Plans unveiled after an in-depth study shows salmon farming has no adverse impact on lobster growth and abundance
Cooke Aquaculture, a family owned seafood giant, wants to expand its operations in Nova Scotia with a new fish processing plant and new open-pen salmon farms.
CEO Glenn Cooke outlined the company’s plans Thursday in Halifax, which if successful, will see Nova Scotia’s first new open net salmon farm since a moratorium on such operations was lifted three years ago.
“Our goal is to produce more salmon in Nova Scotia, more seawater sites that we are applying for,” Cooke (pictured) told a Halifax Chamber of Commerce luncheon, according to the CBC.
The expansion plan is in Liverpool Bay, where the company has an existing operation.
Cooke said the company needs to produce about 30 million pounds of salmon per year to proceed.
“You know you’re not going to get a General Motors or a Ford come build a big plant anywhere in rural Atlantic Canada. It’s not going to happen. And you know tech goes so far and I think we all are thankful for those tech jobs. But for rural Atlantic Canada, there’s not a lot of choice,” he said, pitching aquaculture as a potential saviour for the rural economy.
Cooke Aquaculture Inc. began in 1985 as a small salmon farming company in New Brunswick. Today, it is a vertically integrated seafood farming corporation with operations in Atlantic Canada, United States, Chile, Scotland, Spain, Uruguay, Honduras and Nicaragua.
The Cooke family of companies employ 9,000 and include US and South American wild fisheries with annual sales over $2 billion.
CBC reported that opponents are already lining up to fight Cooke’s expansion plans, claiming more fish farms will harm the area, especially the lobster fishery.
However, the company said the salmon farms can coexist with the lobster fishery and pointed to a recent study found that the aquaculture operations have had no impact on the crustaceans.
The in-depth eight-year study of lobsters living below a salmon farm off New Brunswick’s Grand Manan Island was published this month in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.
It concluded that the aquaculture operation had no impact on the crustaceans’ abundance, size or growth in the area.