Cooke Aquaculture is planning to invest almost CAN $60m dollars building a new salmon hatchery in Canada’s Nova Scotia province.
Notice of the proposal from Cooke was posted by the Nova Scotia Government two days ago.
The facility will be at Centreville on the 20-mile long Digby Neck peninsular, and about three hours’ drive from the provincial capital Halifax.
The national broadcaster CBC.ca says the land based hatchery will be able to produce three million salmon a year, supplying Cooke’s 13 fish farms in the province. The total investment is thought to be around CAN $58.6m.
Known as a post-smolt hatchery, the environmentally friendly facility will be able to grow fish for longer on land and release them larger into the ocean, reducing time at sea where they are more susceptible to disease and weather.
Normally fish are grown to 125 grammes at hatcheries but these salmon would be around 500 grammes before release.
“Growing them larger allows them to be larger and stronger and more healthy when they’re in the ocean,” Cooke spokesperson Joel Richardson told CBC News.
Digby County warden Linda Gregory told CBC News: “I feel so good about it. It’s land-based. It’s jobs. It’s generating work for years.”
The company said the project was not dependent on receiving approval from the provincial Aquaculture Review Board for a major expansion at Liverpool Bay in Nova Scotia where it has applied to add 46 pens and increase capacity to 1.8 million salmon.
Nova Scotia claims to be Canada’s largest seafood exporter, accounting for more than 27% of the nation’s total overseas fish and shellfish sales.
Although an attractive location popular with summer tourists, Digby Neck and the surrounding area has lost much of its traditional fishing economy over the years , so the Cooke plan is likely to be welcomed by most locals.