the aquaculture industry have tried to make the case that aquaculture development in Canada is important not only for creating rural employment, but globally in providing protein and feeding a hungry world. If you turn to the next slide, statistics from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization show that the majority of global protein comes from vegetables, followed by meat. Fish is a very small part of per capita protein consumption. Most of the fish is consumed in Europe, North America and Asia. Canadian farmed salmon or mussels are not going to feed the hungry in the food banks or people in Sub-Saharan Africa. The next slide shows you that fish consumption patterns in Canada are low relative to chicken, pork, beef. This really confirms the global trend that most protein that people consume around the world either comes from meat or vegetable protein.

As for creating rural employment, the next slide you will see illustrates that from 2007 to 2012, direct employment in aquaculture dropped 18 per cent while production increased 13 per cent. The industry is growing more fish with less people due to technological improvement that reduces the need for labour. No country has done this better than Norway. If you turn to the next slide, it takes about 6,000 Norwegians, a little more than the entire Canadian aquaculture workforce, to produce six times the amount of salmon that Canada produces. These figures were confirmed by Inger Elisabeth Meyer, the First Secretary for the Royal Norwegian Embassy when she appeared before this committee on June 5, 2014.

While the aquaculture industry promotes its employment generating capability, in reality, like all other businesses, the aquaculture industry is constantly looking for economic efficiencies to improve their profit margin. This can be seen in the next slide at the value of production, the cost of salary and wages in the industry. Between 2000 and 2012, the total value of the aquaculture production in Canada increased 37 per cent while the cost of salary and wages only increased 13 per cent.

I have carefully read the transcript of all the witnesses that have appeared before this committee. As hard as the aquaculture industry is pushing for an aquaculture act, not one representative of DFO, nor the minister, has proclaimed their support or endorsed the creation of a new act. What the minister said on February 25, 2014 before this committee was that her department was, ''working hard to resolve long-standing regulatory irritants to the industry and the provinces.''

She did not say that an aquaculture act was a solution to those irritants. The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans already has access to a wide range of powerful legislative tools to create efficiencies, effectiveness and fairness in regulating the aquaculture industry. One of those regulatory tools is the Oceans Act.

In 1997, Canada proclaimed the Oceans Act that authorized the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to lead and facilitate the development and implementation of plans for the integrated management of all activities affecting estuaries, coastal waters and marine waters. Integrated coastal planning is outlined in DFO's Ocean Strategy Framework Document which is much like the Scottish National Planning Framework, described by Willie Cowan in his earlier testimony to you.

As well, this committee heard testimony earlier this year from the Scottish and Norwegian representatives who said that coastal zone planning and the engagement of local authorities were the key to the development and regulation of aquaculture. Our recommendation to this committee is for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to act on the mandate given to her under the Oceans Act, and initiate an integrated management or planning process for coastal waters within the five already designated large ecosystem management areas that have been defined.

This is in the last slide. We believe that this would give the aquaculture industry what it wants; clarity, certainty and commitment without creating an entirely new regulatory framework. Similar to planning on land, coastal planning would set out strategic planning goals and objectives which would clarify development priorities. It would define suitable areas for development, thereby eliminating uncertainty about site availability and investment. Finally, it would address potential conflicts with other users and other regulatory agencies.

Thank you.

Mr. Ernst: I would like to state from the onset that I am not opposed to aquaculture and believe that it can be a sustainable industry and significantly contribute to the Canadian economy. I do believe however that some of the conflicts that the industry is currently creating with the co-users of the marine ecosystem and the degradation of public confidence in the regulation of this industry are a threat to that sustainability.

The following are some of my concerns which I believe should be addressed in any new aquaculture regulations. My concerns are primarily limited to the environmental implications of the use of pesticides and drugs in salmon aquaculture, some of which are outlined in more detail in the published paper that I provided earlier to the committee. Most of the pesticides used in aquaculture are designed to be toxic to crustaceans, which include the undesirable sea lice, but unfortunately include desirable species such as lobster. This means that there are chemicals that have higher risk and chemicals that have lower risk. All of the chemicals used or desired to be used have varying levels of toxicity to both the target and non-target organism. According to current practices, the pesticides that are used are not confined to the treatment sites and travel various distances after release before losing their toxic potential. Our research and that of others has found that some of the pesticides, such as Azamethiphos, are reduced to non-toxic levels within metres of net pens. However others, such as Deltamethrin, are not reduced to non-toxic levels until almost a kilometre away from single net pen treatments.

