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

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

Town Level Consulting intends to mature up to three million oysters a 12 months from three web sites spanning 36 hectares.

“It was a extensive journey and we are very content with the end result and now we can flip our attention to additional effective tasks,” said Town Issue proprietor Ernie Porter.

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

This was only the 2nd software for a new marine aquaculture operation decided by the Aquaculture Evaluate Board, an unbiased final decision-producing body. The very first software — an oyster farm in Yarmouth County — was permitted in 2020.

‘We are definitely disappointed’

The City Place proposal experienced its share of nearby opponents who claimed it posed an environmental risk to the watershed, would decreased residence values and interfere with business and recreation utilizes in the harbour.

“We are of course disappointed with the ARB selection. It appears as while the ARB overlooked and/or discounted a host of crucial specifics and revelations from the listening to,” stated Peter Bowler and Mike MacDonald on behalf of these opposed to the oyster farm.

“It seems that the ARB’s want to approve new aquaculture web-sites has overcome considerations for endangered piping plovers, eelgrass and the overall health and basic safety of business fisherman,” they mentioned.

Bowler filed an application to intervene on behalf of a Friends of Antigonish Harbour, a team of citizens opposed to the oyster farm.

The evaluate board choice notes Bowler and his spouse are from Texas and are seasonal citizens of City Stage. Their property borders that of Ernie Porter.

Environmental fears really don’t hold drinking water: regulator

In its choice produced Friday, the overview board ruled important opponent claims never hold drinking water.

“We are contented that it can be completed without the need of harm to the ecosystem, which include eelgrass and piping plovers,” the a few-member panel wrote. “It will be sited, with slight amendments, in these a way to respond to the problems of those people who navigate the harbour for business and recreational uses.”

The project was assessed on requirements the board will have to consider — the impression on local fisheries and other drinking water consumers in the spot, the environment, navigation, wild salmon sustainability, community and provincial financial advancement, its result on close by aquaculture operations, and the best possible use of marine means.

Opponents’ science turned down

The board stated proof from retired Fisheries and Oceans scientist Peter Cranford on behalf of opponents was “essentially flawed” due to the fact it was centered on inadequate monitoring.

Cranford reported tidal flushing was way too weak to remove organic and natural matter from the web page and risked oxygen depletion in the drinking water.

“In relying on so small information and drawing this sort of excessive conclusions we look at basic scientific ideas to have been disregarded instead than relied upon,’ the board wrote.

It sided with City Stage guide Jon Grant, who stated the harbour has the “carrying ability” to accommodate the proposed oyster farm with no causing ecological improvements.

The approval involves improvement of a farm management system that involves measures to defend piping plovers in the space and eelgrass monitoring.

City Issue has also been explained to it can’t intrude on wild oyster harvesting spots in the harbour and need to limit any interference with a almost never utilized navigation route from the harbour.

“These are realistic circumstances and we expected some thing of that type,” Porter said.

‘Integrity and transparency’ of promoter

The ruling also sent a verdict on Porter’s carry out in the face of assaults by opponents who claimed he could not be reliable to provide on promises for the reason that he proceeded with a part of the task with no municipal approval.

But this and other cases were being considered unimportant or were mischaracterized by opponents, the board found.

A man sits at a desk in front of a laptop during a Nova Scotia Aquaculture Review Board hearing.
At a Nova Scotia Aquaculture Overview Board listening to in 2023, Ernie Porter, centre, reported he thinks his oyster farm can exist in harmony with other people of Antigonish Harbour. (Nova Scotia Aquaculture Assessment Board )

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

“Much of what he did was faced with potent headwinds from a remarkably organized group, who sought to obstacle his just about every phase.”

‘We do feel vindicated’

“We do really feel vindicated,” Porter reported. “We stay now in a society, unfortunately, in which individuals experience entitled to choose potshots at individuals when they want to do a thing. We are pleased that the ARB noticed via that things.”

The approval was welcomed by the field, which has been annoyed by the slow speed of approvals in Nova Scotia, specially for new shellfish web-sites.

“The Aquaculture Affiliation of Nova Scotia is pleased to hear of the constructive selection by the Nova Scotia Aquaculture Overview Board on City Stage Oysters’ applications for three new marine leases in Antigonish Harbour,” spokesperson Kate Collins reported in a statement.