Friday, February 19, 2010

So Who is Gail Shea Really Huffing and Puffing For?

Our minister of destroying our fisheries and oceans, Gail Shea; is talking tough these days.

In her ongoing war against Denmark over shrimp quotas, she has now closed our harbour to the Danes who refused to comply with her demands.

The over fishing of shrimp is damaging the ecosystem and Gail will have none of that.

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha ... Sorry, but that's just too funny.

Suggesting that Shea cares about our ecosystem is like saying that Stephen Harper cares about women and children. We're not buying it.

So what is this really about? Two words: Shrimp Farms.

Once you understand neoconservatism, you start to look at government decisions through the neocon lens. Since multinationals are always given first priority, and citizens are not even on the radar, you go to who will benefit from cutting out smaller companies or nations from the industry.

And you don't have to look too far to find a winner. In the same way that salmon farms in B.C. are destroying salmon fishing, it would appear that our shrimp industry may be about to take a huge hit.

A Taiwanese company has already been granted a licence to operate a closed-system tropical shrimp farm in B.C. ' ... and plans to expand its aquaculture business in the province and beyond'.

Alberta is also in the process of developing shrimp farms and the Government of Canada has given a grant of $124,536 to Clear Flow Consulting Inc. to assist.

Its technologies help to remove metals, sediment, phosphorus, nitrogen, and ammonia contamination from ponds, streams and rivers. The firm is also developing technologies for treatment of wastewater from fish and shrimp farms before the water is discharged into the ocean.

But it's another company jumping into the shrimp farming business that gives me concern. Compass Group USA. They have the contract to supply food and cleaning services to Fort McMurray of the tar sands, and were charged recently with dumping under treated waste water into the Athabasca River.

Oilsands giant Suncor and two of its contractors each faced dozens of charges in early 2008 in connection with allegations of dumping undertreated waste water into the Athabasca River and providing false or misleading information to the province about it ... The charges, which were laid in February 2008 under Alberta's Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, related to the monitoring of waste water from a Suncor-owned work camp that houses up to 3,500 people at the company's operations north of Fort McMurray, Alta.

The treatment plant operator, Rodney McCabe, and his company, R&D McCabe Ltd., were each charged with 90 counts, while Suncor and Compass Group were each charged with 43 counts.

So when Compass Group USA announces that they will be implementing a new control system for purchasing farm-raised shrimp to 'harness the power of the marketplace to create real change that translates into healthy oceansfish...', I'm not overly convinced. Harnessing the power of the marketplace, yes? Concern for protection of the waterways, not so much.

Any escalation of a shrimp farming industry will be devastating to the environment and our beautiful coastlines.

And since Denmark shrimp catches only account for about 1% of what is currently being brought out of the ocean, why all the hubbub? The Danes won't fish less, they'll just take their catches elsewhere.

So maybe it's not about Denmark at all, but about eliminating the domestic competition:

Canada's decision to close its ports to Faroese and Greenland shrimp vessels in retaliation for overfishing hasn't been well-received in two eastern Newfoundland communities. People in the towns of Bay Roberts and Harbour Grace, where Faroese fishermen have unloaded their catches and resupplied their vessels for close to 50 years, say closing their harbours will do nothing but hurt the local economy.

"That's tonnage we won't have available to our workers. Our suppliers of fuel, suppliers of packaging, all suppliers, taxi drivers, everything," said David Moores, who operates Harbour International, a company that services Faroese boats when they call into Bay Roberts

Create devastation in local economies, then bring in the multi-nationals to save the day.

I guess we'll have to wait and see how this plays out, and with a government that likes to work in absolute secrecy, we'll have to dig for answers. But look for news that Gail Shea is attending a shrimp farm trade show in Taiwan. Just keep her away from the coastlines.



  1. Thanks for the Catch 22 plug Emily.
    Preview - Both Gail Shea and Peter Braid will appear on the draft, vulnerable list that will be released within the next week.

    Excellent blogging!

  2. Perfect. Let me know when you have it so I can link it here. Isn't online activism fun?