News release

Atlantic Provinces Ready For Aquaculture Growth

Aquaculture is an important economic driver for rural, coastal and Indigenous communities, and Atlantic Canada is well positioned to increase aquaculture production as global demand for sustainably sourced seafood grows.

That is why the ministers responsible for aquaculture in the Atlantic provinces have agreed to the ongoing development and management of their industries based on common principles. A new memorandum of understanding has been signed by the four ministers, which extends the previous agreement signed in 2008.

“In a time when food security is especially important, it is good to see our aquaculture industry has grown steadily and is poised for continued growth in 2021 based on environmentally responsible, science-based policies and practices,” said Keith Colwell, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture for Nova Scotia. “Our Atlantic partnership continues to help the industry grow sustainably.”

Cooperation between the provinces and the aquaculture industry has led to improvements in pest management, environmentally sustainable aquaculture methods, aquatic animal health and policies to support the shared use of marine and freshwater resources. It also aims to align regulation and policy between the provinces to make the regulatory requirements easier to understand by industry and the public.

Each province has a comprehensive and robust legislative and regulatory framework to ensure environmental sustainability, economic prosperity and public accountability. The provinces update their legislation and regulations regularly. Nova Scotia revamped its regulatory framework in 2015; New Brunswick received Royal Assent for a new Aquaculture Act in 2019 and is working on the supporting regulations; Newfoundland and Labrador completely revised its aquaculture policy in 2019; and Prince Edward Island has recently drafted a new Aquaculture Act.

The ministers have agreed to continue to use science-based evidence for management decisions, thereby increasing public and investor confidence in the Atlantic Canadian aquaculture industry.


Our aquaculture industry on P.E.I. is very valuable to our economy, and we are excited to see the continued growth that can be achieved through this memorandum of understanding. We are grateful for the successful collaboration that we have had with our Atlantic counterparts over the years, and we look forward to renewing our partnership for the benefit of our aquaculturists on P.E.I. Jamie Fox, Minister of Fisheries and Communities, Prince Edward Island

Sustainable aquaculture development has created economic opportunities that have revitalized rural communities within Newfoundland and Labrador. I am pleased to cooperate with my Atlantic counterparts on a memorandum of understanding that will increase harmonization between our provinces and strengthen aquaculture management. Derrick Bragg, Minister of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture, Newfoundland and Labrador

New Brunswick is proud to continue its collaborative relationship with our Atlantic counterparts as we grow the aquaculture sectors in our provinces. This partnership solidifies the Atlantic provinces’ commitment to align regulations, policies and standards between our provinces as well as enhancing the legislative landscape. This work will provide industry with a clear, predictable and consistent framework in which to operate. It also provides an enabling environment for growth with strong environmental, aquatic animal health and habitat protections in place. Margaret Johnson, Minister of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries, New Brunswick

Quick Facts:

  • aquaculture in Nova Scotia had a market value of more than $90 million and employed 881 Nova Scotians in 2020
  • science-based management of aquaculture sites involves the application and enforcement of aquaculture legislation, policy, and the terms and conditions of licences and leases
  • responsible growth is managed through collaboration with Health Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Transport Canada, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Additional Resources:

Laws and regulations related to aquaculture in Nova Scotia: