Government is investing $2.8 million in the aquaculture sector to create more jobs in Nova Scotia.
It was also announced today, July 6, that new applications are being accepted for ocean-based shellfish, cultivated-marine plant and trout farming.
The investment supports a more rigorous approach to approving new aquaculture operations and provides $2 million for research projects focused on interaction between sites and their local environment, advanced planning for aquaculture development and innovation in production methods.
“Making this investment while accepting new applications means more jobs and a growing sector in Nova Scotia,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “Our new approach to regulating the industry means we can create jobs while protecting the environment.”
Aquaculture is currently worth $60 million annually to the Nova Scotia economy, supports 600 direct jobs and contributes to seafood exports which were worth $1.68 billion in 2015.
“We now have one of the most robust approaches for regulating aquaculture in the world,” said Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell. “We’re now ready to engage Nova Scotians as we take aquaculture development to the next level.”
Under the enhanced lease and licence process:
— proposals are subject to approval by an independent aquaculture review board after an option to lease is granted by the minister
— a proponent has six months after an option to lease is granted to prepare a licence application and complete an assessment to identify any relevant environmental or technical impacts and engage with local stakeholders
— a licence application must include an aquaculture development plan
— the application is reviewed in detail and subject to consultation with other levels of government and, where required, First Nations
— the aquaculture review board would make a decision on the application after a hearing that is open to public input
“With greater access to more leasing opportunities, the Nova Scotia aquaculture industry is set for a new chapter of growth that will add good quality jobs and prosperity for our province while ensuring the sustainability of our resources for future generations,” said Tom Smith, executive director of the Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia.
Since releasing new regulations in October, the department has:
–appointed a science advisory committee to identify research priorities
— tendered for equipment to help with environmental and fish health monitoring, including a submersible remote-operated vehicle
— established a committee chaired by the Nova Scotia Salmon Association to recommend a workable approach to trace escaped fish back to their origin
— appointed an aquaculture administrator for approving lease and licence renewals
— developed policies to operationalize the lease and licence process
— appointed a chief aquatic animal health veterinarian
— participated in training for Department of Environment compliance staff who will be responsible for enforcing new regulations
— begun work with the Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association to establish criteria for accrediting aquatic animal health clinics
–advertised for members for the independent aquaculture review board that will be appointed later this year
To learn about submitting an application for a new site go to http://novascotia.ca/fish/aquaculture/licensing-leasing/.
The regulations are available at http://novascotia.ca/fish/aquaculture/laws-regs/.