Five years later, Nova Scotia panel ready to review aquaculture applications

A three-person panel set up five years ago to rule on proposed aquaculture developments and expansions in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia will hold its first meeting on Oct. 20, the CBC reports.

First on the agenda of the Nova Scotia Aquaculture Review Board: Raymond d’Entremont with Grand Pass Oysters will present three applications to establish oyster farms in an area known as La Grande Passe off Argyle, in Yarmouth County. 

If approved, it would be the first significant aquaculture project since a moratorium issued by the province in 2013, according to CBC. As many as 19 other aquaculture projects remain in the queue, awaiting a hearing by the panel.

Tom Smith, executive director of the Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia, said he worked with d’Entremont to get his application submitted, and the oyster farmer has wide support from the community, including local fishermen.

Watching with interest is Cooke Aquaculture. The Canadian salmon farming giant applied to the province for a major expansion that would add 46 more net-pens to its operation in Liverpool Bay, and increase capacity by 1.8-million salmon, but it “hasn’t moved anywhere”, Joel Richardson, Cooke’s vice president of public relations, is quoted as saying.

Also watching is Simon Ryder-Burbidge, marine conservation co-ordinator for the Ecology Action Centre, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

“We want to see that this is a fair and just process and that the government is giving a chance for communities to have a say, for people to bring their grievances forward and for their concerns to be taken seriously as we enter this new stage of decision-making processes around aquaculture in Nova Scotia,” he said.