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SEA-NL supports green energy, but not at expense of lobster or other wild renewable fish stocks

Lobster is huge in the Port au Port/Stephenville/Codroy Valley areas just off the west coast, but how will the near-shore fishery be impacted by the runoff and noise from 338, 600-foot high on-land wind turbines, a hydrogen/ammonia plant, a possible sub-sea power line, and a huge uptick in marine traffic? There are no clear answers — which screams caution.

World Energy GH2 is proposing construction/operation of two onshore wind farms (up to 338 wind turbines) in Port au Port and the Codroy Valley areas, plus the associated transmission/supporting infrastructure to power a hydrogen/ammonia production facility in Stephenville.



Wednesday, Oct. 11th was the deadline for commenting on the environmental impact statement carried out on World Energy/John Risley's proposed onshore wind project for Newfoundland's west coast.


Despite being a "productive area for a variety of commercial fish species," there are no clear answers to how the project will impact adjacent wild stocks/commercial fisheries.


Find SEA-NL's submission below the panels taken from the impact statement.


Each black dot represents a wind turbine.


Each green dot represent a small-craft harbour, with 13 core harbours in the impacted area.



SEA-NL RESPONSE TO IMPACT STATEMENT


Wednesday, Oct. 11th, 2023



Project Nujio’qonik GH2

Proponent: World Energy GH2


EA# 2202


To whom it may concern,


Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL), a non-profit, professional association representing the interests of the province’s 3,008 licensed inshore enterprise owners, would like to formally register our serious concerns with World Energy GH2 Inc.’s proposed wind energy project on Newfoundland’s west coast.


To begin, the speed at which the proposed project has progressed is alarming given its huge environmental footprint, involving the proposed construction/operation of two onshore wind farms (up to 338 wind turbines), plus the associated transmission/supporting infrastructure to power a hydrogen/ammonia production facility in Stephenville.

Commercial/cultural fisheries for species such as lobster are huge off the Port au Port, Stephenville, and Codroy Valley areas — generating tens of millions of dollars to local economies and employing hundreds of owner-operators/crew.

In 2023, lobster was the province’s second most valuable commercial fishery after snow crab — generating $113.4 million in landed value — and the provincial government must pull out all the stops to ensure the commercial fishery/ecosystem is protected.

According to DFO’s latest data, there are 668 core inshore enterprises in fishing zone 4R/3Pn off southwest/western Newfoundland — including 616 enterprises in 4R, and 52 in 3Pn.

Some/all of those inshore fishing enterprises will be impacted by the proposed project through dredging activities, runoff into areas adjacent to commercial fisheries, and increased vessel traffic.

SEA-NL was extremely disappointed to hear that the project will not be subject to a full federal environmental assessment — which would be more comprehensive/thorough than a provincial assessment, and involve broader consultations.


The fact the inshore fleet was not directly consulted about the project represents a complete failure of the assessment process.


While SEA-NL supports the move to green energy, renewable power should not be at the expense of renewable fish stocks.


While the provincial assessment continues — which involves DFO, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Transport Canada, and Health Canada participating as federal experts — not all relevant information has been provided.


Section 11.2.2.2. of the Environmental Impact Statement, Marine Commercial Fisheries, notes that DFO will not release specific information on fish landings for several species in the 4R area — “a productive area for a variety of commercial fish species” — due to confidentiality reasons.


Likewise, the Aquatic Environment Baseline Study, Section 6.3.3, Marine Commercial Fisheries, noted that while the Canada Marine Planning Atlas and DFO provided commercial fisheries data, “several data gaps” were identified.


That’s not good enough considering the project’s huge environmental footprint in a relatively confined area.


Any and all relevant information must be disclosed in the best interests of the inshore fishery, and the rural communities supported by such a critical culture industry.


Ryan Cleary,

Executive Director, SEA-NL

709 682 4862


Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is a professional, non-profit organization that serves as the distinct voice for licensed, independent owner-operator inshore fish harvesters. Visit sea-nl.ca to join. If you have any issues contact me at sea-nl@outlook.com or 709 682 4862.

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