Aquaculture North America

Nova Scotia government expands rating system to include shellfish

January 30, 2024
By Aquaculture North America staff

The Nova Scotia government, at an aquaculture industry conference in Halifax, announced the expansion of a coastal classification system to rate areas for aquaculture suitability to include shellfish operations. 

CBC News reported that it was originally billed as a way to provide more transparency for fish farm sites like open-net salmon pens. The online platform is being developed and expected to go live in March 2025.

The expansion, which will eventually include marine plants like rockweed and kelp, was announced by Kent Smith, the province’s Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture on Jan. 25.

Aquaculture landings in Nova Scotia were valued at C$158 million (US$117.9 million) in 2022 with C$138 million (US$102.9 million) generated by Atlantic salmon. Oysters were valued at C$4.7 million (US$3.5 million) and blue mussels at C$1.5 million (US$1.1 million). The shellfish sector has complained that expansion has been affected because it is subject to the same regulatory review used to assess marine fish farms.

“The amount of scrutiny through this process is out of proportion with the amount of risk,” said Ernie Porter, owner of Town Point Oysters, the company that recently received approval to open an oyster farm in Antigonish Harbour, Nova Scotia.

Michelle Samson, director of aquaculture of Premium Seafood Group and president of the Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia, said the development is “intriguing but we need to wait.” 

Samson said companies need to know more; for example, if a suitability rating will differentiate between types of shellfish.

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