Nova Scotia aquaculture receives financial support post-wildfires
October 10, 2023
By Matt Jones
This year Nova Scotia saw the largest recorded wildfires in provincial history, including the Barrington Lake fire in Shelburne County, which covered 230 square kilometres at its height.
In response to the wildfires, the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture (NSDFA) announced in August that the province would be providing a one-time grant of $2,500 to licensed aquaculture operators, harvesting businesses fishing under an official license and licensed fish buyers and processors which were directly impacted by the wildfires.
“I’ve visited the Shelburne area since the wildfires and heard first-hand from operators about the impact on our seafood businesses,” Steve Craig, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, was quoted as saying in the initial news release. “My department will continue to work with the industry to provide support and respond to needs.”
The funding offer has mostly been accepted by capture fisheries and processors, however, as there is limited aquaculture activity in the areas most affected by the wildfires.
A representative for the Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia noted that they were unaware of any aquaculture businesses applying for the grant and only knew of one aquaculture business that had been affected by the wildfires – Kelly Cove Salmon, a Cooke Aquaculture subsidiary in Clark’s Harbour, which is in Shelburne County.
Even in that case, they had simply lost access to the farm for a few days and had no significant impacts.
A spokesperson for the NSDFA confirmed to Aquaculture North America that as of Oct. 4, the department had received 59 applications to date – 51 from harvesting enterprises, six buyers/processors and two aquaculture operators.
Prior to this NSDFA program, 21 seafood companies had applied for and received assistance through the Small Business Wildfire Relief Program, which was administered through the Department of Economic Development.
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