Cermaq Canada plans 20,000 tonne salmon farm expansion in Nova Scotia

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Mitsubishi-owned salmon farmer needs 10-20 sites to make USD 500 million project viable.

Cermaq Canada has announced its intention to begin investigating the feasibility of growing its salmon farming operations into Nova Scotia, Canada, the company wrote in a press release on Wednesday.

It needs between 10 and 20 fish farms with an annual output of 20,000 tonnes to justify coming to Nova Scotia, where it would also open a hatchery and processing plant.

The province of Nova Scotia has granted Cermaq four Options to Lease and the company intends to launch site investigations, feasibility studies as well as extensive public engagement. A salmon farming moratorium was lifted in 2016, giving the Japanese-owned salmon company an opportunity to farm in the area.

The areas identified within the Options to Lease include the Chedabucto Bay region (Guysborough Country and Richmond Valley) on the eastern shoreline and in the St. Mary’s region south of Digby on the province’s south-western coast.

“We are passionate salmon farmers, and we are excited about the opportunity to start on-the-ground investigations and engagement in the Guysborough, Richmond and St. Mary’s Bay regions. We will be using the next six months to launch extensive stakeholder and public engagement. We have also entered into exploratory conversations with the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia,” said Cermaq Canada Managing Director David Kiemele.

“We are coming to listen, to learn and to ask questions. As excited as we are, we know that we need to have community, stakeholder and Mi’kmaq support to proceed, and we look forward to those discussions,” he added.

At a press conference, Kiemele told reporters a bit more about the scope of the project.

“We estimate the investment to be between USD400 and USD 500 million (US) to get to that point where we get to that carrying capacity of 20,000 metric tonnes,” Kiemele told CBC.

Cermaq’s first fish could be in the water by 2024/25.