The province’s Aquaculture Act, the primary governance document for the aquaculture industry in Newfoundland and Labrador, is about to gather some new strength.
On June 4, new amendments were introduced aimed at modernizing regulations governing the oversight of aquaculture throughout the province.
Proposed changes to the act will bring the industry in line with other jurisdictions throughout the country and strengthen regulatory and enforcement opportunities for the provincial government.
The amendments to the Aquaculture Act include: new abandoned site reclamation rules; more comprehensive definitions; new ability for ministerial refusal of aquaculture licences if in the public interest and introduction of mandatory licensee compliance to aquatic animal health policies.
The amendments will enable the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture to require financial or other security to cover the operation and require the licensee to restore the aquaculture site to satisfaction.
In addition, the act will now give the minister the authority to give aquaculture inspectors the power of peace officers when deemed necessary. An amendment will also enable ticketing and administrative penalties and provide associated regulation-making powers.
The Honorable Darin King, the provincial Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture said, “ These amendments mean that the aquaculture industry will continue to be one of the most significant examples of successful economic developments supported by the provincial government in recent years.
“Rural and coastal communities throughout the province continue to reap the benefits of this relatively new industry to our province.
“Since 2007, over 500 jobs have been created and, with the support of our government, over $400 million has been leveraged in private-sector investment to support industry development and growth.
“An expanded aquaculture industry will result in a wide range of economic, labour market, demographic and social opportunities for a younger, educated generation.”
Amanda Pryor, the Executive Director of the Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association, said that the NAIA welcomes and supports the modernization of the provincial Aquaculture Act through the new amendments introduced in early June.
Pryor said, “The aquaculture industry throughout the province is playing a major role in our rural economy and, through the commitment of the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, we are striving to reach our full potential.
“Aquaculture companies operating in Newfoundland and Labrador are committed to the people and communities of this province, and are establishing long-term, sustainable employment and prosperity within dozens of communities along our coasts.”
Pryor said that the aquaculture industry maintains the highest degree of biosecurity protocols and all aquaculture producers in the province adhere to strict provincial and federal regulations and embrace a culture of innovation and continuous improvement.
“We welcome these improvements to the Aquaculture Act as we believe it will further strengthen the ability for sustainable and long-term growth of our sector in this province,” Pryor said.