The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

Bill No. 95

Fisheries and Coastal Resources Act (amended)

An Act to Amend Chapter 25 of the Acts of 1996, the Fisheries and Coastal Resources Act, Respecting Aquaculture

Introduced by:
Honourable Keith Colwell
Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture

First Reading
Second Reading Debates
Second Reading Passed
Law Amendments Committee
    Meeting Date(s) April 27, 2015; April 28, 2015
    Reported to the House
Committee of the Whole House
Third Reading Debates
Third Reading
Royal Assent
Commencement October 26, 2015
2015 Statutes, Chapter 19

Explanatory Note

Clause 1 amends the Act to include supporting sustainable growth in the aquaculture industry in its purpose.

Clause 2 adds a definition of “veterinary medical record”.

Clause 3 sets out the limited circumstances under which veterinary medical records may be disclosed.

Clause 4 adds definitions of “aquacultural operation”, “aquaculture registry”, “finfish”, “Review Board” and “shellfish”.

Clause 5 sets out the purpose of the Part of the Act respecting aquaculture.

Clause 6

(a) removes the Minister as the issuer of some aquacultural leases; and

(b) clarifies that aquacultural leases give the exclusive right for aquacultural purposes to possession of a column of water and subaquatic land.

Clause 7

(a) permits the Minister to issue a call for proposals for options to lease Crown land not designated as an aquaculture development area;

(b) sets out the procedure for submitting a proposal;

(c) allows the Minister to determine the information to be included in a proposal;

(d) allows the Minister to issue an option to lease;

(e) specifies the terms to be included in an option to lease; and

(f) directs the Minister to issue an option to lease to the best overall proponent in the case of competing proposals of equivalent stature.

Clause 8 provides that only the owner or lessee of private land may be issued an aquaculture licence to carry out aquacultural activities on private land.

Clause 9

(a) directs the Minister to refer certain licence or lease applications to the Administrator;

(b) establishes the preliminary consultation process;

(c) establishes the Nova Scotia Aquaculture Review Board;

(d) sets out the functions of the Review Board;

(e) allows for the appeal of a Review Board decision to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia;

(f) removes a Section concerning the issuance of licences that has been made redundant by other amendments to the Act;

(g) requires a public hearing to be held as part of the Review Board process for reviewing a licence or lease;

(h) requires the Minister to implement and publicize Review Board decisions;

(i) removes the Sections concerning the contents of and the revocation of licences and leases that will be addressed by amendments to the regulations; and

(j) removes the Section on competing applications that are now dealt with in another Section of the Act or that will be addressed by amendments to the regulations.

Clause 10 removes prohibitions on the use of aquatic plants and animals and feedstock flora and fauna foreign to the area as the approval for their use will now be part of the licence approval process.

Clause 11 requires the Minister to appoint an Administrator who will make decisions

(a) with respect to applications
(i) for licences and leases in designated aquacultural areas and licences for land-based aquaculture sites,
(ii) to amend certain licences and leases, and
(iii) to renew licences and leases; and
(b) with respect to certain sites,
according to prescribed processes.

Clause 12 authorizes the Administrator to grant special experimental licences and leases.

Clause 13 amends the Minister’s powers and duties with respect to designated aquaculture development areas.

Clause 14 assigns certain of the Minister’s powers after an area has been designated as an aquaculture development area to the Administrator and allows the Minister to determine the times during which applications in aquaculture development areas may be submitted.

Clause 15

(a) adds to the Administrator’s powers and in particular allows the Administrator to
(i) issue licences for land-based sites,
(ii) amend certain licences,
(iii) renew all types of licences and leases,
(iv) approve applications to assign licences and leases,
(v) issue licences and leases for certain sites and assign any conditions to such licences and leases,
(vi) decide whether to maintain the use and activity information on the aquaculture registry for a site for which the licence or lease has been revoked, and
(vii) reallocate sites to unused licences or leases;

(b) specifies the conditions under which the Administrator may revoke an aquaculture licence or lease; and

(c) removes a Section that is no longer required due to the amendments in this Act.

Clause 16 removes a Section that is spent.

Clause 17 revises the list of Sections that prevail in the case of a conflict to remove the reference to a Section which has been repealed.

Clause 18 amends the Governor in Council’s regulation-making powers to
(a) add a clause with respect to options to lease;
(b) add environmental monitoring of licensed or leased areas;
(c) update the language used;
(d) require security bonds in connection with the issuance of licences or leases;
(e) prescribe the powers and duties of the Review Board;
(f) prescribe the procedures for hearings, public consultations, investigations and the issuance of decisions;
(g) prescribe the procedure and fees payable when making an application to the Administrator; and
(h) prescribe applications to the Administrator for the granting, renewing, amending, assigning or revoking of licences or leases.

Clause 19 makes a consequential amendment to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act to provide that the confidentiality provision in subsection 8(4) of the Fisheries and Coastal Resources Act respecting veterinary medical records prevails over provisions in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Property Act that may authorize disclosure.

Clause 20 provides that the Act comes into force upon proclamation.