Cermaq withdraws Nova Scotia expansion, Kelly Cove reaffirms growth plans

Published on
April 9, 2020

Cermaq Canada announced 9 April that it plans to “step back” from all expansion investigations in Nova Scotia, Canada, citing an insufficient number of viable farming sites in the region.

Cermaq first announced its expansion plans in April 2019, and was planning on multiple farm sites with a production capacity of 3,500 metric tons per site, with a total annual production of 20,000 metric tons of salmon. However, according to a release from Cermaq, the regions in Nova Scotia the company was targeting ended up not having enough viable farming sites in the four areas the company investigated.

“We knew that we would need to identify between 15 and 20 viable farm sites spread throughout the four option areas in order to achieve the required annual production. Unfortunately, we were unable to locate enough sites at this time, and have made the decision to allow all of our Options to Lease to expire,” Cermaq Canada Managing Director David Kiemele said in the release. “We acknowledge there were many people interested in our potential investment as this kind of economic diversification can be very important to rural coastal communities. Aquaculture, such as salmon farming, will have an increasingly important role to play in responding to climate change and contributing to North American food security.”

As a result of the decision, Cermaq said it is wrapping up its feasibility work and closing the Guysborough, Nova Scotia office.

“All public engagement, including the Community Information Advisor Committees will stop, effective immediately,” the company wrote. “Cermaq would like to thank residents, local government, businesses, and the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia for their time through the process and wish the people of Nova Scotia nothing but the best.”

As Cermaq announced it was pulling out of its Nova Scotia expansion plans, Kelly Cove Salmon, a division of Cooke Aquaculture, based in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, “reaffirmed its support” for investing in farming in the region.

“Our aim is to grow responsibly in Nova Scotia,” Joel Richardson, vice president of public relations for Cooke Aquaculture, said in a release. “And this means modest expansion, putting fish health and environmental sustainability at the forefront of our growth strategy."

Kelly Cove currently produces salmon across 12 sites in Nova Scotia, and the company added that it will continue to invest in local jobs in the province.

“We rely on veterinarians, biologists, and feed specialists for advice and oversight on our everyday farming practices,” Richardson said. “To date, farm management practices such as single year class stocking, enhanced biosecurity protocols, creation of bay management areas, reduced stocking densities, fish health monitoring and early intervention remain the industry’s best tools in proper rearing of healthy farmed seafood.” 

Photo courtesy of Reimar/Shutterstock 

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