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Cooke Aquaculture to Expand in Liverpool Bay

Cooke Aquaculture to Expand in Liverpool Bay — Cooke Aquaculture Inc. is looking to expand its sea farming operations in Liverpool Bay, Liverpool, Queens County as part of its long-term commitment to reinvesting in Atlantic Canada, reports The Chronicle Herald

The company through its subsidiary Kelly Cove Salmon Ltd. has been given an option to lease, issued by Nova Scotia Fisheries and Aquaculture, for Liverpool Bay.

During the option period (Sept. 7, 2018 to March 7, 2019) the company will be “exploring the option location to determine potential fit to establish an aquaculture site. This investigation may lead to future applications for specific sites,” states the notice.

“An option to lease is not an aquaculture licence or lease, so no aquacultural products will be introduced during this period,” the notice further reads. “Any applications arising from this option to lease process will be reviewed for final decision by the independent Aquaculture Review Board.”

As part of the process a community open house is being held at the Queens Place Emera Centre in Liverpool on Tuesday. The information session is an opportunity for the community to learn more about Cooke Aquaculture and the option to explore expansion opportunities in Liverpool, said Joel Richardson, vice-president public relations for Cooke.

“The Liverpool option for sea farming site growth is one part of the Cooke family’s long-term vision and commitment to reinvesting in Atlantic Canada,” said Richardson. “As a fully integrated, fish farming company, our Nova Scotia operations play an important role of our company’s plan for steady, sustainable growth in response to consumer demand.”

Over the next five years Cooke Aquaculture could spend nearly $500 million on capital projects and operations in the Atlantic region, he said.

“For example, we are mid-way through a $20 million investment in upgrading our Northeast Nutrition fish feed manufacturing plant in Truro, sustaining upwards of 60 direct jobs, with growth potential on the horizon,” Richardson said.

“We are continuing to invest in warehousing and distribution facilities, and our trucking fleet. We have also invested significantly into vessel maintenance and equipment with excellent work done locally by the A. F. Theriault & Son Ltd. boat yard in Meteghan River. These innovation, infrastructure, and automation investments are required across our operations to support growth and ensure global competitiveness,” he said.

The company has also recently acquired a large parcel of land in the Burnside Industrial park, where it intends to “further expand our Nova Scotia fish procurement and distribution operations,” said Richardson.

“We expect these continued investments to support and create additional spin-off employment in careers such as shipping and ferries, contractors, ground and air transportation, engineers and survey, academic research and development, equipment supply and cleaning, vehicle and vessel maintenance, feed manufacture and ingredient suppliers, environmental consulting and monitoring.”

Currently there is one finfish aquaculture site in Liverpool Bay, which has been operated by Cooke Aquaculture since 2011. It was first established in 2002. Cooke Aquaculture operates 10 sea sites in Nova Scotia, including two in Queens County, six in Shelburne County and two in Digby County.

Richardson said, as a local Atlantic Canadian family company, Cooke believes in supporting local.

“In 2017, Cooke purchased $231 million of goods and services from 1,269 other local businesses from across Atlantic Canada including hundreds in Nova Scotia. Cooke’s salmon farming operations have not only helped to revitalize coastal communities but also greatly support families from inland cities, towns, villages and rural areas.”

Richardson said Cooke’s loyalty to employees helped the company earn a spot again this year on the list of Canada’s Best Managed Companies for more than seven straight years. Cooke has also earned the No. 1 spot on the 2018 list of Top 10 North American Seafood Suppliers. Cooke ships fresh, sustainable True North Seafood branded products across Canada and to 64 other countries.