Aquaculture in Nova Scotia given cautious green light in new report

A new report is calling for an overhaul of the rules surrounding aquaculture operations, but recommends against banning salmon farms in Nova Scotia.

Coastline should be rated for aquaculture suitability, say Dalhousie University professors

A new report on Nova Scotia's aquaculture operations says not all parts of the coast are suitable for fish farms but recommends against banning them altogether. (CBC)

A new report is calling for an overhaul of the rules surrounding aquaculture operations, but recommends against banning salmon farms in Nova Scotia.

Two Dalhousie University law professors — Meinhard Doelle and Bill Lahey ​— were appointed in April 2013 by Nova Scotia's New Democratic government to review aquaculture operations.

Doelle and Lahey have concluded the risks of marine-based fin fish aquaculture can be mitigated and it has the potential to make "an important contribution to sustainable prosperity in Nova Scotia."

The report says not all parts of the coast are suitable for fish farms.

It calls for a classification system where coastal areas are rated as green, yellow or red based on their relative suitability for fin fish aquaculture.

The classification of a coastal area would determine how applications for a fin fish licence would be evaluated and the likelihood of an application for such a licence being approved.

The overhaul would give Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell — or an independent board — the right to revoke an operation, require an evaluation of suitability upon a site renewal and bring existing operations under new regulations as soon as practically possible.

Doelle and Lahey also say no new licences should be issued until the new rules are in place.

The new rules would also put monitoring of fish farms under the purview of the provincial Environment Department.

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