Cooke’s Kelly Cove Salmon gets approval for boundary amendment for Nova Scotia salmon farm
Cooke Inc. subsidiary Kelly Cove Salmon has received approval from the Nova Scotia Aquaculture Review Board for a boundary amendment that will allow for the expansion of its Rattling Beach salmon farm.
Kelly Cove has owned and operated the site, which includes an array of 20 sea cages, since 2004. The company’s request for a boundary extension was approved despite a challenge from wild salmon and anti-aquaculture advocacy groups in Nova Scotia.
“The ARB hearing process was thorough and rigorous, and included input from multiple stakeholders. We are pleased with the outcome of this application and look forward to engaging with this process for the other applications we have before the ARB,” Cooke Vice President of Public Relations Joel Richardson said in a press release.
Richardson said the NSARB found Kelly Cove Salmon “has been proactive, and has invested heavily, to follow international best practices” and that the expansion of the farm’s boundaries will have no impact on the sustainability of wild Atlantic salmon.
“Kelly Cove has operated on this lease since 2004, and the site has been an active aquaculture operation since 1994,” Richardson said. “Our application was to bring all moorings and equipment within the lease boundary, with no changes in equipment, location, or production increases. The board concluded that the boundary amendment would have no negative impact upon the factors which it was required to consider.”
In a press release, the Healthy Bays Network – which includes the Ecology Action Centre, the Atlantic Salmon Federation, and Ecojustice as members – said the board “made several controversial, precedent-setting procedural rulings at the hearing, including a decision not to hear evidence pertaining to the NSDFA’s past regulatory performance at the Rattling Beach site.”
“The intervening team argued that Cooke had been operating outside of legal lease boundaries for more than a decade, and that the province had failed to uphold its duty to enforce regulations under Nova Scotia’s Fisheries and Coastal Resources Act,” the groups said. “[NSARB] Board Chair Jean McKenna ruled that the province’s enforcement history ‘has nothing to do’ with the NSARB’s decision-making criteria. The Ecojustice legal team representing the intervenor countered that the NSDFA’s capacity to enforce regulations should be key to the Board’s decision. The Healthy Bays Network agrees."
Health Bays Network Chair Brian Muldoon called Nova Scotia’s regulatory system overseeing its salmon-farming industry “toothless.”
However, the NSARB ruled the 160-meter expansion of the farm’s boundaries, and the fact that no new equipment, species, harvesting methods, yields, or structural changes will be included in the expansion, meant it would effectively have no impact on any of the factors under review by the board.
Photo courtesy of Kelly Cove Salmon