Napkin Works Halifax Nova Scotia Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia

Sea Farmers

Sea what's happening

On our shores, right here, we’re growing delicious high quality seafood that Nova Scotians enjoy every day. Sea farming is a growing industry in the province with the potential to provide year round jobs throughout Nova Scotia. Sea farmers love growing food, love their environment and love their communities.

The Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia is made up of 60 plus small operators throughout the province. For more information about the AANS and our Sea Farmers please visit

Sea Colton


Aquaculture has always been a part of Colton's life. Since the age of six he has been exposed to oyster farming. He has worked alongside his father and upon completion of high school he made the decision to remain in the aquaculture industry. He enrolled in NSCC and completed the Business Administration- Management program. Colton wears many hats at Eel Lake Oyster Farm, from: Quality Control Manager to oyster shucker.

Seeing how the industry has been growing, he made the decision to start his own oyster company together with his brother. iGrow Oysters was started one year ago and today they have over 1/2 million oysters in the waters of Eel Lake. Colton is the future of this industry and he will be able to apply many years of hard work, skills, and industry knowledge to take aquaculture to the next level.

Youth & Employment

Want to start a great career? The aquaculture industry is dynamic and growing in Nova Scotia. Working in aquaculture promises to be rewarding while keeping you on your toes. For young people looking to stay in their communities or work on the water, working on a sea farm is ideal. In Nova Scotia, formal training in Aquaculture is available through the Nova Scotia Agriculture College. See our education section for more details

10 things you didn't know

Atlantic Salmon

All the delicious Atlantic Salmon eaten by Nova Scotians is farmed product. Atlantic Salmon is sustainably grown across the province in open net pens. Wild Atlantic Salmon has not been available as a commercial product for at least 2 decades.

Environmental Monitoring

The provincial Environmental Monitoring Program (EMP) monitors aquaculture farms by regularly testing for a series of environmental indicators. Periodic visits by specially trained veterinarians are carried out at each finfish farm in the province.

Eaten Around the World

Wild fisheries cannot meet the growing global demand for seafood, and aquaculture production is growing steadily. Aquaculture is one of the lowest carbon producing forms of food production on the planet.

Steady Growth

Aquaculture in Nova Scotia is a $57 million a year industry and has grown steadily in the province over the last decade. It directly employs over 700 people in Nova Scotia.

The Total Space Taken

up by fish pens in Nova Scotia could fit in one tenth the area of Bedford Basin.

Fresh Year Round

Aquaculture produces fresh seafood on a year round basis. This includes shellfish such as mussels and oysters and finfish including Atlantic salmon and trout. It also helps provide year round employment for people who work in the traditional seasonal fishery.

Without Aquaculture

the world will face a seafood shortage of 50-80 million tonnes by 2030 - Source: United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization

First Nations People

in Nova Scotia have been practicing aquaculture for over 5,000 years. There is evidence that the Mi'kmaq were farming quahogs thousands of years ago in the Saint Mary’s Bay region.

Same Health Benefits

Seafood is a healthy choice that provides essential nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. The Canada Food Guide recommends at least two servings of seafood per week.

Sea Jobs

Sea Progress

Sea Truth

Sea Nature

Sea Peter


Peter Darnell has been farming native Blue Mussels in the beautiful waters of Mahone Bay since 1982 and his operation exemplifies the very definition of responsible aquaculture. Peter has learned over the years that to be successful as a shellfish farmer you must have clean water and you cannot exceed the carrying capacity of your leases. Shellfish are natural filter feeders and extract their feed from the ocean without any additional food

provided by the farmer. As a result, the carrying capacity of a given shellfish farm is entirely determined by the natural availability of food in the ocean. Extensive environmental monitoring by the provincial Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture has indicated that Peter’s farms have in no way negatively impacted the environment in and around his leases even after 29 years of continuous use.

Our Government's Aquaculture Strategy

There is opportunity for substantial growth through a thoughtful and planned approach encompassing social, environmental, and economic values.

jobsHere, the Government’s strategy and plan to grow a strong and more sustainable economy, identifies the development of aquaculture as a priority. To learn more you can read the jobsHere 'Aquaculture Strategy' in its entirety HERE


All aquaculture operations require a provincial government license and must be carried out on government approved lease sites.

Environmental Assessments

Lease sites are only approved after successfully completing an environmental assessment that includes review by eight different provincial and federal government departments.

Regular Inspections

Regular inspections from the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture veterinary and enforcement staff;

Regular Submitting

Submitting to regular environmental monitoring by the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture;

Food Safety Standards

The production and processing of all aquaculture products must comply with strict food safety standards as defined and regulated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Click the legend to view areas

  • Good
  • Moderate
  • Poor
  • Issued Finfish
  • Proposed Finfish
  • Issued Shellfish
  • Proposed Shellfish
  • Other

Sea Captain


In 2005, upon learning that his brother, Nolan, needed some help with his oyster harvesting business, Eel Lake Oyster Farm, Clark decided to leave his trade of welding for something new and has never looked back. He spends most of his days outdoors on the lake either putting in the oyster cages or getting the cages out for selling the oysters. He loves meeting all the different people who come to Eel Lake Oyster Farm to tour the plant and taste the oysters. When he can’t be found in the plant grading the oysters, or packing the orders, he is on the lake, in the boat dropping off the cages, working alongside his nephew, Colton.

