Aquaculture North America

New oyster farm approved in Nova Scotia

January 9, 2024
By Aquaculture North America staff

Nova Scotia Aquaculture Review Board (ARB) has approved a new oyster farm by Town Point Consulting in Antigonish Harbour.

Town Point Consulting intends to grow up to three million oysters a year from three sites, covering a total area of 36 hectares. The first oyster seed will be going into the water in spring this year.

“It was a long journey and we’re very happy with the outcome and now we can turn our attention to more productive tasks,” said Ernie Porter, Town Point owner in a CBC report.

This was the second application for a new marine aquaculture operation decided by the ARB. The first application for an oyster farm in Yarmouth County, N.S. was approved in 2020.

Town Point’s proposal met opposition from some locals who said it posed an environmental threat to the watershed. They cited lower property values and interference with commercial and recreational uses in the harbour as reasons for their disapproval, but in its decision on Jan. 5, the review board ruled that their claims were unfounded.

“Our conclusion, after careful consideration of the state of the science and opportunities to reduce impacts through effective regulations, is that the regulatory framework should not be prohibitory at a provincial scale. Instead, we recommend fundamental changes to the regulation of aquaculture, which we conclude can address the serious and legitimate concerns raised without foreclosing the opportunity associated with this sector of the industry,” the decision from the ARB reads. 

“We are satisfied that it can be done without damage to the ecosystem, including eelgrass and piping plovers,” ARB added.

The opposition wasn’t happy with this approval.

“We are obviously disappointed with the ARB decision. It appears as though the ARB ignored and/or discounted a host of critical facts and revelations from the hearing,” said Peter Bowler and Mike MacDonald, two people who opposed to the oyster farm.

Bowler filed an application against the farm on behalf of a Friends of Antigonish Harbour.


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The approval was welcomed by the aquaculture industry, which has not been impressed by the slow pace of approvals in Nova Scotia, especially for new shellfish sites.

“The Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia is pleased to hear of the positive decision by the Nova Scotia Aquaculture Review Board on Town Point Oysters’ applications for three new marine leases in Antigonish Harbour,” said the association’s spokesperson, Kate Collins, in a statement.

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