Aquaculture North America

Nova Scotia’s Premium Seafoods ceases operations due to government inaction

May 22, 2024
By Aquaculture North America staff

Premium Seafoods Group is based in Arichat, Cape Breton in Nova Scotia. (Photo: Premium Seafoods Group)

A Nova Scotia seafood company, Premium Seafoods Group, is ceasing its aquaculture operations due to the provincial government’s delay with matters concerning the industry.

According to a report from the CBC, the company said it is frustrated after no progress has been made with three new oyster aquaculture lease applications they submitted in 2019. The lease applications have not been withdrawn but further investment has been paused.

“This week our company informed the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture in Nova Scotia outlining our dismay at the state of aquaculture in N.S. and the numerous barriers hindering its progress,” said Michelle Samson, director of aquaculture operations said in a statement to CBC News.

“It is disheartening that the current process does not provide a realistic pathway for companies and individuals, both established and aspiring, to participate in the industry’s growth,” said Samson, who also recently resigned as president of the Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia.


Jeff Bishop, the Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia’s executive director said the province currently has about twenty-four aquaculture applications under review.

“It’s an unfortunate loss for us here in the sector,” said Bishop, adding that it’s not a unique situation. “People are discouraged by the length of time, and at times the lack of clarity of where their application may sit or what’s next.”

In response to this, the province said it has established a streamlined process for amending existing shellfish aquaculture licenses to add marine plant species. On April 15, Kent Smith, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, announced the creation of Nova Scotia’s first Aquaculture Development Area, in the Municipality of the District of Argyle. 

“The designated area will save industry time with pre-approved sites for growing shellfish and marine plants,” the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture told Aquaculture North America

The Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture also said it’s developing the Coastal Classification System, an online platform that will share information about sites that may be suitable for aquaculture. The goal is to streamline the licence and lease process for everyone involved, with the new tool to launch in March 2025.  

“We are also working to implement the recommendations of the aquaculture regulatory review committee. Progress continues to be made and we have shared updates with the Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Aquaculture Regulatory Advisory Committee,” said spokesperson, JoAnn Alberstat, in an email response to Aquaculture North America.

Print this page


Story continue below