Responses to Known Concerns
We have spent a great deal of time providing science, facts, and transparency to the community in regards to our proposed oyster farm in Antigonish Harbour. We have met with hundreds of local residents, have been providing nursery tours, have hosted two public meetings, established an arms-length Community Liason Committee, have posted in-depth responses to any known concerns, and more. You can also read our application which is publicly viewable on the NSDFA website.
All the concerns that we’re aware of have been publicly responded to here. If a new concern is expressed to us we will post that concern and response as well.
→ Responses to Known Concerns ←
We’d love to invite you over to meet us, have a tour of the nursery, and discuss the farm plans. You may ask any questions you like, express concerns, and provide suggestions. We welcome community engagement and look forward to meeting you.
To schedule a meeting and tour please contact us here: Contact Us
Or you can book directly via our Facebook page here: Facebook.com/TownPointOysters
What is that Red Box?
There has been a lot of confusion associated with “The Red Box.” Simply put “The Red Box” only describes the area within which Town Point Oysters (TPO) is entitled to collect information pursuant to filing an application to lease specific sites within the box.
TPO has not been granted a lease.
TPO does not have rights to or even want to use the land areas shown within the red box.
TPO does not have rights to place a farm within navigational channels.
See section The Red Box for a full explanation of “The Red Box.”
Throughout our application process much has been said about the importance of eelgrass in marine ecosystems. Let us be clear; eelgrass is important and there is eelgrass in the areas we wish to lease. Through both our own awareness and valuable feedback we received during public engagement sessions, it became evident the importance of this concern rose above others. Consequently, we sought scientific input relating to the suitability of our proposed sites regarding possible impact on eelgrass.
We invited Dr. Gregor Reid to come to the site to provide some context relative to the issue. While Dr. Reid is a PhD marine biologist eelgrass is not his particular area of expertise. He, on our behalf, raised the issue in a working group session dealing with the broad topic of eelgrass. As a result, another scientist Dr. Jeffrey Barrell came to the site and did a visual survey and provided a preliminary opinion regarding the suitability of the three areas we wish to lease. His assessment of the situation is ongoing. We expect to have more definite feedback from Dr. Barrell prior to filing our lease application.
Further mitigation measures we will employ include small footprint of growth units which may result in less shading effect and less prop wash from service boats due to extended engine-off periods enabled by our innovative mechanized system that will be employed. To learn more about this feature of the farm please contact us to arrange an in-person meeting.
Scientific opinion was offered Aug 13, 2019 during our public panel discussion. If such a farm occupies 10% or less of an estuary the effect is at worst benign. Ours is planned to occupy only 2% of the Antigonish Harbour estuary. Please view farm size statistics here.
See section Eelgrass & Estruary for a further explanation and studies on the effects of oyster farming on eelgrass.
The Truth About Poop!
August 13…Tuesday evening, at the panel discussion and open house organized and hosted by StFX University Aquatic Resources and chaired by Dr. David Garbary regarding our lease application, our opponents (“The Friends of Antigonish Harbour”) showed a slide containing the center picture below. Their narrative associated with the slide talked about the fact that oysters do filter the water but suggested that in our presentation we have somehow disguised the fact that oysters also defecate or in their words, “poop.” They explained, falsely, that oyster poop is sticky, and it sticks to everything suggesting the picture supports this claim.
In response to their presentation our presenter, Ernie Porter, corrected the misinformed assertion that the photo was “oyster poop” when in fact, it was a photo of oyster seed, (baby oysters).
Oysters are filter feeders. As they feed, they accumulate an assortment of very small particles such as phytoplankton, algae, bacteria, viruses, silt, and other solids suspended in the water column. Some of these particles are the food they use to grow, others are clumped together to form feces and pseudo-feces(small clumps of material they cannot digest), which they expel as “poop”. It has been demonstrated that in well-flushed sites biosediment accumulation is likely to have a negligible effect on the bottom. We have selected grow sites that are adjacent to the harbour entrance where flow and flushing will be maximized. These locations are not stagnant dead zones where biosediment accumulations could be a problem.
Photos of Oyster Seed (Baby Oysters)
For further reading please see the links below to relevant scientific journal articles.
Impact of suspended and off-bottom Eastern oyster culture on the benthic environment in eastern Canad
Ownership & Expansion
Another myth being circulated by our opponents suggests that we are only going through the lease application process in order to sell the farm to some other operator. This is simply not true.
As stated, we wish to establish a community-based family farm that will hopefully follow the path of many other such local farms. To become a key part of our family identity. To become generational. To be part of our community. To be sustainable, eco-friendly, beneficial, profitable.
It has been suggested that this application is “the thin edge of the wedge,” that we plan to expand throughout the harbour, that this is just phase 1, etc. We answered this question at the Aug. 13 Public Panel discussion. If our lease application is approved it gives us the right to only the areas described in the application and subsequent approval. In order to expand the farm or establish another farm, the whole process must start again from the beginning including all the required public engagement. Simply put, the lease is NOT adjustable.
Furthermore, should any other person or company choose to apply for a shellfish aquaculture lease in Antigonish Harbour they must also start from the beginning and follow all the requirements outlined in the lease application regulations.
Largest Oyster Farm in Nova Scotia...?!?
There is a myth circulating that our farm would be the largest such farm in Nova Scotia. This is patently false and intentionally misleading. A quick review of the NSDFA site mapping tool will show that shellfish aquaculture leases are listed per site, not per operator. So, if approved as per the current farm plan, our leases would be indicated on the map as three separate sites each owned by Town Point Oysters.
Examining the list with regard to largest lease sites ours would rank as the 35th largest. However, if the lease areas are combined for each owner/operator and the site map evaluated by an on aggregate basis ours would be the 12th largest farm. In either case, it is far from the largest by rank and far from the largest by size as there are farms that are up to 10 times the size we propose.
Please go to NSDFA site mapping tool to do you own review of the shellfish aquaculture farms currently operating in NS.
Happy Harbour Days Everyone!
Happy Harbour Days Everyone!