Research has also found there are ways of reducing the toxic potential of these chemical plumes depending on the method of treatment. For example, well boat treatment substantially reduces the zone of influence of these pesticide plumes compared with tarp net pen treatments by at least three times. All of this to say, there are currently known ways for the industry to substantially reduce the potential environmental effects of the pesticides used, yet the industry is not universally embracing these practices.

In contrast, at least one of the aquaculture operators, in fact one of the largest operators, undertook illegal pesticide use activities with a much more toxic pesticide, even when the evidence indicated that it was killing lobsters adjacent to the sites where it was used and affecting a commercial fishery. This does not seem to be the actions of an industry that can operate with minimal regulatory intervention.

It is very concerning to me as well, that the Federal Government I presume at the behest of aquaculture industry, currently has an initiative through the proposed aquaculture activity regulations to remove the over site currently provided by section 36 of the Fisheries Act. That section currently gives Environment Canada the authority to investigate aquaculture activities, and was recently used to punish illegal pesticide use activities in New Brunswick. It would seem that the government's response to discovering high risk and environmentally degrading illegal activities is simply to remove the legal obstacle.

It is also troubling to me that the research and monitoring capacity for toxic chemicals in the marine environment has been removed from Fisheries and Oceans and Environment Canada. Because Health Canada has no such capacity, this means that the real environmental effects of chemical use in the aquaculture industry will go unmeasured by any neutral public agency.

These are just some of the issues that I think will serve to increase the co-user conflict and public distrust of the aquaculture industry. Any new legislative initiative should recognize and address issues such as the lack of uptake on environmental risk reduction measures by the industry, the need for legal environmental investigation oversight and the need for government research and monitoring capacity by agencies with an environmental protection mandate.

Thank you for this opportunity to address the committee.

Mr. Carr: I am pleased to present on behalf of the Atlantic Salmon Federation, an international charitable organization dedicated to the conservation of wild Atlantic salmon in their ecosystems in a mission that ASF has carried out for 65 years. ASF is not against aquaculture, but it has got to be done in a more sustainable manner. ASF is here today because we are very concerned with the impacts of finfish farming that is conducted in open net cages in the ocean. Our written submission deals extensively with our concerns, our research and our proposed solutions. I urge the committee to read it.

Out of all the industry impacts, escapes from sea cages pose the biggest risk to wild Atlantic salmon. Large scale escapes are frequent occurrences in open pen fish farming and can happen throughout the routine handling, large scale events such as storms, structural failure and predation. We have partnered and peer reviewed research on the Magaguadavic River in New Brunswick, which is a North American index site for monitoring wild and aquaculture interactions. Scientific studies have documented successful spawning of farmed salmon and interbreeding with wild stocks in fitness reduction of wild salmon as a result of interbreeding.

I have got a deck of slides here. I will ask you to turn to page three where we have a graph. Our monitoring program allows us to count every wild and farm salmon that enter the Magaguadavic River since 1992. You will notice that farmed escapes entering the river have outnumbered annual wild Atlantic salmon returns in all but four years since their program began. If you look at the year 2005, you will see 69 escapee salmon were found in the river that year. Thirty of those fish we were able to match to a reported breach event of 50,000 fish. The other 39 fish and all the other escapees that you see on the graph came from unreported events. Very few of these fish are being reported. The majority are not being reported over the years.

The Royal Society of Canada cited the negative impacts of open pen salmon farms; such as sea lice infections and a lack of transparency of the industry in reporting diseases. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, known as COSEWIC, noted that growth of Canadian aquaculture industry has coincided with the severe decline of wild populations in nearby rivers in the Bay of Fundy. COSEWIC identifies salmon farming, which began in late 1970s in the Bay of Fundy, as a key threat to wild salmon populations in the bay. All Atlantic salmon population rivers near the mouths of open net pen fish farming industry have either been listed or assessed for listing as endangered or threatened.

