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Aquaculture Information review - An evaluation of Known Effects and Mitigations on Fish and Fish Habitat in Newfoundland and Labrador



The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is mandated to establish a balance between enabling sustainable growth of the Canadian aquaculture industry and regulating such development in accordance with the Navigable Waters Protection Act (NWPA) while minimizing environmental effects on fish and fish habitat. Responsibility for the conservation and protection of fish and fish habitat is in accordance with provisions of the Fisheries Act and the Department's Management of Fish Habitat Policy. For aquaculture development this responsibility includes determining whether a project is likely to result in a harmful alteration, disruption or destruction (HADD) of fish habitat, thereby requiring a Section 35 (2) Fisheries Act authorization. In keeping with the No Net Loss guiding principal of the department's policy, aquaculture developers would have to compensate for losses in productive fish habitat. Prior to issuing an approval under the NWPA and/or a Section 35(2) Fisheries Act Authorization, the department is obligated to conduct an environmental assessment of the project in accordance with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA).

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the biogeography, climate, oceanography and marine resources are such that the aquaculture industry faces biological and physical challenges that may have different environmental implications on marine habitat as compared to other Canadian provincial jurisdictions. DFO, as the responsible authority for the application of CEAA to aquaculture development, has the obligation to ensure that the environmental-assessment process is applies with the most current and up-to-date information. It is well recognized within industry that knowledge gaps can skew the CEAA process, causing it to act as a supporter or a spoiler. The Newfoundland aquaculture industry, recognizing the need to identify environmental issues, to provide information to address the issues, and to act responsibly, has been quick to point out the need for new knowledge towards understanding aquaculture-environment interactions and thereby pursue sound strategies towards achieving industry sustainability.

In support of its mandate, both to regulate and enable aquaculture development, DFO in conjunction with the Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association (NAIA), initiated an investigation of the potential environmental concerns of Newfoundland and Labrador based aquaculture operations. Monitoring and mitigation techniques applied to other jurisdictions, as well as this province, are described for each effect where applicable. Data gaps also are outlined. This report outlines nine recommendations towards filling knowledge gaps in basic biophysical information requirements of proposed local aquaculture sites and potential mitigation techniques suitable to aquaculture development in Newfoundland and Labrador coastal marine areas.

Program Name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)


2001 - 2003


Atlantic: Newfoundland, Labrador Shelves

Principal Investigator(s)

John O'Rourke


Final Technical Project Report (PDF)

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