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Kelly Cove Salmon Ltd., the Atlantic Canadian salmon farming division of Cooke Aquaculture Inc., has responded to the Nova Scotia government’s decision to suspend new finfish aquaculture applications for up to three years.

“We encourage the Nova Scotia government to move forward on aquaculture development as seen in New Brunswick, PEI and Newfoundland,” the company said in a statement.

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Cooke’s public response follows the announcement that the Nova Scotia government is undertaking a coastal mapping project. In the meantime, no new finfish farming applications will be considered. Shellfish and seaweed farming licenses will continue to be processed as normal.

The mapping project, coordinated by the Centre for Marine Applied Research, will rate locations along the Nova Scotia coast based on their suitability for finfish aquaculture, similar to Norway’s “traffic light” system.

The ratings, Nova Scotia authorities told WeAreAquaculture last month, will improve transparency for industry and the public alike. A recent consultation on fish farming in Nova Scotia called for greater transparency on aquaculture decision-making in the province.

Existing framework is strict enough and ensures “reasonable expansion”, says Cooke

Cooke pointed out it has been responsibly operating Atlantic salmon farm sites for 25 years along Nova Scotia’s Southern and Western shores. 

“The renewal procedure for our existing marine aquaculture licenses and leases includes both technical and biological performance assessments,” the company said. “Finfish aquaculture and the lobster fishery have co-existed in Nova Scotia and across Atlantic Canada for decades under the existing environmental compliance criteria.”

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“There has been very modest aquaculture growth in Nova Scotia for several years, yet the demand from families for fresh, nutritious, affordable food has risen dramatically.”

“In our view, there are only a handful of Nova Scotia locations with marine conditions suitable for finfish farming, so expansion of sites will be reasonable and adhere to the strict Aquaculture Regulations and Environmental Monitoring Program Framework.”

Cooke highlights benefits of salmon farming for Nova Scotia

In its statement, Cooke pointed out that salmon aquaculture generates CAN $2 billion for the Atlantic Canadian economy each year, with CAN $213.5 million in Nova Scotia alone. Salmon farming has also created 886 jobs in Nova Scotia, and 8,000 jobs in Atlantic Canada as a whole, according to the company.

“Annually, Cooke purchases $51.5 million of goods and services from 309 local suppliers located across the province.”

“Cooke has 400 employees in Nova Scotia and would like to grow our workforce, support small and medium business suppliers, and continue to contribute to coastal communities where we operate,” the company added.

Kelly Cove Salmon Ltd. (KCS), part of the Cooke Group of companies, has recently received the green light to move forward with construction of a $72 million post-smolt Atlantic salmon aquaculture facility in Bayside (New Brunswick, Canada).

About Cooke Aquaculture

Cooke Aquaculture is a family of businesses that have operated a sustainable aquaculture business in Atlantic Canada for over 35 years. The company includes international divisions for aquaculture, such as its wholly-owned subsidiary Cooke Aquaculture Inc. and Kelly Cove Salmon Ltd.

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