Nova Scotia

Lobster fishermen caution government on open-net farms

Scientists, fishermen and community groups say the Nova Scotia government should proceed cautiously in expanding its aquaculture industry.
The Nova Scotia government is lending $25 million to Cooke Aquaculture Inc. to expand its operations in Shelburne, Digby and Truro. (CBC)

Scientists, fishermen and community groups say the Nova Scotia government should proceed cautiously in expanding its aquaculture industry.

Some lobster fisherman on the south coast said they're worried open-net pen farms could harm a breeding ground for the crustaceans.

Ricky Hallett said Jordan Bay is a reproduction area for lobsters and he's worried possible pollutants from the pens could foul the habitat.

Marine biologist Jeff Hutchings of Dalhousie University said the NDP government should do more research before approving more sites.

The comments are part of an increasingly polarized debate in the province about the safety and economic benefit of ocean farming.

Nell Halse of Cooke Aquaculture said the company has been operating in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick for more than 15 years, with no evidence the industry hurts the lobster fishery.

The Nova Scotia government is lending $25 million to Cooke Aquaculture Inc. to expand its operations in Shelburne, Digby and Truro.

The government's recent aquaculture strategy emphasizes expansion in rural areas hit hard by unemployment.

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