By Greg Bennett
The Coast Guard
Shelburne Municipal Councillors had lots of questions for representatives of Cooke Aquaculture recently.
Councilors initiated a meeting with representatives of the New Brunswick based company after receiving complaints from several residents in Sandy Point over plans to move salmon cages within Shelburne Harbour.
Concerns were relayed on noise, pollution and the effect moves could have on sailing programs and some homeowners’ property values.
Company representatives explained that moving cages is a part of a fallowing technique used to minimize pollution and to eradicate any potential diseases amongst its fish populations.
The manager of the Shelburne operation, Jeff Nickerson was accompanied by Cooke Aquacultures VP of Public Relations Nell Halse, who spoke to councilors about the history of the family company.
Halse said the company was willing to work with residents in efforts to minimize any effects its operations have in the area. “We are willing to work with people and while we are applying for changes this is the perfect time to talk,” said Halse.
Nickerson noted that fallowing is a crucial part of raising fish and helps keep the harbour bottom clean.
The company has a total of 70 cages in Shelburne Harbour and is proposing dropping that number to 58 as it fallows some sites and moves other cages.
Councilor Roger Taylor asked if the company had any interest in developing a fish processing plant to service its growing Nova Scotia sites. “To justify that we’d need to be raising 3-million fish,” he said. “Right now we’re a way aways from that.”
According to the company’s website, the business began as a small family enterprise and now has operations in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Maine and Chile as well as sales offices in major centers in the United States and Canada.
Through its subsidiaries, Cooke Aquaculture processes and sells more than 115 million pounds of Atlantic salmon and 35 million pounds of trout each year.
Municipality gets fish farm answers
By Greg Bennett
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