The Nova Scotia government has announced a plan to create a new framework for the aquaculture sector that will help develop it in a sustainable way thus helping to protect coastal communities.
"This government recognises that the aquaculture industry is an important part of rural communities. By developing strong regulations and enforcement we will help the industry grow in a way that balances economic development and environmental protection," said Sterling Belliveau, Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister
Dalhousie University law professors and environmental law experts Meinhard Doelle and William Lahey will head the work, while receiving advice from an advisory committee chosen to represent stakeholders and community interests.
"We look forward to working with the advisory committee, key stakeholders, scientific experts, and members of the public to develop a regulatory framework for aquaculture that best serves the long-term social, environmental and economic interests of the province," Doelle commented.
Doelle and Lahey will together consider a host of impacts, benefits and risks that the province believes should be addressed through regulation. One of their tools will be a multi-phased process of public and stakeholder consultation, of which the first phase will begin this summer. The department expects to receive recommendations to develop regulations by the end of 2014.
Mark Butler, Ecology Action Centre policy director and another member of the advisory committee, welcomed the comprehensive review, saying that the current aquaculture regulations have been failing to protect local communities and the environment.
"There are sustainable opportunities in aquaculture, but they must not come at the expense of the ecosystem or other marine industries," he added.
Meanwhile, new marine-based aquaculture site applications are being put on hold, according to CBC News reports.
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