Province Invests in Good Jobs, Strong Rural Communities

Premier's Office

June 21, 2012 1:21 PM

The province is helping to create hundreds of good jobs and strengthen the economy in rural Nova Scotia through an important capital investment in Cooke Aquaculture Inc., Premier Darrell Dexter announced in Shelburne today, June 21.

"This investment represents a tremendous opportunity for southwest Nova Scotia, and the entire province," said Premier Dexter. "This is about helping mothers, fathers and young people. Today we are creating good jobs that families in communities can count on. This is about creating opportunities for young people to put down roots and make a better life in these communities.”

The provincial investment includes a $16-million interest-bearing loan and a $9-million forgivable loan through the Nova Scotia Jobs Fund and jobsHere. Four million dollars of the $16-million interest-bearing loan can be forgiven based on research, development, and commercialization of innovation in the aquaculture industry, helping it maintain stability in the long term.

Cooke also plans to invest $150 million in the expansion, which is already underway.

Cooke Aquaculture has the largest salmon farming operation in Atlantic Canada, employing about 140 Nova Scotians. With this investment, the company will create more than 400 more jobs in rural Nova Scotia.

It allows Cooke to grow its operations in Shelburne and Digby, with 120 jobs, build a new salmon hatchery in Digby with 20 new jobs, expand a feed mill in Truro with 30 positions and open a fish processing facility in Shelburne, which will employ an estimated 320 people.

"With this investment, we can continue to build on the innovative, science-based and sustainable practices that our family company has developed in Atlantic Canada," said Glenn Cooke, CEO of Cooke Aquaculture. "In our commitment to meet the world's growing demand for healthy fish -- fish that are farmed right here in Nova Scotia -- we are grateful for the community support we have received since we began our operations here, and we look forward to growing the Cooke employee team."

"We are very pleased to hear about this investment as it means a lot to our rural area," said Al Delaney, Mayor of Shelburne. "We are very supportive of Cooke Aquaculture. They understand our rural area and we look forward to working with the Cooke family to help make their business a success in Shelburne."

Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing sectors in the fishing industry and has strong growth potential in Nova Scotia. Half of all seafood consumed is farmed.

Nova Scotia's aquaculture industry employs more than 750 people, primarily in rural areas, and contributes more than $57 million to the provincial economy.

Cooke is a significant exporter in the industry, processing and selling more than 160 million pounds of Atlantic salmon and four million pounds of trout each year.

"The release of the aquaculture strategy was an important step to help ensure aquaculture development is conducted in a way that protects the environment and the traditional fisheries," said Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Sterling Belliveau. "This significant investment announced today further demonstrates government's commitment to developing a sustainable industry that will create jobs throughout our rural communities and grow the economy."

The Nova Scotia Jobs Fund pursues investment opportunities for communities in transition, industry sectors, regional support, small businesses programs, infrastructure and large industrial ventures.


FOR BROADCAST USE:

     The province is helping to create hundreds of good jobs and

strengthen the economy in rural Nova Scotia through a 25-million-

dollar investment in Cooke Aquaculture Inc., Premier Darrell

Dexter announced in Shelburne today (June 21st).

     Premier Dexter says the investment is about more parents

whose children can get steady work near home, more kids in

school, and better services supported by sustainable, value-added

enterprise.

     Cooke Aquaculture has the largest salmon farming operation

in Atlantic Canada, employing about 140 Nova Scotians. With this

investment, the company will create more than 400 more jobs in

rural Nova Scotia.

     Cooke will grow its operations in Shelburne and Digby,

build a new salmon hatchery in Digby, expand a feed mill in Truro

and open a fish processing facility in Shelburne.

     Cooke also plans to invest 150 million dollars in the

expansion, which is already underway.

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Media Contacts: Jennnifer Stewart
                Premier's Office
                902-424-0007
                E-mail: stewarjl@gov.ns.ca

                Nell Halse             
                Cooke Aquaculture Ltd.
                506-694-4908
                E-mail: nhalse@cookeaqua.com