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Kent County chapter raises concern about thousands of spawning gaspereau fish deaths

Photo by Darren Porter

The Council of Canadians Kent County chapter issued a media release yesterday highlighting that “countless gaspereau coming up the Gaspereau River to spawn arrived dead this past weekend.”

Now it is being reported, “Since last week, Gaspereau fish have been turning up dead in the water, getting sucked downstream when they should be going farther upstream to spawn. Fishermen, members of the three First Nations Communities of Glooscap, Valley and Sipekne’katik, as well as Fisheries and Oceans officers and scientists, descended upon the White Rock hydroelectric station located along the Gaspereau River Monday morning to see for themselves. A crowd watched from the riverbanks as its current carried the dead fish downstream.”

That article adds, “Several local fishermen estimated the mortality is beyond tens of thousands of the species, after Nova Scotia Power started generating power last week. …Nova Scotia Power spokesman David Rodenhiser confirmed in an emailed statement that the fish were being drawn into the company’s power-generating turbine ‘when we increased water flow through the White Rock hydroelectric station Sunday afternoon to boost flow [to help a charity rubber duck race that has been part of the Apple Blossom festival for more than 20 years]’, he said, adding that they’ve not experienced this before either.”

Chapter activist Ann Pohl says, “Annapolis Valley, Sipekne’katik and other Mi’kmaq leaders are alarmed by this neglect of stewardship for the shared waters. The Council of Canadians’ appeals, to both provincial and federal leaders to do their job of conservation and protection, have been ignored. All the federal and provincial governments seem to care about is using the Bay’s waters to generate electricity for export to the U.S.”

In mid-May, the Kent County chapter began drawing attention to the impact of the Cape Sharp Tidal Venture tidal turbine on marine life in the Minas Passage near Parrsboro, Nova Scotia. You can read more about that in this blog, Kent County chapter raises concerns about impact of Bay of Fundy tidal turbine on gaspereau.

The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans is on the scene now investigating. Our expectation is that their report will be made public.

Further reading
Another Fundy Fish Die-Off: That’s Three Too Many (May 29 media release)