Opponents of salmon farms pursued Nova Scotia Fisheries Minister Sterling Belliveau on land and sea Wednesday.

Belliveau was touring the proposed site of a salmon farm at Shoal Bay on the province's Eastern Shore. It's one of three locations in the area where the Scottish aquaculture company Loch Duart Ltd. wants to grow 500,000 salmon.

When the minister arrived at the site on a tour boat he was met by about a dozen boats draped with placards protesting the project.

"I've supported the NDP for years and years but I've never been more disappointed," said Wayne Mundle, one of the protesters.

Belliveau responded, saying rural Nova Scotians need sustainable jobs to keep young people in rural communities.

"We have sustainable jobs," replied Andre Gerrard. "I'm 32 years old and I worked on this farm up here and they pollute it and the salmon are sick... I don't need those jobs, the families here don't need those jobs."

The encounter was largely respectful but the minister was taunted with threats that the NDP will lose votes for its policy of promoting aquaculture.


Sterling Belliveau speaks to protesters during a aquaculture protest on the Eastern Shore. (Fernande Devost/CBC)

On a gently bobbing sea, Belliveau defended aquaculture saying it poses no threat to traditional fisheries. He also said current sites occupy a tiny fraction of coastline.

The minister did not persuade the protestors, who fear chemicals and feces from the fish farm will pollute local lobster grounds.

After the encounter both sides separated and returned to shore but the protestors were not finished. They briefly blocked the minister and his vehicle from leaving a local campground.