Massive aquaculture operation in Newfoundland gets green light

A new aquaculture farm planned for Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, Canada, has received final environmental approval from the province’s government.

The project – which could produce up to 33,000 metric tons of salmon annually in 11 sea cages positioned around Placentia Bay – is a joint venture between Grieg Newfoundland, a subsidiary of Norwegian salmon farming firm Grieg Group, and St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada-based Ocean Choice International.

The environmental approval allows Grieg and Ocean Choice to complete the permit and license applications process, Grieg Newfoundland said in a press release. 

“This project release is a significant milestone in the company’s development and business plans,” Grieg NL General Manager Knut Skeidsvoll said. “We are very grateful for the encouragement and support we received from residents, municipalities and the business community of the Burin Peninsula, and from Premier Dwight Ball, Member of the House of Assembly for Burin-Grand Bank Carol Anne Haley, Member of the House of Assembly for Placentia West – Bellevue Mark Browne, Member of Parliament for Bonavista-Burin-Trinity Churence Rogers and his predecessor The Honourable Judy Foote.”

The first part of the project has an estimated price tag of CAD 250 million (USD 190 million, EUR 163.8 million). The second part of the project – planned to begin in the fall of this year – is a CAD 75 million (USD 57 million, EUR 49.1 million) land-based, recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) hatchery and nursery in the Marystown marine industrial park. The hatchery will provide seven million fish annually for operations, including six millon smolt weighing 300 grams and one million weighing 1.5 kilograms.

The idea of using significantly larger smolt than traditionally produced in this region is to generate a higher price from a larger fish; have a healthier fish that can combat sea lice and other health challenges; and reduce farm time from 18 to 16 months, according to information provided by Grieg.

When completed, the Placentia Bay project will more than double the province’s annual production of salmon and be one of the biggest salmon farms in Canada.

Before the project was approved, it survived two court cases involving an environment assessment process. In the first, the provincial minister of the environment and climate change opted to release the proposed farm from an environmental assessment. The minister’s decision was challenged in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador by the Atlantic Salmon Federation.

Rendering courtesy of Grieg NL


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