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Grieg's plans for salmon farming in Placentia Bay will now be subject to an EIA.
Grieg's plans for salmon farming in Placentia Bay will now be subject to an EIA.

Grieg Group’s plans for a 33,000-tonnes-a-year salmon farming project in eastern Canada have hit a legal setback.

The plan by the Norwegian company’s subsidiaries, Grieg NL Nurseries Ltd and Grieg NL Seafarms, will now be subject to a full environmental impact statement (EIS) following a court judgement.

Last July Perry Trimper, who was then Newfoundland and Labrador province minister of environment and climate change, released the project from further environmental assessment.

North American non-governmental organisation the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) appealed Trimper’s decision and this week Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador judge, Justice Gillian Butler, overruled the politician.

Perry Trimper: decision overturned by judge.
Perry Trimper: decision overturned by judge.

"I conclude the minister lacked the jurisdiction to release the project. The only possible conclusion he could reach was that the project had both 'significant public concerns, and the potential for significant negative environmental effects,'”, wrote Butler in her judgement.

Public concern

"My feet were off the ground to see the judgement come in and then to realize that the judge did decide in our favour. We are very, very happy," said ASF spokesperson Neville Crabbe.

"The judge agreed with us that because of the overwhelming public concern and potential significant, negative environmental affects that this potential Placentia Bay aquaculture project poses it should never have been released [from an environmental assessment] and the only option for the minister was to order an EIS."

Grieg NL's proposal includes a CA$75 million hatchery and nursery facility, to produce seven million smolt annually and stock 11 sea cage sites, ultimately producing 33,000 tonnes of salmon a year, it was reported in CBC News. This would more than double the Canadian province's annual production of farmed salmon, the newspaper said.

Newfoundland and Labrador province has committed to funding CA$45m of the project, which had an estimated total cost of CA$250m (£152m).

Grieg Group owns Grieg Seafood, which farms salmon in Shetland and Skye, as well as in Norway and in British Columbia, western Canada.