Kelly Cove Salmon Ltd., a subsidiary of Cooke Aquaculture, has submitted applications for a boundary amendment and two new applications for expansion in Liverpool Bay. This is following a six-month scoping period that was granted to them by the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture on September 7, 2018.
They submitted their applications to the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture on March 6, just one day before their scoping period expired.
Cooke Aquaculture has been operating a 14-pen facility located near Coffin Island since 2011.
The applications will now be reviewed by the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture and other relevant provincial and federal departments and agencies.
Following the review phase, which may take up to two months, applications will be referred to the Nova Scotia Aquaculture Review Board, who then provides an opportunity for members of the public to participate in the public hearing process.
Notification of the date of the public hearing will be made through the department's website. Following another review, that could take up to another two months, a decision will be made and posted on the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture website.
In response to the concerns of residents over the proposed aquaculture expansion plan for Liverpool Bay, the Region of Queens Municipality (RQM) has compiled a letter containing 24 questions. The letter was sent to Kelly Cove Salmon Limited.
Among the questions council has posed to Cooke is: "Identify the history and future probability of a sea lice infestation to be anticipated at pens in Liverpool Bay, and the future methods to be utilized to mitigate any future sea lice impacts?"
Another query requested that Cooke, "please identify the projected commercial fishing value of the size of the area which is no longer accessible to commercial fishers, as well as that of any proposed expansion?"
Should Cooke Aquaculture decide to proceed with an application and if the council wishes, they could become involved as an intervenor in the case. However, Dagley told LighthouseNOW earlier in February that, that would be an expensive process.
"It is very unlikely," he said. "There is a significant cost involved in doing this that entails hiring consultants because we are not subject matter experts. Additionally, there is a large amount of work to review all documentation that the review board would receive."
Council documents indicate that the legal and technical costs would be between $50,000 and $100,000.
"I don't know if most of the population would be happy in spending that much money. I know there is a concentrated effort against aquaculture. But I also know of people that support it and know of people in Queens that are employed by Cooke Aquaculture, and the Region of Queens is not in the business of removing these people's jobs," said Dagley.
Despite many calls by attendees at recent council meetings to send a letter as a definitive message to Cooke saying that the region does not support the fish farm expansion, Dagley says that there are no plans for a vote.
"We have no concrete position," he said, of council, and doesn't foresee having a vote on the subject.
A number of area residents oppose the expansion, and have formed the Protect Liverpool Bay group.