Aquaculture review fast-tracked and expanded by federal government

The federal government has restarted a process to review how fish farms are regulated, and will now expand the scope of the review to include more provinces.

Nova Scotia now added to list of provinces being reviewed

The Nova Scotia government issued a moratorium on new fish farm sites in May 2013 and launched a review of the industry. From that review, the provincial government drafted new legislation to govern aquaculture sites. (CBC)

The federal government has restarted a process to review how fish farms are regulated, and will now expand the scope of the review to include more provinces.

Last December, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans sought contractors to study the legislative and regulatory framework governing aquaculture.

The document explained that "nine federal organizations are involved in regulatory roles for aquaculture, involving 10 different pieces of legislation." There are additional controls at the provincial level.

The department's regulatory review was the first step towards building "a coherent and adaptable federal legal framework," the document said.

However, the review's scope was limited to federal regulations and those in British Columbia and Prince Edward Island — no other province.

Friday the department published a revised tender with a scope that covered all "relevant federal and provincial levels."

The deadline for the new version remains unchanged at March 31.

To meet the firm deadline, the restarted process has a revised timeline. The successful contractor will have 60 days to complete the review, down from 94 days outlined in the previous contract.

Prospective contractors have until Jan. 21 to submit applications.

Nova Scotia moratorium still in place

The Nova Scotia government issued a moratorium on new fish farm sites in May 2013 and launched a review of the industry. From that review, the provincial government drafted new legislation to govern aquaculture sites.

The new legislation has been criticized by environmental lawyers and activists.

There are currently nine salmon farms operating in Nova Scotia. The provincial government intends to lift the moratorium on new farms sometime in 2016.

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