Fox Harbour resident demands inquiry after plastic shellfish bags wash ashore

Sherry Martell
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FOX HARBOUR - A Fox Harbour resident wants an inquiry to determine why dozens of black plastic bags were recently found littering a Cumberland County beach.

Fox Harbour resident demands inquiry after plastic shellfish bags wash ashore

FOX HARBOUR - A Fox Harbour resident wants an inquiry to determine why dozens of black plastic bags were recently found littering a Cumberland County beach.

Tom Wood lives near the 91-acre Fox Harbour Provincial Park, bordering the Northumberland Strait, and said the appearance of the bags has been an ongoing problem for years.

"What the big concern boils down to is if there are this many on the shore, how many more are out there loose on the bottom and still in the water?" said Wood.

"It shouldn't just be cleaned up and said, ' That's fine.' Where is the inquiry?"

The slotted, black mesh bags are a durable plastic and used in the cultivation and storage of shellfish.

Some of the bags, measuring about 90 by 60 centimetres in size, were buried on the shore in mud, almost out of sight, while others dotted the sandy beach. Some contained dead oysters, and others were stuffed with shells, seaweed or were empty.

Jennifer Gavin, spokeswoman for the Department of Natural Resources, said the owner of the bags, Aquashell Holdings Inc., based in Wallace, removed between 70 and 100 of the bags from the beach last week and no inquiry was planned.

"As long as they co-operated, and they did, there was going to be no further action taken," said Gavin.

"As far as we know they cleaned it up and the mistake won't be made again."

Officials believe the aquaculture sacks broke free from their original location and washed up on the beach in recent weeks.

Wood said he has heard about the bags washing ashore there for years and found one bag with a tag dated 2005.

He is concerned about the presence of the bags there for many reasons including the possibility they could contaminate shellfish stocks along the shore, as well as, posing a hazard to marine life and water fowl, in abundance in the area.

Wally Allen, a local fishermen involved with a lobster re-seeding program said he doesn't feel the stray bags are a big concern for local fishermen and sympathizes with the local fish processor for their obvious loss of inventory.

"It would be no threat to the habitat and the lobster on the bottom," said Allen.



smartell.news@ns.sympatico.ca

Organizations: Department of Natural Resources, Aquashell Holdings

Geographic location: Fox Harbour, Cumberland County, Fox Harbour Provincial Park Wallace

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