GBA Update Fall 2018

12 ≥ GBA UPDATE Fall 2018 AQUACULTURE G BA’s Aquaculture Committee has refined its strategy to step up efforts to draw public attention to the threat that open net fish farms pose to public waters. The GBA Board endorsed this new thrust at its September meeting. GBA has been active on the issue of open net pen aquaculture operations in Georgian Bay and the North Channel polluting our waters for over 18 years. Despite significant pressure from the industry for expansion, our submissions have helped to effectively stall any significant increase in food quotas or new facilities for non-indigenous operations. There have been several new First Nation-owned farms built over this period. In addition our work may have influenced the Ontario Ministry of Environment (MOE) to more thoroughly assess the negative environmental impact of fish farm operations. We believe their concerns on the degradation of public waters have helped rein in potential expansion. In the past, operations at both LaCloche Channel and Grassy Narrows were closed down by MOE due to water contamination problems, but are still releasing phosphorous and overloading nutrients in those near shore locations from the manure piles under the two locations. Overall, progress on dealing with aquaculture operations has been limited, as government policy has not changed significantly. More public pressure to reduce the pollution caused by these operations needs to be applied. GBA has taken the stance that the Lake Wolsey fish farm (in a Manitoulin Island embayment off the North Channel) must be closed due to ongoing blue-green algae outbreaks that are mainly caused by the fish farm, as reported in the Spring issue of UPDATE . MOE continues to stall on complying with GBA’s Freedom of Information Act requests for full access to reports that we know show the scope of the problem in Lake Wolsey and the reasons for it. We expect to receive the reports shortly, or will take action to require compliance. GBA’s primary strategy in the short term is to GBA Strengthens Strategy on Aquaculture Operations By Rupert Kindersley, Executive Director Aquaculture operations map – North Channel and Georgian Bay. Meeker’s Aquaculture, Lake Wolsey, North Channel