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The Nova Scotia government has decided not to spend $2.8 million building a bio-secure fish laboratory in Shelburne. (CBC)

The Nova Scotia government has quietly shelved a $2.8-million proposal to build a bio-secure fish laboratory in Shelburne, choosing a cheaper alternative to get the job done.

The proposal was first floated in 2012 in internal government documents obtained by The Canadian Press under freedom of information laws.

The documents say the proposed lab would be used to monitor the health of fish raised in aquaculture sites along the province's southwest coast.

Last October, Fisheries Minister Keith Colwell confirmed the government was considering the plan, but he made it clear the proposal represented the most expensive option for improving monitoring.

On Friday, a department spokeswoman said the government has dropped the original proposal and has instead built a new, $250,000 lab inside the Nova Scotia Community College campus in Shelburne.

The new lab is not a Level-2, bio-secure facility, as suggested in the original proposal.