Kelly Cove Salmon Ltd. pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act. Its illegal use of a pesticide contributed to substantial lobster kills in southwestern New Brunswick. The court ordered Kelly Cove Salmon Ltd. to pay a total of $500,000, one of the largest and most significant penalties ever levied in Canada under the Fisheries Act.
$50,000 of the penalty will go to the Environmental Damages Fund, another $250,000 will be directed towards scholarships, another $100,000 will be directed in support of environmental studies and research projects, and the remaining $100,000 is the court fine.
Kelly Cove Salmon Ltd. pleaded guilty to releasing cypermethrin into fish-bearing waters in southwestern New Brunswick. Cypermethrin is an agricultural pesticide that is not permitted for use in marine environments because of its proven toxicity to crustaceans, including lobsters and shrimp. Kelly Cove used the pesticide to address a major sea lice infestation in their salmon farm, knowing that it was illegal to do so. Sea lice is a serious pest of open water fish farms, and also one of their major threats to wild fish stocks.
On November 19, 2009, Environment Canada was informed that lobster fishers in southwestern New Brunswick were finding dead and dying lobsters in their traps. Environmental Enforcement officers subsequently collected samples of the affected lobsters from Grand Manan and Deer Island, as well as fish, mussels and kelp in the areas where the lobsters were found. These samples were sent to Environment Canada’s lab in Moncton for forensic analysis. Results proved the dead lobsters collected in Grand Manan and Deer Island were exposed to cypermethrin.
An intensive two-year investigation by Environment Canada’s enforcement officers and Atlantic Laboratory for Environmental Testing resulted in this successful prosecution. Another reason for caution about farmed salmon.