The Situation

Over the summer and fall of 2006, the Port Mouton Bay community learned of a proposal to establish a second fish farm in the Bay. The community had been co-existing with one fish farm in the Bay since 1994/1995. During that time fishermen and others living around the Bay had grown increasingly concerned about the negative effects of this existing fish farm. The prospect of second, much larger, fish farm in the Bay galvanized the community to take action.

Port Mouton Bay - Brief Background

Port Mouton Bay is located on the Atlantic Ocean, in Queens County, on the scenic South Shore of Nova Scotia. It is a large bay with islands, numerous beaches, tourism facilities, wharves and fish plants. The commercial fishery, especially lobster, and tourism are the primary sources of work in the area.

Queens County is a rural area, with a population under 12,000. A few larger employers (notably pulp and paper) plus tourism, and the resource based industries form the backbone of Queens economy.

Community Driven Campaign Opposing Open Cage Fish Farming

The community began to hold numerous meetings to develop a course of action. We began an intensive effort to publicize our concerns, and to learn about finfish aquaculture in Nova Scotia and in other parts of Canada.

In Nova Scotia, aquaculture projects are reviewed by both the province and the federal governments. In the fall of 2006, these reviews were well-underway. The community undertook an indepth "course" learning how these processes worked, taking advantage of any "public consultation" opportunities offered by these processes. In presenting our case, we identified and documented our key areas of concern.

Details on the second fish farm proposed by Aqua Fish are outlined below.

Review of Aquaculture Projects in Nova Scotia

Numerous federal and provincial departments play a role in reviewing aquauculture projects. See the flowchart (PDF) prepared by the province showing the application review process. Friends of Port Mouton Bay were very active during these review processes. We attended public meetings and prepared numerous written, well-documented submissions at various levels of review including:

Our Documents

Over the past six years, we conducted in depth research to better understand how our Bay "works". These documents formed the basis of our submissions to provincial and federal government agencies. See full listing of Our Documents.

Moratorium on Finfish Aquaculture Announced!

As the aquaculture review process was nearing an end, the Premier of Nova Scotia, Rodney MacDonald, made a surprise announcment. On March 12, 2009 he declared an “indefinite” moratorium on more finfish aquaculture operations in Port Mouton Bay. We were astonished and delighted!  Read more >

After the Moratorium

After the moratorium announcement, Friends of Port Mouton Bay focus turned to the existing fish farm #835 near Spectacle Island. Convinced that Port Mouton Bay is not suitable for open cage fish farming, Friends entered into discussions with the third owner of the site, Cooke Aquaculture. Friends received

Continue reading - Where We Are Now >

Proposal by Aqua Fish Farms Inc. for Second Salmon Fish Farm

With the moratorium announcement, the proposal for the second fish farm was withdrawn by the company. However, for historical purposes, the details of the proposal are outlined below.

Aqua Fish Farms Inc. is a New Brunswick based company established in 1985. They operate a number of farms on the Bay of Fundy (southwest New Brunswick) and employ about 60 people.

In 2006, the company operated salmon farm (#835) in the eastern harbour off Spectacle Island. This site started operations around 1995, first raising trout, but then switched to raising salmon. The company employed 5 full time staff at this site.

Aqua Fish Farms proposed that the second farm (#1251) be located off the west side of Port Mouton Island, across from the island's best beach. See proposed location in the Bay, site location and dimensions and site plan (Source: Aqua Fish Farm at Open House, November 13 and 14, 2006.) (See pictures of Port Mouton Island). If this proposal had been approved, Aqua Fish indicated a few additional staff would have been hired.

Aqua Fish Farm planed to rotate fish production between its original and proposed sites. Site 835 to be stocked with 200,000 fish. Site 1251 to be divided into two production areas: 1251a and 1251b, each to be stocked with 300,000 fish.

According to production schedule proposed by the company, they planned overlapping periods of production in any given year. For example, in 2007, both 1251a and 1251b would have been stocked and growing of a total of 600,000 fish. See chart.

Fish cage at existing fish farm near Spectacle Island

Aerial view of Carter's Beach, looking towards Port Mouton Island

(Photo: Blair Davis)

Existing fish farm as viewed from Carter's Beach

(Photo: Blair Davis)

Proposed location as seen from Matthew Atlantic site

(Photo: Blair Davis)