NS Denies Aquaculture Site Permit


Fish Farm Application Not Approved for Shoal Bay
Fisheries and Aquaculture
March 13, 2013 11:07 AM

The province has not approved an application by Snow Island Salmon for a new salmon aquaculture site in Shoal Bay, near Sheet Harbour, Halifax Regional Municipality, after a rigorous 22-month-long review process.

"In the aquaculture strategy the government committed to making careful decisions based on science," said Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Sterling Belliveau. "From day one we were clear we would not rubber stamp aquaculture leases. After reviewing the evidence I was not satisfied that the science supported approving the site."

The Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture worked with Transport Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Environment Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency throughout the evaluation process as well as with a number of provincial government departments.

In addition, the province held consultations with the public and First Nations in conjunction with Transport Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada has raised concerns about the proposed site's potential impact on wild salmon populations. It indicated that the site represents a "low risk to fish habitat" but a "moderate risk to wild Atlantic salmon." It is the first time that Fisheries and Oceans Canada has described a proposed aquaculture site as a "moderate risk" to wild salmon.

"The government shares the desire of Nova Scotia's coastal communities, and the aquaculture industry, to ensure that aquaculture development is done in a sustainable way," Mr. Belliveau said. "Each site application is judged on its own merits. This decision is not indicative of a change in support for aquaculture from the government, which introduced an Aquaculture Strategy last spring.

"We are growing aquaculture into an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable industry, creating year-round jobs and increased wealth in rural Nova Scotia. This is the third new salmon farm project we've been asked to approve and our record shows we are finding a balance between encouraging coastal development and respecting environmental protection."