Aquaculture regulations to be updated
Nova Scotia’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell introduced amendments to the Fisheries and Coastal Resources Act on March 9 with the intent to improve how the aquaculture industry is regulated. In a statement released after the bill’s introduction, the Minister indicated that improved regulations will contribute to sustainable growth.
"Aquaculture is estimated to have been worth over $100 million to the Nova Scotia economy in 2017," said Minister Colwell. "As we continue to improve our regulations, we are creating the conditions and clarity that will enable the industry to continue to grow responsibly and sustainably."
The proposed changes will provide clarity to industry on various operational issues, and streamline some processes now in place, including allowing the amalgamation of two or more adjacent licensed aquaculture sites by the same operator under one licence, requiring ministerial approval to apply to the Aquaculture Review Board to amend an existing licence or lease, creating a class of institutional aquaculture licences and leases for non-commercial operations and clarifying the process around the 30-day appeal period for Aquaculture Review Board decisions.
Initial industry response appeared favourable.
"Industry believes the move to allow consolidation of adjacent leases will provide efficiencies for farm management practices and reduce red tape for small business," said Tom Smith, executive director, Aquaculture Association of NS.
Aquaculture is responsible for supporting about 600 direct jobs, many located in the rural areas of the province.