Ocean based Atlantic salmon pens in Nova Scotia will operate under new regulations that track fish escapes. Image: Government of Nova Scotia

New regulations for Nova Scotia's aquaculture industry

Nova Scotia is amending regulations that will help track escaped fish from fish farms.

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Keith Colwell, aquaculture minister of Nova Scotia approved the changes that will be implemented as soon as this week.

 "Now if a fish escapes, once this is all in place, we can track the fish right back to the pen [from which] it escapes," said Colwell in media reports.

Tracking the fish includes implementing basic technologies such as tagging fish and testing DNA. Fish pen regulations are also being amended. Fish pens will need to be durable enough to withstand harsh Atlantic storms. 

The changes are being made as a result of reports submitted by a committee  that was evaluating fish containment in the province. Colwell said that the new regulations will help track the escapes that pose a risk to wild stocks through cross breeding.

"It's just to ensure also if there's an escape we can track it back to the person that's responsible and hold them accountable for any kind of damages, or anything." 


By implementing the new regulations the government hopes to gain the trust of the local communities that oppose fish farming.

Earlier this year Kelly Cove Salmon, a subsidiary of Cooke Aquaculture made an application to add more ocean cages to its Liverpool Bay operation near Coffin Island in Nova Scotia. 14 salmon cages were in operation at this location at the time of the application. Adding pens would boost production from 400,000 salmon to 1.8 million per year.The proposal was denied by the government and local community and has yet to be re-evaluated.