Cermaq eyes Nova Scotia for new salmon farms

“We are coming to Nova Scotia with open minds, hearts and ears; looking for guidance, local knowledge and history.”

By SeaWestNews

British Columbia-based Cermaq, Canada’s second largest salmon farming company, is looking to expand its operations in Nova Scotia.

The news comes in the wake of Cooke Aquaculture, an Atlantic-Canada family owned seafood giant, announcing its intention to expand operations in Nova Scotia with a new fish processing plant and new open-net pen salmon farms.

Cermaq, which is owned by Mitsubishi, said the province of Nova Scotia has granted it four options to lease and the company intends to launch site investigations, and feasibility studies, as well as extensive public engagement.

Nova Scotia lifted a moratorium on salmon farming operations three years ago.

The areas identified within the Options to Lease for Cermaq include the Chedabucto Bay region (Guysborough Country and Richmond Valley) on the eastern shoreline, and in the St. Mary’s region south of Digby on the province’s south-western coast.

“We are passionate salmon farmers, and we are excited about the opportunity to start on-the-ground investigations and engagement in the Guysborough, Richmond and St. Mary’s Bay regions,” said David Kiemele, Managing Director for Cermaq Canada.

“We will be using the next six months to launch extensive stakeholder and public engagement. We have also entered into exploratory conversations with the Mi’kmaq Nation of Nova Scotia,” he said.

“We are coming to listen, to learn and to ask questions. As excited as we are, we know that we need to have community, stakeholder and Mi’kmaq support to proceed, and we look forward to those discussions.”

Cermaq will begin the process of establishing an Information office in the Guysborough region, and hiring local employees to help lead the engagement process and act as community liaisons.

Linda Sams, Sustainable Development Director for Cermaq Canada said the company will be sharing all details via its Nova Scotia website at HelloNovaScotia.ca and on social media.

 “We are coming to Nova Scotia with open minds, hearts and ears; looking for guidance, local knowledge and history. We admit that we don’t know what we don’t know as the saying goes. We want to learn about what communities value, what is important to each unique region, and develop an idea of how Cermaq could potentially fit into that picture. We also want to share some of the good things we have to offer.”

Recently released numbers show that Nova Scotia remains Canada’s seafood export leader with more than $2 billion in exports amounting to 29 per cent of Canada’s total seafood exports, according to a news release from the province.

Nova Scotia’s seafood exports have more than doubled since 2012, when they stood at $922 million.

The government says the aquaculture industry is worth more than $60 million annually in Nova Scotia. ​

Cermaq Canada based in Campbell River, BC. produces fresh Atlantic salmon at 27 nursery and production farms around Vancouver Island and operates four land-based freshwater facilities, 2 processing plants (one contracted).  It directly employs more than 250 full time workers, including 30% aboriginal as well as hundreds of secondary workers.

The expansion, if successful in Nova Scotia, could mean up to 300 new jobs in that province.


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