We back up all of our statements with science; peer reviewed studies which are all publically available. We would be more than happy to share any of them with you. What we are finding is that industry and some officials in DFO have stated over the past few years that they have data to dispute negative interactions between wild and farm salmon. We have asked to see those papers and none has ever been produced or shown to us. I urge you to ask DFO and industry for those papers. We would really like to see them.

Beyond researching and proving the impacts, ASF is partnering with the Conservation Fund's Freshwater Institute, located in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, to develop solutions to the damage caused by the industry to wild salmon populations. We feel the ultimate solution is land based closed containment systems. On slides four and five, it gives you a summary of what we found through our studies with the Conservation Fund's Freshwater Institute. I will just mention a few of them. The Freshwater Institute facilities allow no escapes. There has been no need to use harsh chemicals to treat sea lice or antibiotics to treat disease. No need to compensate for disease outbreaks. No displacement of other industries such as wild fisheries and tourism. No threat to economic benefits generated by their industries.

Recently, three closed containment salmon farming operations — one being Kuterra out in B.C., which is operated by a First Nations group, another called Atlantic Sapphire in Denmark, and the third being the Conservation Fund's Freshwater Institute — achieved the top best choice, green, sustainability ranking by the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch Program and Vancouver's Aquarium Ocean Wise Program in their guides to consumers.

Closed containment systems need more support and funding from government to establish in Canada, at least as much incentive as the open net industry receives. Closed containment systems are at an economic disadvantage because much of their cost goes toward creating growing conditions that the ocean provides for free, including ocean water and waste dumping. In other words, the open net pen industry has the advantage because it is not required to pay for the environmental costs of using the ocean, which is a public resource. This leads to disease and parasite outbreaks, pollution of the ocean floor, displacement and killing of other sea creatures and risking the loss of livelihoods that depend on the healthy populations and their environment.

The open net pen industry is held to higher standards in the state of Maine compared to the rest of Eastern Canada. The salmon aquaculture industry came crashing down in Maine a few years ago because of disease and requirements of the Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Act. New practices that focus on escape prevention, reporting all salmon escapes, marking of all fish to trace escapees back to the net pens and third party audits were developed in consultation with the industry, government and conservation organizations. Their implementation has meant better control and tracking of escapes and control of parasites and disease. Since this program was implemented back in 2003 in the state of Maine, escapee salmon have been still showing up in some Maine rivers, but, through the genetic screening process, none of those salmon grown in the state of Maine have been linked back to the industry in Maine. Presumably, all these fish are coming from Canada, where we have no marking program.

The Doelle-Lahey expert panel recommended to the Nova Scotia government that the regulatory framework should be clear and explicit about the need for appropriate physical separation between marine based aquaculture in salmon rivers and known salmon migration routes, and should deal more extensively with the prevention of escapes in a matter that is equally as effective as the Maine system.

We have heard a lot about best practices today, this morning especially. There is a lot of talk, but what is needed is action to implement, regulate and enforce best codes of containment. Really, the only way to get there is by having all the stakeholders working together. My final slide, slide six, addresses some of the codes of containment that the ASF is recommending as part of moving forward. I have made reference to some of those in my talk.

In closing, I am providing ASF's main recommendations for action and hoping that you will read our brief that contains all of our recommendations and supporting evidence. The two recommendations we have in closing are: Number 1, in areas where open pen finfish aquaculture is now established, government should impose a moratorium on expansion of new leases until best practices and standards are implemented and regulations are enforced. Number 2, government should impose a moratorium on any future expansion of open pen finfish aquaculture to regions where the industry presently does not operate. What I mean there is areas like the Chaleur Bay, Miramichi Bay. We should not see aquaculture in those areas at all. For any expansion of aquaculture in those areas, we would recommend it being restricted to land based closed containment facilities.

Thank you for your time.

The Chair: Thank you all for another great perspective for us to delve into.

We are going to ask Senator Hubley, our deputy chair, to begin with questions.

Senator Hubley: Thank you for your presentations this afternoon.

