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Is Nova Scotia Gambling Away $25M Taxpayer Dollars?

Our NDP provincial government announced last week that it will invest $25M in Cooke Aquaculture’s scheme to expand their salmon farming operation in Nova Scotia.

Cooke plans to invest an additional $150M build a new salmon hatchery in Digby, opening a fish processing plant in Shelburne, and expanding a feed mill in Truro.

The venture promises about 400 jobs, mainly in western NS, where the recent Bowater Mersey Paper Mill closure has left mill and forest workers in the region unemployed. About 320 of the new jobs would be at the planned processing plant in Fisheries & Aquaculture Minister Sterling Belliveau’s Shelburne riding.

Although help is certainly needed, we shouldn’t be too quick to grasp what may appear to be a helping hand. Although the plan may produce new jobs, they and existing salmon farm jobs are likely to have a very short future, because salmon farms in Nova Scotia are simply not sustainable.

Nova Scotia exports about 80% of its farmed salmon to the US, and today’s technology enables land-based salmon farms to profitably operate near major US markets.

So why should Americans continue to buy Nova Scotia salmon? Furthermore, this new technology will also enable other major world markets to produce salmon close to home.

If this happens Nova Scotia’s salmon farming industry’s market share will shrink rather than expand. Nova Scotia will become a world loser rather than a world leader.

Our NDP government is gambling here against the odds. I’m betting that the jobs will last less than 5 years and that our investment will be wasted.

On the short term, the new processing facility will require greater supply, and so this government/industry plan must include creation of many more new salmon farms that will further threaten wild fish populations and the environment of coastal Nova Scotia.

Unlike the short term jobs, these losses will be long term, very possibly permanent. 

Report on the June 23rd ESA Fishing Derby


Last Saturday young trouter  Enya Sawlor won the derby first prize, a Redington fly fishing outfit, with her 14 5/8” trout.


Gweneth Boutilier and Ralph Jack, ESA volunteers who organized and supervised the derby, thanked “the volunteers who organized and helped at the derby, all who donated prizes, food and gift certificates, the St. Mary’s Fish and Game Association and management of Nimrod’s Campground for providing an excellent site, our District of St. Mary’s Recreation Department for supporting the community event, and Nova Scotia Inland Fisheries for providing trout from the Fraser’s Mills Fish Hatchery.”


“And, of course, thanks to all derby entrants and congratulations to the winners. All of you made the first annual Eastern SportFish Association fishing derby a success.”


Sandy Barnhill, treasurer of the Eastern Sportfish Association, said “We extend a very warm welcome to all derby participants that became new members of ESA.”


Photos and highlights of the derby can be found at the association’s website, www.sportfishns.ca.


Lately local trouters have been reporting great fishing results from a parachute-style dry fly by New Glasgow’s Parker Wong.


Parker’s Brown Dry


Hook:                             River Magic Dry Fly hook, sizes 10 -14

Thread:                         Black

Tail:                                Brown cock hackle fibres

Body:                             Brown dubbing

Parachute Post:           Fluorescent red wool

Parachute Hackle:       Brown cock dry fly hackle

Head:                            Black


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