Last year, Government inspectors found cypermethrin traces in dying lobsters in the Bay of Fundy (Photo: Stock File/FIS)
Environmental body investigates uses of banned chemical
Thursday, September 30, 2010, 02:10 (GMT + 9)
Environment Canada is running four active investigations into the alleged use of the banned pesticide cypermethrin at farming locations in the Bay of Fundy.
Federal government investigators identified the chemical cypermethrin late last year in ill and dying lobsters in their traps in the Grand Manan and Deer Island areas. Additional inspections conducted over the past few months have found the same chemical at two other aquaculture sites in southwest New Brunswick.
Cypermethrin is banned for marine use in Canada but is used in other countries to fight off sea lice.
“We know it’s toxic to all crustaceans and that’s a problem not only for our fisheries but for the environment,” stated Maria Recchia of the Fundy North Fishermen’s Association, CBC Canada reports.
The discovery of lobster deaths late last year provoked two investigations that are still taking place. Since then, Environment Canada officials have been conducting routine inspections and sample collections of fish and other species in the Bay of Fundy.
Between May and July of this year, officials detected levels of cypermethrin in aquaculture farms in Charlotte Country, which has led to two new investigations.
According to Robert Robichaud, a district manager with the department’s environmental enforcement branch, government officials have issued a legal document called “inspector’s directions” to the two businesses — Northern Harvest Sea Farms and Ocean Legacy, both based in L’Etang, New Brunswick — running the farms where the chemical was found in use.
“Those directions are quite specific by nature. And what they require is the immediate cease to use any illegal chemicals — in this case cypermethrin — and to prevent it from being used in the future,” he said.
A violation of the inspector’s directions can result in a CAD 200,000 (USD 193,815) fine, he noted.
This is not the first time cypermethrin has been detected in the Bay of Fundy: back in 1996, approximately 50,000 lobsters were found dead in a pound near St George because of exposure to cypermethrin, tests revealed.
At the time, many people blamed the aquaculture companies in the region for dumping the pesticide into bodies of water.