Emera says no to compensating Cape Breton fishermen

Nova Scotia Power's parent company says it doesn't have to compensate Cape Breton fishermen, arguing its subsea cables that will bring 500 megawatts of hydroelectricity into Nova Scotia as part of the Lower Churchill Hydro Project will have little impact on local fisheries.

"We expect the effects to be quite minimal," said Ken Meade, vice-president of Emera Inc.

Earlier this week, the company filed a 700-page environmental assessment for the $1.5-billion Maritime Link, its portion of the development at Muskrat Falls in Newfoundland and Labrador.

By 2016, the company said it intends to lay two subsea cables 180 kilometres across the Cabot Strait landing in Point Aconi near Sydney.

It will bury the cables more than three metres below the seabed where water is less than 200 metres deep.

The exact route is not known. It will be selected from a two-kilometre corridor under study right now, but it will cross lobster and crab grounds in shore.

That has fisherman like Brian Timmins worried.

"They are guaranteeing us nothing will happen, but there's never been a study and we have concerns."

The environmental assessment concludes the cables will have little impact on local fisheries.

Emera said it can avoid disruption if it carries out the two to three month construction period outside of the fishing season.

"We're confident of avoiding interaction with fishing activities during construction," Meade told CBC.

"We don't see a need to actively deal with compensation."

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