Cooke Aquaculture has won another important victory over North American anti-fish farming activists attempting to limit the growth of net-pen aquaculture.

The company has finally been granted approval to extend the boundary lines of its fish farm near Digby, Nova Scotia.

Just over two weeks ago the Washington State Supreme Court threw out an attempt by various organisations to halt the breeding of Pacific steelhead trout on the grounds it would lead to environmental damage.

Now the newly created Nova Scotia Aquaculture Review Board (ARB) had ruled that Cooke, through its subsidiary Kelly Cove Salmon Ltd, can continue with a 20-cage salmon farm which had been operating outside the original boundary for several years.

This was the first case for the Review Board which had been set up by the provincial government to provide more transparency around industry issues.

Key findings by the board included:

  • All of the evidence is that Kelly Cove Salmon Ltd. has been pro-active, and has invested heavily, to follow international best practices.
  • The Board is satisfied that the lease boundary amendment will have no impact on the sustainability of wild Atlantic salmon.
  • This salmon farm makes a genuine contribution to community and Provincial economic development.
  • Kelly Cove Salmon Ltd. has throughout its operations, fully complied with the requirements of its Farm Management Plan (FMP) and has set its own high standards.
  • The use of the site to efficiently produce thousands of kilograms of food is surely an optimum use of the small portion of the Annapolis Basin. Salmon farming converts feed to food much more efficiently, and with a much smaller footprint, than does, for example beef production.

The board also rejected the assertion that the presence of the farm represented a risk to wild salmonid populations, and drew attention to the fact that salmon numbers in the nearby Bear River had dwindled to virtually nothing long before the introduction of fish farming in the region.

Kelly Cove Salmon said: “The ARB hearing process was thorough and rigorous, and included input from multiple stakeholders. We are pleased with the outcome of this application and look forward to engaging with this process for the other applications we have before the ARB.

“Kelly Cove has operated on this lease since 2004, and the site has been an active aquaculture operation since 1994. Our application was to bring all moorings and equipment within the lease boundary, with no changes in equipment, location or production increases.

“The Board concluded that the boundary amendment would have no negative impact upon the factors which it was required to consider.”

 

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