The lease options – which were awarded on October 15 - are in addition to four granted to Cermaq in April in the Chedabucto Bay (north east Nova Scotia) and St Mary’s Bay (south west) regions.
“These options will allow us to investigate the potential for salmon farming in the two bays, and we will start collecting data and looking at potential feasibility,” said Cermaq Canada managing director David Kiemele.
“We believe the South Shore region of Nova Scotia could present excellent opportunities for salmon farming due to the sheltered nature of the bays, the depth and water temperatures. As before we are sharing this information very early in the process and need to get on the water and into the communities to better understand the area.”
Site feasibility and engagement within the original lease options is continuing.
Cermaq has previously said it needs to identify enough sites to support 20,000 metric tonnes of production. There would also have to be general support for the venture from commercial fisheries, residents, the Mi’kmaq First Nation of Nova Scotia and local and provincial governments.
“This commitment remains true for our work in St Margaret’s and Mahone Bay,” said Vicki Savoie, Cermaq Canada’s sustainable development director for the East Coast.
“We do need to achieve enough sites to support about 20,000 metric tonnes of production – which translates into about 15 to 20 farms which would be spread between the areas we are investigating.
“We will begin feasibility and engagement work in St Margaret’s Bay and Mahone Bay shortly.
“We don’t expect to be able to achieve this production level in any one particular region which is why we are increasing our scope. We are now ready to get on the ground in the region and start talking with people.”
Cermaq said initial meetings will be held with commercial fishing associations, the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia, municipal government and interested groups and associations, and these will be followed by a broad community engagement.
It added that it noted and respected that the waters and shoreline of both Mahone Bay and St Margaret’s Bay are home to a UNESCO World Heritage site, many significant historical buildings and a thriving tourism industry.
“As a company, we have experience operating successfully in similar environments and aims to further understand how we could potentially add value to the economic and social fabric of the region,” said Savoie.
“We know that each community and region is unique in regards to values and concerns and opportunities when it comes to aquaculture development. Through ongoing work to engage with residents, property owners, associations, governments and the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia, we are building a better understanding of how we could potentially add value, and also a better understanding of what is important to Nova Scotians.”
Cermaq, owned by Japan’s Mistubishi Corporation, is one of the world’s biggest salmon farmers and has operations in Norway, British Columbia and Chile.