Mr. Carr, your slide 6 says ''Propose standards to improve sea cage farming Code of Containment practices.'' Is that what you were referring to? I have no problem looking at the proposals that you are putting forward. I think it is going to ensure safety for the wild stock and allow I believe closed containment for aquacultures. Am I correct? Is that what you would like to see happen?

Mr. Carr: Yes. We are promoting closed containment for future expansion within the industry. We have been involved with the Conservation Fund's Freshwater Institute for about three and a half years now. When we first started our program with them, there was zero tonnage of salmon being produced at that time. We have had several workshops, up to six workshops over the last three and a half years. It went from 33 attendees from two countries to our last workshop a month ago, 180 attendees — international scale, a lot of people on the waiting list, ten different countries. Production has grown from zero to 8,000 metric tonnes of salmon. What we would like to see ultimately is a shift toward land based closed containment. This is still relatively new and it is going to take some time to get to large scale development. We understand that net pen sea cage operations are not going to be going away any time soon. What we need to do is find standards for best practices to at least minimize escapes from getting into the wild. That last slide is what we would like to see done to improve best practices. The recommendations on that slide are from a combination of other jurisdictions like Maine, Newfoundland, Norway, Scotland, areas throughout the world. That is what we would really like to see, working together to put in a plan not only for New Brunswick but pan-Atlantic. I know pan-Atlantic has been talked about before, and salmon have no borders when in the ocean.

Senator Hubley: You did not speak to any length on what an aquaculture act might look like or if there is a need for it. We have heard the evidence today that perhaps there is not a need for an aquaculture act. Do you see the possibility of legislation that addresses just the aquaculture industry?

Mr. Carr: No, I would tend to agree with Inka's statements on that subject.

Senator Hubley: Thank you very much.

Senator Stewart Olsen: I just have a few questions, more points of clarification. Ms. Milewski, your presentation gives us another view. I am wondering what you think of redesignating aquaculture as a farming agriculture? From what I gather, that seems to be the way the industry wants to go. The confusion of regulations is not so much the regulations themselves, but the fact that they address wild salmon and not farm salmon. Can you comment on that?

Ms. Milewski: Whether the aquaculture industry wants to call what they are doing agriculture or something else it really does not matter, but what does matter is that it takes place in coastal waters that are shared by other users. Because the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has a responsibility for managing marine waters and regulating activities that occur in public waters the aquaculture industry will always have to be regulated by the Fisheries Act.

I frankly am puzzled by why they want a separate aquaculture act. What in fact would that achieve? They can't possibly be exempt from the Fisheries Act and other acts pertaining to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Health Canada. It is just not clear why they want an aquaculture act. It is puzzling. I do not know why. That is why I am saying we do not support it because it would seem to be just another layer, another level of regulation because you don't have an act without having some regulations.

Senator Stewart Olsen: I did not get the impression from them that they did not want regulations. I got the impression that it is an industry that is evolving and this is one way they see as evolving it and making a successful industry. I take your point.

Ms. Milewski: I really have to say I'm puzzled by their language and their entire thesis that this is an industry that is evolving. It is an industry that is over 40 years old in Canada. It is quite mature. The aquaculture industry has said itself that they are really limited in terms of where they can grow in Canada. New Brunswick is tapped out, as you heard.

Senator Stewart Olsen: For finfish.

Ms. Milewski: For finfish, absolutely. They cannot be growing finfish in Prince Edward Island or the Bay de Chaleur because of the ice conditions. On the West Coast there is perhaps some room for growth. Nova Scotia, it is not clear what is going to happen there but it is where I have been doing quite a bit of research and the site suitability is very poor because of the shallow waters and poor current conditions. Virtually every farm site in Nova Scotia has exceeded the environmental guidelines for finfish aquaculture chronically. So that leaves maybe a little bit of growth in Newfoundland, but as the industry itself told you, there are only about four companies in Atlantic Canada and on the West Coast there are probably a few more, but they are all multi-nationals. Their ability to grow and expand is not limited by our regulations. It is not limited by investment in Canada. They are not limited by anything because clearly Cooke Aquaculture has moved to Chile, Spain and Scotland without any restrictions on investment in Canada.

Senator Stewart Olsen: Are you supportive of closed containment systems? You may have said so already and I missed it.

