GRIEG has finally received clearance to proceed with its planned $250-million aquaculture project in the Placentia Bay area of Newfoundland.
As part of the project, Grieg NL Nurseries, part of the Norwegian owned Grieg group, wants to farm salmon off the coast near the town of Marysport. It had received approval, but following objections from anti-aquaculture groups the Supreme Court later ruled it should not go ahead until a comprehensive environmental review had been carried out.
But in the past few days Newfoundland’s Environment Minister Andrew Parsons has released the project from the environmental assessment process after Grieg’s Environmental Impact Statement was found to be acceptable. Parsons says the Grieg proposal has received more scrutiny than any other similar project.
Grieg NL’s General Manager Knut Skeidsvoll said: “This project release is a significant milestone in the company’s development and business plans.
“The project release will allow the company to complete the permit and license applications process and regulatory approvals required to start construction of the land-based Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS) Hatchery for Atlantic Salmon in the Marystown Industrial Park, planned for this fall, and to initiate processes for procurement and installation of equipment of the marine-based farms in Placentia Bay.
He added: The project represents a significant investment of $250 million in the rural economy of Newfoundland and Labrador, particularly around Placentia Bay and the Burin Peninsula, in employment and procurement. Grieg NL is a willing partner with the provincial Government in its strategy for advancing aquaculture with the goal of increasing salmon production to 50,000 metric tonnes annually, and doubling employment in an industry that is both year-round and long-term.”
The news has been widely welcomed in Marysport where it is expected to create at least 250 new jobs. The town sees it as helping to make for the economic losses from the decline in traditional fishing activities over the past few years.
Mark Browne, a member of the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly, said: “This is an important step in the evolution of this aquaculture project, which will result in hundreds of jobs from both the project itself and the related supply industries.
He added: “Having a land-based hatchery in Marystown with adjacent marine sites in Placentia Bay will transform our local economy in a positive way. Stability and continuity will mean jobs at home for many people.
Fellow assembly member Carol Anne Haley said: “We have overcome a huge hurdle in the on-going process of establishing Grieg SeaFarms as a major player in the economy of the areas and indeed, the whole province.”
Perry Power of Grieg said the company was now working to start on the first groundwork stages of the project with one contract already awarded. However, it was likely to be a while yet before the first fish are produced.