I’m just nerdy enough to read the newsletters of the aquaculture industry, which are all about promoting aquaculture. This headline in IntraFish caught my eye: “Land-based salmon farms proceed at their own risk, insurers say.”
The gist of the article, and others like it that I’ve seen, is that land-based aquaculture, especially at large scale, is too experimental for insurers to take a risk on because too many things can go wrong. For example, massive die-offs in tanks is not uncommon and then what do you do with all those diseased fish and the water they are in? Who pays for the cleanup of the Bay?
Arne Gangdal of Gjensidige, one of Norway’s largest insurers, says that there is “no experience with large-scale farms on land and there are no statistics to even calculate prices."
It seems only prudent that the City require Nordic Aquafarms to show proof of insurance to handle such contingencies as well as to post a Surety Bond or Escrow to protect the City. After all, we have to show proof of insurance just to register our cars. We need to have an escrow account for our bank-held mortgage so we don’t try to slip out on our bills.
In fact, this was one of the questions raised at the candidates’ forum. Incumbents Mortier and Harness said they would not burden Nordic Aquafarms with this safety requirement. Paul Dean said he would have to think about it. Ellie Daniels, Joanne Moesswilde, and Jim Merkel said they definitely would require such accountability to protect landowners, fishermen, and the Bay, not to mention the City’s liability.
That’s why I’m voting for Daniels (Ward 1 Write-in), Moesswilde (Ward 2 on ballot), and Merkel (Ward 5 Write-in.) They are willing to put the safety of the City and residents over the profits of a foreign corporation. This is the kind of leadership we need at this point.
Linda Buckmaster lives in Belfast
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