Ms. Milewski: Let me just say we are not opposed to aquaculture. We certainly believe that if an industry is occurring in public waters then it must be regulated to a very high standard as are other industries that operate in public waters. We do support moving aquaculture onto land because right now, as has been pointed out, the cost of production is really borne by the environment in terms of aquaculture, unlike say a pulp and paper mill which has to put in place treatment technology. The aquaculture industry simply disposes its waste at sea, and it is not inconsequential. A farm that is producing about 500 metric tonnes of fish, which is actually a very small farm, produces the equivalent waste, fecal waste and uneaten food, of about 100 metric tonnes. So a farm, say, in Nova Scotia that is producing a million fish is producing about 300 to 400 metric tonnes of waste.

Senator Stewart Olsen: I understand where you are coming from with this. It was not my impression that they wanted less regulation, they just wanted regulation appropriate to their industry. That is just my impression.

Ms. Milewski: Well, I read the transcripts and I have read the numbers. They talk about 70 regulations, 40 regulations. Their numbers are sort of wildly exaggerated. But, no, they have said that there are just too many regulations, and you heard it from one of the witnesses earlier, the Mayor of Blacks Harbour, words to the effect that those darn regulations that are getting in the way of our growth. The reality is the regulations are there to protect the public interest, the environment. We think there are, in fact, some huge gaps in terms of the activities that the aquaculture are doing on the water that are not regulated and do not have strong enough regulations; you say these control measures on escaped fish.

Senator Stewart Olsen: Mr. Carr, those points you have brought forward were very interesting for us to look at as well. My impression is, based on what we heard from the people in Scotland, was that they perhaps managed their industry. They focus their industry. They said this is something that would be good for Scotland for our rural communities. So let's sit down with everyone and do it right. Would you support that kind of approach rather than a piecemeal one? I am just trying to figure out how we can move forward with this industry but not at the expense of our land, our environment and everything else.

Mr. Carr: I do not know if I can address that fully, but I've heard this morning, and in reading the transcripts as well, that the industry does feel like it is being more restricted, particularly in the use of chemicals, than other industries in Canada. They usually state that they need more tools to do what is required to ensure animal health. My perspective in working with multiple industries in the country is that they are less restricted than others, for example, agriculture. Some of the chemicals that the aquaculture industry wishes to use for sea lice are so strong and of a high environmental risk that in agriculture they are restricted by buffer zones to keep them out of water, and yet the aquaculture industry is desiring, and actually allowed in some instances, to deposit these chemicals directly into water. So they are not being more restricted than other industries. They are, in fact, being less restricted particularly with chemical use. I think that partly goes to your question.

Senator Stewart Olsen: It does. It goes to the whole view, our hearings here and listening to everyone's point of view, that there is a danger and that we have to be careful about proceeding. I certainly get that from you all, and I thank you very much for your input and your views.

Senator Poirier: Mr. Ernst, just going back to your presentation, in the third paragraph, you mention your primary concern, that you believe there should be addressed in any new legislation measures to protect the environment against implications from the use of pesticides in salmon aquaculture. Then at the end, the last paragraph, you also mentioned again that you felt that there was currently known ways for the industry to substantially reduce the potential environmental effects of the pesticides yet the industry is not universally embracing those pesticides. Then on the documents that we received from the Conservation Council there is a list of different regulations or laws or acts that exist already. Do I understand from what you are saying here that there is no legislation right now strong enough to address the concerns that you are looking at in the ones that are listed here?

Mr. Ernst: No, I think there is very good legislation now. The Canada Fisheries Act is very good legislation as it pertains to the deposit of deleterious substances. Now it does not address some of the other issues, escapements or genetic pollution from that regard, but it does from a chemical point of view. My worry, and I bring it up in the presentation, is that there appears to be an effort underway to reduce or eliminate that oversight ability, and I think that is a poor direction to go because if that direction is taken I think the public confidence in the whole process is going to be weakened. I think public confidence is as much a limiter to the expansion of aquaculture as is any regulatory requirements or gaps or limitations.

Senator Poirier: Do you feel the existing regulations that are in place or the acts that are in place now are monitored closely enough?

