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CBC News Posted: Mar 15, 2012 5:51 PM AT

The provincial government says it won’t be looking at a moratorium on fish farming in Nova Scotia because it believes the industry is good for the province.

Opponents of the fish farming industry say it’s a disappointment.

Fisheries Minister Sterling Belliveau says the province is not considering a moratorium on fish farming.Fisheries Minister Sterling Belliveau says the province is not considering a moratorium on fish farming. (CBC)

The call for a moratorium on open pen salmon farms followed confirmation of Infectious Salmon Anemia found at the Cooke Aquaculture operation in Shelburne.

When the virus was first suspected, Cooke voluntarily destroyed two pens.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency ordered a third pen destroyed once ISA was confirmed.

Dozens of community, angling and tourism groups called on Nova Scotia this week to halt expansion.

"We have no intention of looking seriously at a moratorium at this time or any time in the future, Nova Scotia Fisheries Minister Sterling Belliveau said at a news conference Thursday.

"I’m encouraged to bring forward some factual information forward to those who have some possible concerns about aquaculture."

New fish farms

Three salmon farm sites on the eastern shore are under active consideration.

Belliveau said the review process guarantees the environment is protected when farms are approved, and that more aquaculture means more economic growth.

"To me, I see an opportunity when we have our coastline and opportunities for coastal communities," Belliveau said.

"He’s been promised a pig in a poke," said Ray Plourde, wilderness co-ordinator for the Ecology Action Centre.

Ray Plourde believes the province will continue a moratorium in the 'not too distant' future.Ray Plourde believes the province will continue a moratorium in the ‘not too distant’ future. (CBC)

Opponents say the jobs being promised are inflated by the aquaculture industry, particularly 350 jobs promised in the minister’s own riding of Shelburne.

"He is wrong and I can guarantee you his government will be considering a moratorium in the not too distant future or face the wrath of an awful lot of angry Nova Scotians," Plourde said.

Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter also spoke Thursday about how fish farms are part of growing Nova Scotia’s economy.

related stories:
Preservation group wants salmon farm moratorium
Salmon virus confirmed at N.S. fish farm

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