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Proposal For Rockweed Harvesting In Lunenburg County Must Be Restarted Due To Error In Public Notice



An application in progress by Scotia Garden Seafood Inc. to renew an existing lease for rockweed harvesting in Lunenburg County for 15 years is invalid and must be restarted as a result of an error in their public notice, reopening a period where the public will be able to make objections to the application.

On Dec. 5, the Kingsburg Coastal Conservancy (KCC) called for immediate public action in response to the Yarmouth company’s proposed lease.

Scotia Garden Seafood Inc. of Yarmouth announced their intention in late November to make an application to the Nova Scotia Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture to harvest rockweed for a period of 15 years along the shore from East Point Island to Gaff Point.

Environmental concerns at the centre of objection

In a newsletter message, the KCC raised a number of environmental concerns regarding the application. 

They highlight that rockweed provides an underwater forest that provides habitat for a variety of birds and underwater species, and pose the question: “We now know that seaweeds are powerhouse carbon sequesters. What impact will the continued harvesting of this species have on Nova Scotia’s ability to sequester carbon as we move further into the age of climate change?”

“We feel it is vitally important to further consult with the public and communities that could be impacted before issuing a 15-year harvesting lease,” wrote KCC.

See their full release below.

In response to KCC’s letter, Scotia Garden Seafood Inc. shared this letter with The Barnacle.

“The provision of 15-year leases for management of the rockweed resource permits the company to have long-term sustainable management plans. It is very much in its interest to carefully harvest the resource for both the benefit of the company and its responsibility for ecosystem sustainability,” says the letter.

“Short-term leases do not promote the development of long-term plans. This new application for lease 6046 is essentially a renewal of lease 6015, which Scotia Garden Seafood has held for the past 15 years in the same area.”

To apply to renew their rockweed harvesting lease in this area, Scotia Garden Seafood published a public notice on Nov. 29 in the LighthouseNow newspaper and the Nova Scotia Royal Gazette announcing their intent.

(Photo contributed)

Date error invalidated initial public notice, Scotia Garden Seafood needs to publish another notice

The Barnacle has learned that Scotia Garden Seafood will need to publish another public notice as a result of a date error in their Nov. 29 notice.

The application process for a rockweed harvesting lease says a Notice of Application containing the upcoming date of the actual application shall be published “in a newspaper having a general circulation in the county or counties to which the area is contiguous, and in the Royal Gazette, not less than 10 days before the date of application.”

The notice of application, as it was published on Nov. 29, says that their formal application will happen on Nov. 23, which was a week before the notice was published.

Based on when the notice was published, the soonest date for a formal application would have been 10 days after the notice was published on Nov. 29, which is Dec. 9.

The Barnacle reached out to the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture for comment on whether this error invalidates the notice of intent to apply for the lease.

JoAnn Alberstat, Communications Advisor with the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, responded via email on Dec. 11, confirming that this error does invalidate the public notice.

“There was a date error in the public notice published by the company on Nov. 29 and it was not clear that their notice was for an application to reissue a lease. The company will re-publish their notice and include more information on their plan to continue harvesting while also protecting the marine environment,” writes Alberstat.

“The seven-day public comment period (that is part of our process) will begin when the updated notice is published. This feedback, and the feedback we’ve already received, will be considered in making a decision.”

Rockweed has been sustainably harvested in Nova Scotia since 1959 and supports hundreds of jobs in rural Nova Scotia,” adds Alberstat.

The KCC’s letter says, “There is a lack of understanding of what the actual regrowth rate is for rockweed. Annual landings have been steadily increasing over the years, and unlike commercial wild-catch-fin-fisheries, there are no government observers stationed on small harvesting boats or at docks to ensure sustainable harvesting and conservation measures are taking place. In short, there is a generalized lack of oversight and the industry is monitored by itself.”

As of press time it is unclear when Scotia Garden Seafood’s new notice will be published. The Nova Scotia Royal Gazette, which must carry the new public notice, is published weekly on Wednesdays.


Comments

One response to “Proposal For Rockweed Harvesting In Lunenburg County Must Be Restarted Due To Error In Public Notice”

  1. We, the Lunenburg lobster fishing fleet strongly apposes the destruction of our local underwater breeding grounds. This is where the lobster larvae starts it life cycle and is where juvenile lobsters, crabs etc habitate in there early years. It is criminal to destroy this.

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