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[HALIFAX, NS] — from Daily Business Buzz-june14-2011: The St. Mary’s Bay Coastal Alliance and the Ecology Action Centre are organizing a protest rally in Halifax against the new salmon farm leases in St. Mary’s Bay.

Their press release says that on Friday, June 17, at 11 a.m., concerned citizens and fisherman will gather at the Nova Scotia House of Assembly on Granville Street “to protest the provincial government’s support for the rapid expansion of industrial-scale salmon farms despite widespread community opposition.”

The press release says they intend to deliver a strong message of opposition to open-net salmon farms in their community.

Nova Scotia’s Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Sterling Belliveau approved two new salmon leases to Cooke Aquaculture of Black’s Harbour, N.B., last week. The company has promised 58 jobs for the Digby area and 400 throughout Nova Scotia with most of those going to Shelburne.

The two sites on the western end of Long Island, Digby County could cover a combined area of 84 hectares (209 acres) and may be stocked with as many as a million fish each although company officials have repeatedly said they will probably only be stocked with 700,000 fish each.

Many citizens on the Islands felt government ignored their concerns during the approval process. Fisherman are concerned about the impact the fish farms might have on the lucrative lobster grounds in St. Mary’s Bay.

Belliveau has said a strict monitoring program will enable the sites to be shut down if Cooke Aquaculture violates the conditions of its lease.