Blue-green algae in Carleton. Frank d'Entremont photo.
By Carla Allen
Liberal agriculture critic Leo Glavine says the NDP government is late delivering their promised mink farm regulations and this puts municipalities, the industry and those concerned about its sustainability at a disadvantage.
A January 2011 report contains a summary of data collected over three years from 10 lakes in the Carleton River watershed area. It points to mink farm operations as the cause of nutrient over-enrichment.
In some instances the high algal concentrations contained species of blue-green algae known to produce microcystins, a toxin that, under certain conditions, may be harmful to humans, livestock and wildlife.
A resident in Carleton contacted the Vanguard earlier this month to say blue-green algae is back in her lake.
“I went out to have a coffee on my wharf only to find the bloom plus dead fish in it,” she said via email.
Glavine points out that mink farming is the largest agricultural industry in Nova Scotia, with 150 registered farmers in Nova Scotia.
“The fur industry is worth $100 million annually to the provincial economy,” he said.
“The government’s inability to produce regulations in a timely manner puts everyone involved at a disadvantage.”
Glavine believes stronger regulations will be able to address the environmental concerns about the industry. Draft regulations were released more than a year ago.
“People are concerned about how the industry handles waste management and those concerns are certainly valid,” he said. “Regulations need to address these concerns because environmental sustainability is the only way to ensure the long-term economic sustainability of this industry.”
Glavine says the industry needs clear, stable regulation so their businesses can adapt and adhere to government policy.
“Mink farmers now have to adapt to the new policies developed by municipalities and they must do so while waiting for further regulation from the province,” says Glavine. “We need action and regulation now.”