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Rattling Beach round-up and next steps for the Healthy Bays Network

The ARB's first decision on salmon farming sets the stage for at least a half-dozen more coming in 2022. We need the help of bay protectors all across the province.

Looking out over the Digby Gut. Photo by Simon Ryder-Burbidge.

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On Tuesday, February 1, the Healthy Bays Network held a virtual press conference where six panelists, primarily representing coastal communities, expressed a profound disappointment in the Nova Scotia Aquaculture Review Board’s first ever decision on salmon farming. After years of operation outside an existing lease boundary, the Board retroactively approved the expansion of the Cooke site called Rattling Beach in the Annapolis Basin.


The Rattling Beach salmon farm is located at the mouth of the Digby Gut, where powerful currents flow in and out of the narrow entrance to the Annapolis Basin – carrying the tides and the pollutive byproducts of fish farming. The operators also admitted to vast buildups of organic waste (read: feces and fish feed) so bad that the Rattling Beach farm depleted the oxygen at the seafloor on multiple occasions. They also admitted to a major outbreak of sea lice – tiny ocean parasites that suck the life out of host fish – in an area where wild Atlantic salmon are critically endangered and left extremely vulnerable. They call this site “one of the best-performing in all of North America”.


Now, thanks to the ARB, the pollution is officially licensed to continue. Sanctioned by our own government, the net cage industry is on the move. It now falls to us, coastal communities, to protect our bays. This decision sets the stage for a half-dozen other salmon farming hearings likely to take place in 2022. While we were thrilled by attendance at the live press conference event (a big thanks to those of you who were there) and by the extensive media coverage in the days following, we have so much more to do. And we need your help to do it!


Will you help us protect our public waters from privatization and the expansion of the open net-pen salmon farming industry? Here are a few things you can do today:

  • Share on social media

  • Mobilize family, friends, neighbours

  • Write or call your MLA

  • Donate

If you’d like to get even more involved, we are looking for volunteer support. We need people power to help us with the following tasks:

  • Web management, updating the HBN site regularly

  • Newsletters, making more content like this

  • Social media content development, graphic design

  • Fundraising and community building, engaging new members

  • Volunteer coordination

If any of these sound like you, please reach out to Geoff at gleboutillier@lowenbe.com or Simon at sryderburbidge@ecologyaction.ca – and thank you very much!

You can view a full recording of the conference at the Healthy Bays Network YouTube page or at the Ecology Action Centre Facebook page.

And we’ve put together a little media roundup below:

Saltwire, Feb. 1, 2022

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