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Cooke plans new hatchery on Canadian East Coast

February 17, 2021  By Hatchery International staff

Cooke Aquaculture is seeking approval from the Nova Scotia government to establish a salmon hatchery on Digby Neck, N.S. over the next five years.

The $58.6-million project is expected to produce three million smolts per year, to supply Cooke’s 13 net pen farms across the Canadian province.

Cooke already has a pending application to the Nova Scotia government to expand its Liverpool Bay, N.S., farm site by adding 46 new pens and increase capacity to 1.8 million salmon, according to a report from Canadian news organization CBC News.

Cooke’s application for the Digby hatchery, submitted through its subsidiary Kelly Cove Salmon, is for a 10-year licence. The Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture is reviewing the application. A 30-day public comment period, which closed Feb. 12, was conducted prior to a decision from the minister.


Cooke plans to grow salmon smolt longer on land at the proposed Digby hatchery – up to about 500 grams, Cooke spokesperson Joel Richardson told CBC News. 

Traditionally, smolt are transferred from the hatchery to ocean net pens at about 125 grams. Growing them longer on land, allows the fish to get stronger and bigger, and therefore more healthy, when transferred to the ocean. It also shortens the time fish spend at sea, reducing the risks for disease.

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