Sea Local

Sea Neighbours

Sea What's Happening


Nutritional Information

FACT: farmed seafood is just as nutritious as wild seafood. In fact, 50% of the world’s consumed seafood comes from aquaculture. Aquaculture helps feed the world a healthy and sustainable source of protein.


FACT: The addition of hormones to farmed seafood is prohibited by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. There are no hormones added to farmed fish in Nova Scotia or anywhere in Canada.

No Environmental Monitoring

FACT: Sea farmers in Nova Scotia must comply with a large list of both federal and provincial environmental regulations. All finfish operators are required to develop and run their own environmental monitoring programs which are audited and regularly verified by the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture’s Environmental Monitoring Program.

Added Dyes

FACT: Salmon get their pink colour from carotenoids, which are found in their food and provide vital nutrients to the fish. Dyes are not added to farm fish in any circumstance.

Fish Farming Kills Lobsters

FACT: There is no evidence showing that responsible aquaculture, as practiced in Nova Scotia, negatively affects the health of lobsters.

Farmed Fish isn't Safe

FACT: Farmed fish is a healthy source of essential nutrients and minerals and does not pose a health risk. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada closely monitor food safety and conducts inspections and testing of fish. Fish and seafood are an important part of a healthy and balanced diet.


FACT: Pesticides are only used in fish farming when absolutely necessary, and must be prescribed by a veterinarian. There are many other methods of eradicating pests on aquaculture sites that do not use pesticides such as manual removal of pest organisms and the fallowing of net pen sites.

Harms the Ocean Floor

FACT: The impacts of aquaculture farms on the ocean floor in Nova Scotia are minimal and temporary (See Report). Also, farms are placed in sites with high levels of tidal flushing to mitigate against the build-up of waste.

Fish Meal

FACT: As an alternative to fishmeal, the aquaculture industry is increasingly using vegetable proteins and oils. Over the last five years, the amount of wild fish used in feed has been reduced by 40%. In fact, the salmon farming industry uses only about one-third of available fish meal and fish oil; the rest is used in animal feeds, pet food and in fertilizers.

Sea Captain

Doug & Scott

Doug and Scott Bertram, with partners Alan McGuire and Marc Blinn, abandoned ground fish processing in 1994 as the decline in the industry became apparent and moved into aquaculture. Their goal was to find a species that they could grow that would provide an opportunity to expand their business while preserving the environment and providing jobs for the local community. Clams were their species of choice and it has worked famously

for them. With the integration of their state of the art depuration facility located at Belliveau Cove in 1999, Innovative Fishery Products became the premiere Canadian clam supplier to the east coast of the United States and remains so to this day. "It gives us great pride to be able to grow our products, our company and our community in a place that we have chosen to be our home."

Sea Community

Sea Innovation

Sea What's Happening

Shelley & her Girls

"I fell in love with the halibut brood the minute I saw them. They are such beautiful, strong, fascinating fish; I am enthralled with their presence as much as their complex life cycle. The girls are the life force of Scotian Halibut and we greatly respect their role within the hatchery."

Shelley graduated from the NSAC in 1997 with a BSc, majoring in Aquaculture. She has been growing fish since then and has been employed at Scotian Halibut Ltd for 11 years.

Fish Tales

Susie is the matriarch of her tank; she weighs ~ 200 lbs and is almost 6' long. Where Susie is a wild caught fish we can only estimate her age to be 40 years old. Miss Susie likes to be hand fed and can consume 20 or more herring in a single feed. During her spawning cycle Susie provides us with ~ 20 liters, or 800,000 eggs. She's a favorite at the hatchery because of her size.

Ally holds a special place in our hearts; she is also a large, wild caught female. Ally tips the scales at ~ 150 lbs and is missing her left eye. As a result she has to approach her food from the right in order to see it. Ally is now into her senior years and has retired from spawning. She will live out her life with us at Scotian being spoiled with her favorite food, mackerel.

Danielle is a very strong, beautiful lady, weighing in at ~ 150 lbs. Danny is a bit of a diva as she is the first to eat and the first to spawn in her tank. If she's not hungry she doesn't want to be bothered! With her mottled brown coloring Danny is one of our most attractive girls.

Hannah is a halibut teenager, being only 11 years old. She is light brown in color and was born and raised by Scotian Halibut. Where she is just a youngster she has only started to produce eggs for us on a yearly basis. She is currently going through a growth spurt and as a result consumes a great deal of herring!

Tess is a lovely wild caught female who's weight exceeds 120 lbs. We estimate her age to be somewhere between 35 – 40 years old. She is one of our senior ladies, capable of producing 15 – 20 liters of eggs each spawning cycle. Tess is one of our bottom feeders, and most often likes the herring to come to her by means of a feeding pole. We are happy to do what can to keep her healthy and productive.

GG is another teenager; this little lady is only 10 years old. Her name is a shortened version of "garbage guts" as we have never witnessed a fish of her small size consume so much! GG is dark in color and can often be seen eying the surface looking for food; we have to watch our hands when she’s scouting for supper! We feel she is going to be a great egg producer if she keeps this up.