Mr. Ernst: I believe that the Canada Fisheries Act, which is the only act that I have experience with, I don't have provincial experience, but the Canada Fisheries Act, yes, can be used adequately to look at the environmental implications of these activities. And it was very useful and instrumental in going forward with a court case was important in southwestern New Brunswick.

Senator Poirier: Okay. Thank you.

Senator Meredith: Thank you for your presentations. I agree with Senator Stewart Olsen in that we have to go cautiously and we ensure that we are protecting the environment.

Ms. Milewski, I saw your passion in this and we also hear it from the industry. We have been hearing from them over several hearings as to their progress and what they want with respect to a separate act that governs their activities. The fact is that they want regulations, obviously. We would be foolish as a government to allow just a carte blanche operation in our country.

Have you sat down with them? You said you were surprised and what have you, so I am curious as to the passion that you bring to this discussion. I believe in dialogue. Have you discussed with them their ideas and, if so, how have you been able to refute those ideas, given the fact that economically the industry has flatlined at a time when there is an opportunity for great growth. We saw this yesterday in Gaspé. We heard today from witnesses and industry in terms of the shortage that they are having, potential in the finfish industry as well as the shellfish industry. So there is a balance here. How do we find that equilibrium moving forward? You are purporting that section 29 of the Fisheries Act should govern their activities or that the minister should rule under that section; she has powers enough to rule. So where do we find the balance?

Ms. Milewski: I have been a witness and a researcher to the rise of aquaculture in southwest New Brunswick since the early 1980s. I think it is really important to know some of that history. They brought aquaculture into Canada to grow salmon because it was seen as a way to take pressure off the wild stocks. By the mid-1980s a moratorium was put in place on the wild Atlantic salmon commercial fishery in the Bay of Fundy because the stocks had declined so dramatically. They went to Norway in the mid to late 1970s to look at what the Norwegians were doing in terms of growing salmon in net pens. What a novel idea. So they brought back to New Brunswick that idea and they thought that they could do it in the Bay of Fundy. They did a test run of it, put out a net pen, grew some salmon, grew about three or four thousand fish and thought it was a great idea. At the same time, because there was a moratorium on the commercial fishery, they also saw it as a way that maybe these coastal people could still work on the water. So the rationale for growing farmed salmon in Atlantic Canada was, one, to provide employment, and, two, to take the pressure off the wild stocks. Originally there were a lot of mom and pop operations. There were at one point in southwest New Brunswick 23 different companies growing farmed salmon. It was a gold rush. Today there are four companies. One that is the dominant player is a multi-national. Those mom and pop operations are gone. The number of people versus production has declined. You heard that in Blacks Harbour they cannot get any workers. If the industry is in such need of workers how come these young people are going out West? Why are we bringing in foreign labourers? I mean, there seems to be a mixed message there.

The fact is, as you also heard, it is hard work and it is not well paying work. It is not enough to buy a house on and support a family on if you're a single income family. It is very hard. The growth potential is just not there in New Brunswick. The industry has told you it is not there. Where is the growth potential for aquaculture? It is perhaps in shellfish, but it is a completely different industry than finfish aquaculture.

Canada is just a minute player in aquaculture, like 0.02 per cent of global production. Most aquaculture in the world is seaweeds and mussels, it is not fish. It is fresh water aquaculture grown in ponds; tilapia, catfish.

So, again, we talk about what the industry talks a lot about. I have a 30-year history with this industry, and I have talked to these people.

Senator Meredith: Your message isn't getting through?

Ms. Milewski: Well, who am I? I am just the science advisor and a researcher for the Conservation Council of New Brunswick. Clearly the industry has got a plan. Their plan is quite clear. They want an aquaculture act. Why they want an act I do not know. I really do not know. What got aquaculture started in Canada was a tremendous infusion of federal money, millions and millions of dollars. They are trying to protect a business model. The aquaculture industry in Canada has a business model that is the envy of any industry. You get sick fish we will ask you to slaughter them and we will compensate you to the tune of $19 million. When ISA broke out in Atlantic Canada the federal government came in and compensated them to the tune of $19 million for slaughtering their fish.

