Status of shellfish harvesting in Barrington must be resolved

August 18, 2016 at 1:19 pm

d’Entremont calls on federal departments to fund testing

Chris d'Entremont, MLA for Argyle Barrington

BARRINGTON, NS – Progressive Conservative Fisheries Critic Chris d’Entremont is calling on federal departments responsible for testing shellfish to carry out tests in the Barrington area.

“Everyone from locals and tourists to businesses should be able to enjoy digging for clams and quahogs knowing they’re safe to harvest,” says d’Entremont. “The only way that will happen is if the federal departments responsible come here and perform the proper tests.”

Three years ago, several beaches and flats were closed to shellfish harvesting since some tests came back with negative results. Because there haven’t been any tests since that time, most beaches and flats in the Barrington area, save Clam Point beach, remain closed.

“Digging for clams on the Baker Flats or quahogs at Sand Hills Beach has been something I’ve done all my life,” says Allan Nickerson, a resident of Cape Sable Island. “A lot of people aren’t in it for the money. We just want to be able to harvest shellfish safely.”

Evaluating whether or not shellfish is safe for consumption falls to the Federal Department of Environment, Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Federal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc noted in a letter to d’Entremont on August 12 that “two years for a closure may be problematic” but did not outline testing in the near future (see attached).

d’Entremont wants these agencies to come together and carry out tests in the Barrington area.

“It’s important that people have an accurate picture as to whether or not the shellfish they’ve harvested are safe for consumption,” says d’Entremont. “Three years is far too long to go without testing.”