Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Nova Scotia Fishermen Head to Court to Stop Bay of Fundy Tidal Test Project

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Nova Scotia Fishermen Head to Court to Stop Bay of Fundy Tidal Test Project

Article excerpt

Fishermen trying to halt tidal project

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HALIFAX - A group representing 175 Nova Scotia fishermen appeared in court Thursday in a bid to stop a plan to test giant electric turbines in the Bay of Fundy -- an ambitious project that has been on the drawing board since 2009.

The Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen's Association says the Cape Sharp Tidal project is based on "junk science" and should be put on hold until a year-long study can establish a scientific baseline for the state of the bay.

"The baseline science has been determined to be inadequate for the process," spokesman Colin Sproul said outside a Halifax courtroom.

"Therefore, any future effect of a full-scale installation would be vastly understated, and could lead to the decimation of the Bay of Fundy."

Matt Lumley, spokesman for the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy, said Sproul's position is not accurate.

"He's implying that (the federal Fisheries Department) believes that baseline data collected is inadequate -- but that's false," he said, adding that the non-profit research lab has been conducting research and monitoring in the bay since 2009.

As well, he said the centre has spent over $15 million to date on 110 studies and developed three underwater sensor platforms.

"The most important questions we need to answer, in terms of viability of the technology, happen when the turbine is in the water, and (the federal Fisheries Department) shares that opinion," he said.

In June, provincial Environment Minister Margaret Miller granted approval for the installation of two, five-storey turbines for tidal power research.

"We did listen to the fishermen and their concerns," she said Thursday. "We did our job as a regulator."

Despite gaps in knowledge about the environmental impact of tidal power, the government has said the 1,000-tonne, slow-moving turbines are unlikely to have a "food processor effect" on marine life.

Still, the fisherman's association isn't so sure.

It has filed an application for a judicial review of Miller's decision, saying the minister acted unreasonably and failed to adequately consider evidence that suggests the project requires more study. …

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