Senator Meredith: But that goes for the agriculture sector as well, that there are some diseases with cows or with chicken farms.

Ms. Milewski: That is true, but what is the risk to the industry? You get a disease and you get compensated for it. They have set up research chairs, they have received millions of dollars.

You heard from Thierry Chopin about integrated multi-trophic aquaculture. I participated in a science review in 2012. DFO ran a science review on the effectiveness of integrated multi-trophic aquaculture. Our conclusion, there is no evidence that it works. Yes, you can grow mussels and, yes, you can grow seaweeds, but it is not doing the job that it is expected to do which is to remove and take up the waste. Our conclusion in that report was there is no evidence that growing mussels next to salmon farms actually improves environmental quality around those fish farms. There is no evidence. The seaweeds will grow. The mussels will grow. But are they making a dent in this huge volume of waste that is being produced? Our answer was no.

Senator Meredith: What about the economic benefits of the seaweed, the medical, the health, the protein?

Ms. Milewski: We have seaweed growing. Again, we are such a tiny player. In terms of seaweed production in Canada, if finfish is .002, then seaweed is .000002 because China is leading the pack. Our production in Canada is tiny, minuscule when compared.

Senator Meredith: So what are you saying? Let's not even explore it, let's not even look at the opportunities, the economic sustenance of providing potential jobs for Canadians?

Ms. Milewski: The jobs argument is not there either. The production has increased and the jobs have decreased because of technological improvements and efficiencies. These are DFO statistics that I have used in these graphs. Production has increased, jobs have decreased. Salary and wages have risen 1 per cent a year over the last 13 years while production has tripled. So that view does not hold.

You heard about the jobs. The Mayor of Blacks Harbour says they are bringing in foreign labour.

Senator Meredith: Isn't that a good problem though, that the industry is saying, ''We want to grow, we have 350 employees and we want to go to 400 because we have orders coming in and we want to be able to satisfy those orders but we need more workers.'' Is that not a good problem?

Ms. Milewski: Shelburne Harbour, Nova Scotia, is a place where I have a research project over the last three years. I have been monitoring the recovery of the sea bottom under a fish farm. Two years after the fish have been harvested the bottom is still toxic and dead. In Shelburne Harbour, two or three years ago, in maybe 2011, the multinational Cooke Aquaculture, Kelly Cove Salmon came in and said to those people, ''We are going to build a processing plant here. We are going to grow so many fish.'' That processing plant has not materialized and is not expected to materialize until maybe 2018.

I think what really needs to happen, and this is where I come from as a scientist working with data — I work with hard data, not with what, might, possibly, maybe, or if. Show me the data. Show me the data around the growth in employment. I do not see it. The growth in salary and wages, I do not see it. I see production increasing and I see the increasing amount that the industry is making, but it is not going to salary and wages. I do not see this incredible demand for protein from salmon in the world. I have not seen a single salmon in a food bank. I have not seen the salmon being shipped to Sub-Saharan Africa to feed the poor. Salmon is going to feed us tubby North Americans and Europeans. That is where it's going.

This is an industry that is making 52 per cent return on its investment. DFO contracted a firm because they held a special science review on the value or the importance of the economics of closed containment aquaculture compared to open net pen aquaculture. The return on investment is 52 per cent. I would like that kind of return on my money.

Senator Meredith: Is the return 52 per cent on closed containment?

Ms. Milewski: No, it's much lower. It is about 10, 15 per cent. So which model Would you like as a business person? Remember they are business people first and they are interested in making money. At 52 per cent return on your investment, that's a great model to hang onto. That is why there is a resistance to moving these operations on land where there are going to have to pay the full cost of production which is treating their waste —

Senator Meredith: As well as the energy costs, the space.

Ms. Milewski: That's right. They have to treat their waste. They are not allowed to just dump it into the ocean. They are not allowed to take their chemicals and just allow them to plume out into the waters and potentially affect other fisheries. This is about fairness. If we want fair regulations on an industry then we need to apply that fairness that we apply to pulp and paper mills, to sewage plants, to finfish farms. If we want to be fair then we force them to look after their waste, and the only way they are going to do that is to move it on land.

