Nova Scotians Call for New Rules on Fish Farming


More than 400 call for new rules on fish farming in Nova Scotia
Published January 8, 2015 - 6:17pm
Last Updated January 8, 2015 - 11:00pm

 More than 400 people from community organizations across Nova Scotia turned out for a rally in Halifax on Thursday to issue a joint call for aquaculture reform.

The head table at a news conference organized by the Nova Scotia chapter of the Atlantic Coalition for Aquaculture Reform included dozens of representatives of conservation groups, commercial fisheries organizations and even tourism operators.

It was a massive show of support for the final report of the Independent Aquaculture Regulatory Review for Nova Scotia panel, released Dec. 16.

“We do not want these critical recommendations to languish in some bureaucratic backroom,” Raymond Plourde, with the Ecology Action Centre in Halifax, told participants.

There were repeated calls from a series of speakers for the province to adopt all recommendations included in the report, which Dalhousie University law professors Meinhard Doelle and William Lahey wrote.

“This is government’s opportunity to demonstrate leadership in producing a world-class regulatory system,” said Gloria Gilbert of Coastal Community Advocates.

The Doelle-Lahey report recommended protection of wild fish and lobster from the negative affects of fish farms.

It included, among other things, a call for regulations favouring aquaculture operations with low environmental impact and high economic value to the province.

“The report attempts to balance environmental concerns with the need to have a strong economy, and we support its immediate implementation,” Wendy Watson Smith, with the Association for the Preservation of the Eastern Shore, told participants.

The coalition organized the rally as a prelude to a strategy session for the organization in Halifax on Friday.

Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell said at the legislature a departmental review of the report was underway and due for completion in April.

“We’re very happy with the recommendations put forward, and we’re reviewing every item.”

Colwell said it was too early to comment on the coalition’s call for provincial adoption of all recommendations for regulatory reform recommended in the report.

The Doelle-Lahey report is available at www.aquaculturereview.ca.

With Michael Gorman,
provincial reporter