In the April 24 edition of the Coaster fishers Ben Simms and Newman Short, both fishers in Connaigre Bay, voiced their concerns about the two aquaculture sites which have been approved in the bay. The Coaster, in its role in providing balanced reporting, promised to contact a lobster harvester in Belleoram and in Pools Cove and see if they have the same fears as those in Connaigre Bay.
Glenn Savoury , a 42 year old lobster harvester in Belleoram, has been fishing lobster for 14 years, and he does not work in the aquaculture industry. “Aquaculture has been here in Belleoram for six years, and I can say that the relationship I have with them is good,” Mr. Savoury said. “I would say that my catch is up since they came here, and the quality of the lobsters has not changed. When the cages are dormant (fallow), my catch is down; when the cages are full, my catch is up. I have some of my pots near the cages, and sometimes the wind and tides get them tangled in their moorings. When this happens, their divers will untangle the pots for me.”
Mr. Savoury went on to say that once when Cooke Aquaculture towed away two of his pots when they were moving cages, they gave him back five new pots. “They have done nothing wrong to me”, he concludes.
In Pools Cove the Coaster spoke to Simeon Caines who has been a lobster fisherman for 30 years, and he does not work for aquaculture. He was quite positive about the two industries working side by side. “We don’t have one problem; we get along fine,” he explained. “I don’t see any difference in the number of lobsters, and they taste the same; there’s no difference in quality. In fact, the lobsters won’t eat the food fed to the salmon.”
He added that Everett Caines put some of the salmon feed in a bag and tried it in his pots. “Everett didn’t catch any lobsters with this bait”, he continued, “and at the Marine Institute they tested feeding the lobsters with the salmon feed with the same result.”
Mr. Caines, who is a member of the Fishermen’s Committee in Pools Cove, said that he attended an area meeting two years after salmon farming started in Pools Cove, and he heard the same fear expressed then, the fear that aquaculture would negatively affect the traditional fishery especially the lobster industry. “But I had to speak as I saw it,” he said. “I told them I saw no difference then, and I say the same thing today. We have a good relationship.”