News release

Aquaculture Development Approved at St. Ann's Harbour, Cape Breton

AGRICULTURE/FISHERIES--Aquaculture Development Approved at St. Ann's Harbour, Cape Breton


An aquaculture development planned for St. Ann's Harbour, Victoria Co., has been given the go ahead. Ernest Fage, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, made the announcement today.

Development of the blue mussel farm will be phased in over the next four to six years.

"My decision to approve this mussel farm is based on the results of a thorough two-year government and public consultative review," said Mr. Fage. "We have examined the sites and anticipate that the mussel farm, with certain conditions, could be viable."

The local economy is expected to get a boost as the project includes the development of a processing plant in the community. Over the next four years it is hoped that the combined farm and plant operations could provide up to 50 jobs.

Bounty Bay Inc. of Prince Edward Island and four Englishtown, Victoria Co., fishermen will own and operate the mussel farm.

As part of the approval, Mr. Fage will establish a Community Liaison Committee in the area to review the planning and construction of the sites and to keep the community informed about development. It will report to the minister every year on the farm's progress.

An environmental monitoring plan will be put in place before mussels go into the water. This monitoring plan will help the developers manage their farms sustainably. There will be a moratorium on further mussel sites in St. Ann's Harbour during the 10-year tenure of these leases.

"It is always a challenge to find a reasonable balance for all the users of our coastal resource," said Mr. Fage. "However, we have fully examined the merits of this project and we are satisfied that the community will benefit from the mussel farm and plant."

Construction of the mussel operation is expected to begin this spring. It will take several years for the farm to reach full production.

Aquaculture is a $50-million industry in Nova Scotia. It employed one thousand people last year. Blue mussels accounted for $1.4 million in sales in 2000.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

The provincial agriculture and fisheries department approved the development of a Blue mussel farm in St. Ann's Harbour, Victoria County.

Fisheries Minister Ernest Fage says his decision to approve the aquaculture site is based on a thorough two-year government review that included an environmental analysis and public consultation.

The mussel farm operators, Bounty Bay Incorporated and four Englishtown fishermen, plan to open a processing plant in the community. The entire development is expected to provide up to 50 jobs.

It will take four to six years for the farm to reach full production.

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Contact:

Natalie Webster
Agriculture and Fisheries 902-424-0192 E-mail:
Leo Muise
Director, Aquaculture Agriculture and Fisheries 902-424-3664
kjd            February 21, 2002        11:12 A.M.