June 16, 2024


You are Your Only Limit

N.S. oyster farm accepted, regulator rejects opponents’ environmental claims

4 min read

Nova Scotia regulators have approved a new oyster farm in Antigonish Harbour, rejecting ecosystem fears, dismissing evidence submitted by opponent professionals and vindicating the carry out of the promoter.

Town Position Consulting intends to expand up to three million oysters a year from three web-sites spanning 36 hectares.

“It was a lengthy journey and we’re very happy with the end result and now we can turn our notice to much more productive tasks,” said Town Level operator Ernie Porter.

He said the initial oyster seed will go in the drinking water this spring.

This was only the second application for a new maritime aquaculture procedure resolved by the Aquaculture Overview Board, an unbiased final decision-creating entire body. The initially application — an oyster farm in Yarmouth County — was authorised in 2020.

‘We are clearly disappointed’

The City Position proposal had its share of regional opponents who claimed it posed an environmental threat to the watershed, would lessen residence values and interfere with commercial and recreation makes use of in the harbour.

“We are of course let down with the ARB selection. It seems as however the ARB overlooked and/or discounted a host of vital points and revelations from the hearing,” explained Peter Bowler and Mike MacDonald on behalf of individuals opposed to the oyster farm.

“It appears that the ARB’s need to approve new aquaculture websites has confused problems for endangered piping plovers, eelgrass and the health and fitness and protection of commercial fisherman,” they mentioned.

Bowler submitted an application to intervene on behalf of a Mates of Antigonish Harbour, a group of citizens opposed to the oyster farm.

The critique board selection notes Bowler and his wife are from Texas and are seasonal citizens of City Position. Their assets borders that of Ernie Porter.

Environmental fears really don’t hold water: regulator

In its determination launched Friday, the assessment board ruled critical opponent promises really don’t keep water.

“We are satisfied that it can be performed without having hurt to the ecosystem, together with eelgrass and piping plovers,” the three-member panel wrote. “It will be sited, with small amendments, in this kind of a way to react to the fears of all those who navigate the harbour for professional and leisure utilizes.”

The challenge was assessed on conditions the board should consider — the effects on neighborhood fisheries and other water customers in the spot, the environment, navigation, wild salmon sustainability, local community and provincial financial development, its outcome on close by aquaculture operations, and the best possible use of maritime methods.

Opponents’ science turned down

The board claimed proof from retired Fisheries and Oceans scientist Peter Cranford on behalf of opponents was “essentially flawed” for the reason that it was primarily based on inadequate checking.

Cranford mentioned tidal flushing was also weak to take out organic and natural make a difference from the web site and risked oxygen depletion in the drinking water.

“In relying on so tiny knowledge and drawing such intense conclusions we take into account simple scientific concepts to have been disregarded instead than relied on,’ the board wrote.

It sided with City Position specialist Jon Grant, who stated the harbour has the “carrying potential” to accommodate the proposed oyster farm without having causing ecological modifications.

The acceptance involves development of a farm management program that consists of measures to shield piping plovers in the location and eelgrass monitoring.

City Level has also been told it are not able to intrude on wild oyster harvesting parts in the harbour and should decrease any interference with a almost never utilised navigation route from the harbour.

“These are realistic circumstances and we anticipated anything of that sort,” Porter mentioned.

‘Integrity and transparency’ of promoter

The ruling also sent a verdict on Porter’s carry out in the experience of assaults by opponents who claimed he could not be dependable to provide on guarantees since he proceeded with a part of the project without having municipal approval.

But this and other situations ended up deemed unimportant or were being mischaracterized by opponents, the board uncovered.

A man sits at a desk in front of a laptop during a Nova Scotia Aquaculture Review Board hearing.
At a Nova Scotia Aquaculture Evaluation Board listening to in 2023, Ernie Porter, centre, claimed he believes his oyster farm can exist in harmony with other consumers of Antigonish Harbour. (Nova Scotia Aquaculture Evaluate Board )

“We are entirely content with the integrity and transparency of Ernie Porter,” the board mentioned.

“Significantly of what he did was faced with sturdy headwinds from a remarkably organized group, who sought to problem his each and every stage.”

‘We do experience vindicated’

“We do feel vindicated,” Porter claimed. “We are living now in a society, unfortunately, exactly where people today truly feel entitled to get potshots at people when they want to do anything. We are delighted that the ARB noticed by means of that things.”

The approval was welcomed by the sector, which has been discouraged by the gradual speed of approvals in Nova Scotia, primarily for new shellfish internet sites.

“The Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia is happy to hear of the favourable conclusion by the Nova Scotia Aquaculture Overview Board on Town Place Oysters’ applications for 3 new marine leases in Antigonish Harbour,” spokesperson Kate Collins reported in a statement.

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