The owners of an aquaculture enterprise in Stephenville say there is no need for them to add more sea cages to correspond with a planned expansion of their hatchery.
Northern Harvest Smolt, an affiliate of Marine Harvest, has registered plans to modernize and expand on the land-based salmon hatchery with the provincial government for environmental assessment.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Coalition for Aquaculture Reform, a group opposed to the project, issued a press release earlier this week that alleged Marine Harvest was illegally splitting the project by not also registering plans to expand its marine-based farming operations.
According to the coalition, any accompanying plans to expand farming operations have to be included with the registration documents outlining the hatchery expansion. In its press release, the group urged the provincial government to reject the registration of the hatchery and require Marine Harvest to re-register the whole project.
The Western Star asked Marine Harvest for an interview in response to the allegations levelled by the Newfoundland and Labrador Coalition for Aquaculture Reform.
No interview was granted, but in an emailed reply, the company said its only expansion plans are for the hatchery. The company said it has no plans to pursue any other expansion plans, including no further plans to expand sea cage sites beyond the current licensed sites that have been issued to the company.
Salmon smolt from that facility will be transported to farms that are already licensed to Northern Harvest Sea Farms, another affiliate of Marine Harvest, through provincial and federal processes.
The smolt will be shipped off to the licensed marine-based farms located in bays along Newfoundland’s south coast from Harbour Breton to Rencontre West, the company noted.