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LETTER: Nova Scotia is the gold standard for aquaculture

A Cooke Aquaculture salmon farm in Nova Scotia.
A Cooke Aquaculture salmon farm in Nova Scotia. - File

In recent weeks, there’s been a lot of talk about aquaculture, and Nova Scotians deserve to have their questions answered. But without the facts, we can’t have an honest conversation. Recent information circulating about the aquaculture industry is inaccurate and fails to recognize it for the safe, sustainable, growth-oriented industry that it is. 

For more than 40 years, Nova Scotians have supported marine fish farming and recognized that it can co-exist with other fisheries on working waterfronts. Fish farms have been operating sustainably with provincial and federal environmental and regulatory approvals and oversight in many coastal communities from Shelburne to Bras d’Or Lake, and from Digby to Halifax County. During this time, we’ve seen export sales in the lobster industry, tourism, and property values all go up in these areas. 

Nova Scotia is the gold standard for aquaculture, with regulations that have been updated recently to become the most stringent in the world. We encourage Nova Scotians and local municipalities to let science guide the management and development of the industry. 

The Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture and other federal and provincial agencies perform rigorous science-based technical reviews and analysis on all aquaculture projects and an independent review board adjudicates projects through a public hearing process. 

Aquaculture companies operating in Nova Scotia are regularly audited by international certification programs and performance standards for their entire supply chain – farms, hatcheries, processing plants, and feed. This assures healthy, locally produced foods that are produced through environmentally and socially responsible means which play a significant role in reducing our carbon footprint. 

Marine aquaculture is a responsible, sustainable and innovative means to provide adequate food supply to meet the world’s population growth while helping to reduce the pressure on wild fish stocks. The aquaculture sector is grounded in science and innovation, and our R&D projects drive productivity improvements and new farming technology and processes. 

Nova Scotia aquaculture is worth more than $100 million annually, supporting about 600 direct jobs and contributing to seafood exports. This level of marine success and potential for growth is unmatched in Nova Scotia’s history. 

There are real opportunities right now for our province in aquaculture. And we have the history and the experience to continue to do it right. 

Tom Smith, executive director, Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia 

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