Nova Scotia Seafood Company Halts Aquaculture Operations Amidst Regulatory Frustrations

Nova Scotia Seafood Company Halts Aquaculture Operations Amidst Regulatory Frustrations

A major seafood company in Nova Scotia has halted its aquaculture operations due to frustrations with the provincial government's slow handling of the industry.

Premium Seafoods expressed disappointment over the years-long wait for the government to process its application for shellfish leases in Arichat, Cape Breton. Despite submitting the applications for three new oyster aquaculture leases in 2019 and successfully testing kelp farming in the area, there has been no progress.

Michelle Samson, Director of Aquaculture Operations, conveyed the company's decision to step back from aquaculture operations to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. While the lease applications remain active, further investment has been paused due to the lack of a feasible pathway for industry participation.

Additionally, Samson resigned as president of the Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia in response to the situation, signaling the broader impact of the issue within the sector.

Jeff Bishop, the association's executive director, highlighted the widespread frustration within the industry over lengthy approval processes. Despite recent efforts by the province to expedite approvals in certain areas, such as the Argyle Aquaculture Development Area, many feel discouraged by the overall pace and clarity of the process.

In response to Premium Seafoods' decision, Nova Scotia Fisheries and Aquaculture acknowledged Samson's service and decision to step down from her position. The department reiterated its commitment to streamlining the process, citing ongoing pilot projects, regulatory reviews, and the development of an online platform to identify suitable aquaculture sites.

However, Nova Scotia's shellfish aquaculture sector still lags behind that of Prince Edward Island, according to Department of Fisheries and Oceans statistics. The significant difference in production value underscores the urgency of addressing the challenges facing Nova Scotia's aquaculture industry.

Source: Paul Withers (May 8, 2024). Frustration over lengthy delays in Nova Scotia aquaculture approvals triggers company pullback. CBC News.