Decision is the latest blow to anti-salmon farm activists, who keep falsely claiming that marine aquaculture operations are responsible for dwindling wild stocks.

Cooke wins aquaculture boundary expansion in Nova Scotia

Decision is the latest blow to anti-salmon farm activists, who keep falsely claiming that marine aquaculture operations are responsible for dwindling wild stocks.

By Fabian Dawson

The Nova Scotia Aquaculture Review Board (ARB) has approved a salmon farmer’s boundary expansion saying that it has no adverse impact on the sustainability of wild stocks, while making a genuine contribution to the provinces economic development.

The latest aquaculture decision deals another blow to anti-fish farm activists on both Canadians coasts, who keep falsely claiming that the marine operations are responsible for dwindling wild stocks.

The review board ruling is a victory for seafood farmer Cooke Aquaculture, which earlier this month also won a court battle against the activists to farm Pacific Steelhead trout in Washington State.

In that landmark 9-0 ruling, the Washington State Supreme Court had found the claims about disease and sea lice impacting wild stocks, that have been falsely and widely propagated by anti-fish farm activists in the Pacific Northwest, to be without merit.

It follows a seven-decade aquaculture analysis conducted in Scotland that shows that salmon farms have nothing to do with declining wild stocks.

Cooke subsidiary Kelly Cove Salmon had applied for the boundary amendment for Farm AQ1039 located off Rattling Beach in the Annapolis Basin in Digby stating to bring all moorings and equipment within the lease boundary, with no changes in equipment, location or production increases.

“The ARB hearing process was thorough and rigorous, and included input from multiple stakeholders. We are pleased with the outcome of this application and look forward to engaging with this process for the other applications we have before the ARB,” said Joel Richardson, Vice President, Public Relations for Cooke Aquaculture Inc.

The Canadian aquaculture industry generates more than $5.4 billion in economic activity, over $2.2 billion in GDP, and employs over 26,000 Canadians, mostly in salmon farming. Over 40 First Nation and Indigenous communities are directly or indirectly involved in farming seafood in Canada.

But the   salmon farmers are under constant attack by activists, who have pushed their negative narrative about ocean-pen aquaculture by denying all science that challenges their unscientific observations.

In British Columbia, bowing to the demands of anti-fish farm activists, the Liberals have planned to transition all open-net salmon farms, despite its own government scientists saying that the maritime operations have less than a minimal impact on wild stocks.

In addition to the phase out of salmon farms in the Discovery islands and the Broughton Archipelago, over 100 federal salmon farming permits are set to expire next June in British Columbia.

The activists are pushing the government not to renew any of the permits.

The Discovery Island’s decision will have a devastating economic fallout and see BC losing almost $390 million in annual economic output with $87 million less in annual salaries and benefits, and 1,535 fewer job, according to an independent analysis.

Mowi Canada West – British Columbia’s largest salmon producer – earlier this month decided to permanently close its fish processing plant in Surrey is   a direct result of the Liberal Government’s decision   on December 17th, 2020, to cancel salmon farming licenses in the Discovery Islands.

“There has been no government action, by any level, to help save these jobs in the salmon farming industry, an industry that is an important economic ingredient to Canada and to our food security systems,” said Anita Huberman, President & CEO, Surrey Board of Trade.

The BC salmon farmers are awaiting a judicial review of the Discovery Islands’ decision.

(Image of the Rattling Beach salmon farm in Nova Scotia courtesy of Cooke Aquaculture)