Senator Meredith: Mr. Carr or Mr. Ernst, do you want to weigh in on this at all?

Mr. Carr: I will just add a couple comments with respect to the non-resident workers, as the Mayor of Blacks Harbour was saying. We have a lot of non-residents living in St. George, the community where I live. Across the street from me, for instance, there are four families in one house. The unemployment rate is really high in Charlotte County. Most people are going out West to work. The turnaround in terms of employment in sea cages is very high. The people working in the sea cages in many respects are kids who did not graduate from high school. The wages are really low. The non-residents are coming in, not because there are so many jobs available that we are saturated, but because people won't work for that wage.

Senator Meredith: It is no different in the agricultural industry. For example, in Ontario we take 6,000, 7,000 migrant workers from the Caribbean every year to work in the apple groves and the wineries.

When I look at an industry with a labour force, and if particular Canadians do not want to do that particular job, then in order for that industry to grow or that business to survive they have to find means and ways to satisfy that shortage. There is now a moratorium because there was abuse in our system. Hopefully that moratorium will come off shortly so people can get back to work, the agriculture industry, for example, to be able to get those workers.

I mean, the measure is supportive of an industry because we are talking about jobs. This is, again, a big industry. They are down to four major players in Canada, but again, still providing jobs for thousands of people.

Mr. Carr: That is understood, but that said Inka mentioned 52 per cent profit. If wages were higher people would probably work for the industry. I mean 52 per cent is just unheard of.

Senator Meredith: Maybe we will regulate that rate. How is that?

Mr. Carr: Maybe. With land-based closed containment it is going to require skilled workers. Somebody was mentioning earlier today about community colleges and universities getting involved. At the workshops we have been to recently, farmers who are up and coming are saying they don't have people to work for them because they are unskilled with respect to the new technology, and these are high paying jobs. So that is something that will bring new economic revenue to New Brunswick and to Atlantic Canada if we have those folks trained.

Just one final comment with respect to the higher start-up costs associated with closed containment. From the models we have looked at the operational costs are pretty close to being even with net pens once you get up and running. It is the capital costs that are expensive. They are going to come down with time. Inka referred to a report that the feds had put out, but there are a lot of things lacking in that report. For instance, with land-based closed containment you would not have any sea lice problems. Hundreds of millions of dollars spent annually on sea lice research, why not put that money into start-up capital for closed containment, things like that. There are all kinds of other examples I could give you, but that is just one which I think is just unheard of.

Mr. Ernst: I have nothing to add to that line of questioning. I do have another point I would like to raise, if that line of questioning is over.

Senator Meredith: If the chair permits us.

The Chair: Go ahead and make your point.

Mr. Ernst: We heard several times this morning about the industry requesting new tools and the research that would go into developing those tools. Yet it seems strange to me that there is a facility in this province that could do that but that is being unused, a very new facility. The capacity to use it has been taken out of Fisheries and Oceans. The question was asked why that happened. I do not know. Probably nobody could say for sure here, but my suspicion is that the chemical research that was coming out of those facilities through the toxicology labs and what not was not welcome information. It is very shortsighted to eliminate that kind of capacity because I am sure you have heard that this industry is not big enough in its market to warrant the typical R&D effort that goes into chemical development for pesticides to treat sea lice or whatever. If that is not being done by the industry we are stuck with the old tools that are off the shelf when we could be moving into newer, less risky tools if we maintained that research capacity within our government agencies and publicly funded this.

That is my two cents.

The Chair: Thank you. It has been an interesting discussion and certainly we are receiving a variety of opinions as we travel across this country. It may be worthwhile someday to organize a round table where we have people of differing views in a room at the same time and to see how that would fall out. That is something we can explore. We just have to determine a site.

I certainly want to thank you for your time. Your views are very useful to our discussions. I have said to many other witnesses before, and certainly I want to say to yourselves, who seem to have followed our discussions very thoroughly having listened to your comments today, that if there is anything that you see in the future that you think we should be made aware of, that you want to dispute or give a different opinion to, feel free to send it to the committee. We welcome all opinions. It is a major industry in our country and we certainly are having a thorough look at it. It is people like yourselves that add to that discussion and that debate.

(The committee adjourned.)

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