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Fisheries Act Changes to Strengthen Aquaculture Regulation

Environment Economics Politics +3 more

CANADA - Changes to the Fisheries and Coastal Resources Act, which came into force yesterday, 21 April, signal a more transparent and rigorous approach to regulating aquaculture in Nova Scotia.

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"Today we're beginning the process to implement the advice we received in the recent Doelle Lahey report," said Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell.

"We need stronger oversight and to release information more proactively, and this is the first step to make that a reality and build trust between the public, government and the industry.

"It will take time to have the system totally in place, but this is an important step in establishing a world-class regulatory framework for aquaculture development in Nova Scotia."

There are several key changes included in the amendments that reflect the recommendations of the independent regulatory review by professors Meinhard Doelle and William Lahey. They are:

  • define the purpose of aquaculture and spell out government's commitment to stronger regulation of the industry and improved transparency.

  • create an independent three-member Nova Scotia Aquaculture Review Board, a step that exceeds the recommendation in the Doelle Lahey report. Following public hearings, the review board will make application decisions on leases and licences.

  • new rules and processes around public consultations, tenures of leases, environmental and fish health will follow in regulations authorized by the act. This will emphasize stronger oversight and enhanced public access to information

Following recommendations in the Doelle Lahey report, government will make more information available to the public. The list of available information will be outlined once regulations are released.

One of the amendments tabled today is necessary because it acknowledges the privileged nature of veterinary records. These records are privileged and must be exempt under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

"These changes are long overdue in Nova Scotia," said Mr Colwell. "We want Nova Scotia to be a leader in managing development of this industry in an environmentally sustainable and accountable way."