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LETTER: Lobster season not slowing NOPIPE efforts

Lobster and crab season are well underway and fishermen are working long days on the water. Things may seem quiet on shore, but on behalf of the Northumberland Fishermen’s Association, I want the community to know that there is a lot going on behind the scenes to make sure no effluent pipe goes into the Strait.

Fishermen’s associations from Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and New Brunswick have joined with Pictou Landing First Nation in opposition to Northern Pulp’s proposal to pump 70-90 million litres of treated pulp waste into the Northumberland Strait daily.

Our working group has hired an environmental consulting firm to prepare a science-based analysis to submit to the environmental assessment process. Our associations also have marine biologists on staff gathering scientific information to support our case. The working group has hired a lawyer who will help us take on any legal issues.

We know we are not alone in caring about the future of our waters. The #NOPIPE movement has gained broad support. There are two things we are asking everyone who is concerned about this issue to do right now.

First, we are working to get the environmental assessment of this project into the hands of the federal government. A federal environmental assessment would require a more detailed process with more time for public input than a provincial assessment.

The fishermen’s working group has made a strong case to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada, and with the help of Friends of the Northumberland Strait, we are gathering support to ask the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to take on assessment of this project. More than 2,500 letters and emails have been sent from citizens to the Minister.

Local businesses, municipal governments and tourism associations from all three Atlantic provinces have expressed concern and asked for a federal assessment. They recognize that Northern Pulp’s proposal could harm the economy of our region, and our future.

An online petition started by a local sports fishermen and guide quickly gathered 15,000 signatures from around the world. Trout Unlimited Canada sent a letter of concern about the impact of effluent in the Strait on fish and fish habitat.

If you have not sent a letter yet, please send one. Letters from individuals, businesses and organizations all matter. You can find information on where to send your letter and a model letter on Friends of the Northumberland Strait’s website, friendsofthenorthumberlandstrait.ca.

Our second request is that you join us on Friday, July 6, at the Pictou waterfront for a major LAND AND SEA RALLY FOR #NOPIPE. Come by fishing boat, pleasure boat, kayak or foot. Bring your children, your neighbours and your friends. More Rally details will be available on the Friends of the Northumberland Strait website in the near future.

There will be no pipe in our strait. We fishermen have said this from Day 1. Make July 6 a day to raise your voice for No Pipe in Our Strait. Join us to be a force that politicians cannot ignore.
PS Northern Pulp says No pipe = no mill.

We say: New days, new ways. Think outside the pipe Northern Pulp.

Ronnie Heighton, River John

President, Northumberland Fishermen’s Association

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