The province has approved two new aquaculture sites in Jordan Bay with strict licence agreements.
Kelly Cove Salmon Ltd., a subsidiary of Cooke Aquaculture Inc., will operate the new sites. The company went through an application process that took 26 months.
"The province is committed to ensuring aquaculture continues to be an economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable industry in Nova Scotia," said Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Sterling Belliveau. "These new sites will help to further grow the industry and the economy in southwest Nova Scotia, while creating good, year-round jobs in rural communities."
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. The extensive review concluded these sites would pose minimal risk of adverse effects to fish, fish habitat and fisheries resources.
The province held consultations with the public and First Nations in conjunction with Transport Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture will continue to consult and engage with people on ongoing issues.
Roger Taylor, Warden of the Municipality of the District of Shelburne, was pleased to hear the news.
"We see this as another step forward in the economic development of our area," said Taylor. "We've always been supportive of sustainable aquaculture and have faith in the regulators and the regulatory process."
Kelly Cove Salmon Ltd. will be required to establish a community liaison committee to provide a forum for communication with the community. Any concerns raised during the application process were sent to the minister for a final decision.
"Kelly Cove Salmon Ltd. must comply with all terms and conditions of the licence agreement to ensure the farms operate in a sustainable manner," said Belliveau.
Some conditions attached to the licences and leases include:
-- following a code of containment for Atlantic salmon in marine net pens
-- enhanced environmental monitoring by a third-party consultant, including more site visits and additional sampling locations
-- reduced stocking densities.
As part of the licence to operate, the department has the right to restrict production, require mitigation measures and not permit restocking in response to any environmental concerns, until the site returns to acceptable standards.