Grand Manan – A multi-year study carried out at a salmon site off Grand Manan has shown that fish farming has not had a negative impact on the amount of lobster in the area.
Tara Daggett, a senior marine environmental biologist with Sweeney International, the marine environmental company based in St. Stephen, explained that the study was conducted over a period of eight years in total.
“We went back to the same location year after year. There was two years of pre-production data before the site was put in which was part of the eight.
“We started in 2008 and we did two years of surveys. These were done in the summer time, in August and September, pre-production when there was no gear on site then we did two full three-year production cycles of study.
“The overall trend was lobster was increasing which is exactly the trend in LFA (Lobster Fishing Area) 38 so aquaculture is not making the numbers go down.
“The only thing we can say is we are not finding any negative effect and are not seeing any decrease in lobster counts. There is an increase in the lobster population in general in LFA 38 and we are not seeing any effects of the site that are changing that.”
The study is now complete, said Daggett, who explained that the reason it was carried out was because it was mandated by the federal government for the leasing of the site.
She said for the first five years, it was a federal requirement of the lease for the site then, when the site owners requested a production increase, it became a provincial government requirement for another three years.
“When the owners applied for a site increase the federal government requirement had been fulfilled but the province wanted to make sure the increase would not have any negative effect so they required another survey for the next three years.
“One of the major things to note is that this is a very well run aquaculture site. They do environmental monitoring every year and it has always met the environmental quality objectives. The sea floor is healthy.”