9mar2012: Nova Scotia fisheries and aquaculture minister Sterling Belliveau is facing widespread criticism for suggesting Thursday that the outbreak of infectious salmon anemia at a Cooke Aquaculture operation in Shelburne Harbour, N.S. - and the federal quarantine and forced slaughter of up to 200,000 salmon - is "a normal business day," in the industry in Nova Scotia.
Call him irresponsible
In an interview with Canadian Press, Rob Johnson, aquaculture co-ordinator for the Halifax-based Ecology Action Centre, said of Belliveau's comments, "That's reprehensible. We've seen this virus break out in New Brunswick, it's wiped out the industry in Chile and it's a tremendous threat to the marine ecosystem."
Johnson said the virus could be spread to wild Atlantic salmon, which are already an endangered species. He called Belliveau's comments irresponsible and ill-informed.
Belliveau is no stranger to outrageous comments regarding portfolios under his supervision.AS environment minister in 201o, Belliveau was the government point man in the battle being waged about the Dexter government's intention to allow oil and gas drilling on the valuable Georges Bank fishing grounds. Just hours before the massive and deadly Deepwater Horizon disaster, Belliveau told a house committee that "Modern technology was so good, it would be virtually impossible to have a blowout."
Belliveau also told news media that, based on scientific information, salmon farms pose no threat to lucrative lobster industry. In a recent response to a freedom of information request for any science of that nature, Belliveau's staff replied that they had no such science on hand.