Nova Scotia premier opposes Cooke expansion plan

Cooke farms salmon in locations from Canada to Chile to Scotland

A potential dispute is looming between the aquaculture giant Cooke Seafood and the leader of the Nova Scotia regional government in Canada.

Nova Scotia prime minister Tim Houston has come out against Cooke’s proposal to expand its salmon farm in Liverpool Bay through its Canadian aquaculture operation, trading as Kelly Cove Salmon Ltd.

There has also been a swell of opposition from some sections of the community against the proposal.

Cooke is seeking approval of an existing site boundary amendment at Coffin Island and to create two new marine finfish aquaculture licenses and leases for the cultivation of Atlantic salmon in Liverpool Bay at Brooklyn and Mersey.

It said last year that if successful, the Kelly Cove application would enable a modest Nova Scotia production increase to be phased in over a number of years.

It added that according to Statistics Canada, in 2021 Atlantic Canadian salmon aquaculture production in Nova Scotia was 8,592 tonnes, while Newfoundland harvested 15,904 tonnes and New Brunswick harvested 27,423 tonnes.

Now, the national broadcaster CBC reports that Premier Houston is opposing the plan because the project would triple the number of salmon in the area and add two more fish farm sites.

“There’s certainly a lot of people in Liverpool that are concerned about this. I respect their concerns and have heard their concerns,” Houston told the press in in Halifax.

He added: “While I think there’s incredible opportunities for aquaculture in this province, it’s my personal opinion that Liverpool Bay is not an appropriate place for that.”

However, the final decision on whether the expansion should go ahead will be made not by politicians but by an independent commission.

Cooke told CBC that it has been working on the project with provincial and federal regulators for several years.

Although expanding and creating jobs and a great deal prosperity in several areas, Canada’s aquaculture industry frequently has a strained relationship with both federal and regional governments, most notably in British Columbia.

Opposition is generally less intense on the eastern seaboard, but it is there all the same.

Growth plans are frequently met with opposition from local residents, sport fishing groups and those opposed to fish farming in any form.


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